The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Although sometimes that path is obstructed with state-of-the-art, multilayered security systems that are specifically designed and overlapped against all threats. This was where our point laid, and our pipedream; the Delta Force compound. One corner of the perimeter of the compound lay just off of the road traveled while heading to the ranges of Fort Bragg. The compound was easily identifiable thanks to all of the exotic sports cars, which were frequently and openly parked near the gate of the compound at the time.

We passed our target no less than once a week as we rucked out to the various training areas and ranges on Fort Bragg. While we moved, we took in the perimeter and gazed into the distance, across the reaches of the Delta Force compound – in search the elusive flagpole, which was rumored to lay at the dead-center of the compound. Yet to no avail, since the compound was well secured and concealed from the road.

Pass after pass only revealed that the perimeter was sealed off and every map of the area was misleading as to the actual layout, to include military maps.

Back at Bragg,

Fort Bragg is a culture unto itself and quite possibly may remain the strangest place that I have every experienced and lived. The Fayetteville, North Carolina installation is officially known as “Home of the Airborne and Special Operations Forces,” albeit the strangest gem in American militaria is just, “Bragg,” or ‘Fayettenam.’ The names of a place go a long way, in regards to its reputation and chiefly in the context of this article – its myths and urban legends.

The culture of Fort Bragg is rooted in crime, lies, and secrets – soaked in alcohol and lap dances – seasoned with opportunists; yet hosts a strange brew of America’s elite warriors. In the mix comes the name, Fayettenam, which according to local barroom historians is said to come from the spike in high-stakes crime that followed the Vietnam War. Local tales involve helicopter bank raids, monstrous SOF experimentation programs, and military drug cartels, which are rumored to be the CIA launching point for the introduction of crack-cocaine in the 1980s. The Fayetteville rumor-mill blames the military drug cartels and alleged experiments gone wrong on a host of local and national issues including the ghettoization of Murchison Road – popularly known as, “The Murk.” The road is not someplace you want to find yourself as an outsider, after hours, and unarmed. Realistically the area around Fort Bragg is the result of poor sociocultural and economic choice – yet people like to blame the abstract for the problems they created. Nevertheless, the urban legend culture is part of life at Fort Bragg and also includes the military.

As a soldier assigned to Fort Bragg, you become accustomed to the rumors and the illusion of SOF will start to fade away as you normally interact with SOF personnel on post, through varying duties and assignments, as well as making drinking buddies and friends while off-duty. And SOF folks are just like the rest of us, and just as guilty when it comes to contributions to the sewing circle. Special Forces soldiers were exceptionally as bad, if not worse, than the regular army when it came to tall tales about the mysterious and secretive Delta Force, aka, CAG, SMU, and etcetera.

SOF Drinks,

I believe it was at the Green Beret Club, a small bar near my battalion on Smoke Bomb Hill that I first heard the rumor of the fastest way to join Delta Force. There were a few guys from my battalion, others from the varying Parachute Infantry Regiment down Gruber Road, and some SF guys. There and as almost any soldier can tell you that everyone, and just like at any civilian job – the staff will always speculate about what it would be like to join the next level. This is where the SF guys really chimed in, on speculation, as to joining and being Delta Force.

One of the guys began to tell a story he once overheard, as to how someone could join Delta Force, by completing one simple task. My ears perked up, and as I’ve previously stated – I was too lazy to endure the running required to attend any selection course. Yet this was new, a backdoor, and an opportunity for me to bypass the standardized system – I was all ears. His story was rooted in back-channels and overheard secret meetings from Camp Mackall to Fort Bragg – it was the stuff of legend. If George R.R. Martin and Tom Clancy were present, six books each would arise from the story. Although they weren’t and here is the bottom line from the tall tale of the drunken Special Forces medic – break into the compound, make it to the flagpole in the center, and you’re in.