Top gun is top gun; there is no disputing it. It’s good to be king, no matter where and no matter for how long. In Delta Force, there was a strong competitive spirit, recognition, and reverence for who might be the top gun at any given juncture. Everyone wanted to hold that position for as long as they could, though nobody could hold it for very long.

Delta was a “one time me, one time you” state. This meant that I may win this time, but you will likely defeat me next time. The competition was just that keen, and the variation between men’s skills was just that small. A situation to be highly avoided was to consistently find oneself in last place — that would only carry a man for so long before he was expelled from the Unit.

It’s Good to Be the King

As for being the top gun… well, it’s good to be king, as I always say. Yeah, it’s always good to be king, even if for just a few minutes in a far-off crappy country in crappy conditions. It’s just always good to be king. Holding the hegemony, though ephemeral as it may be, is ALWAYS good!

It was not above TF-160th SOAR Night Stalker Gregory “Gravy” Coker to fire top gun whilst on his frequent visits to the Unit compound. As the Unit cartoonist, I honored him with this frame tribute for a well-done job.

There was an unwritten tradition that provided for an assembly of competition at some point during any given week. Word spread — usually in the chow hall — that so-and-so was setting up a gun-run challenge on our Range 19. Throughout the day, the men cycled themselves out to the range. There, they waited for their turn to take a shot at being the top gun for the week.

My good friend Patrick Arther “Mac” McNamara had a penchant for setting up shooting obstacle courses with marked creativity. They were as fun as they were challenging. It was permitted to make as many runs through the course as one wanted, though only the first score of the day was the one that counted toward the top gun title.

Badass, hard, pipe-hittin’, mother lover Patrick Arther McNamara of TMACS Inc getting his blaze ops on.

There was a person once who, when I described the competition to him, asked me why anyone would want to run through the course more than once if only their first score counted. Ah… that person just told on himself; he was a minimum-effort sort of brother, one who didn’t understand extra work that didn’t count. The brothers repeatedly ran through the course for the personal training value. That meant something to men who were trying to be the best they could despite the lack of accolades or reward —not a concept well understood by the masses.

Mother of All Ruckers

When I was in the Green Beret Groups, I used to do ruck marches (march long routes carrying a heavy backpack) on my own. I had so many guys ask me why the hell I was rucking when I didn’t have to. That got patently annoying. So I took to driving off away from the group areas to find a remote place to ruck march, somewhere where I wouldn’t cause such a temporal rift among the ranks.

Another question I was asked frequently about my ruck marches was: