You can read part I here

Assigned to 10th Special Forces Group in 1958, radio repairman Private James Wild was selected to go to Berlin despite his objections, as he wanted to stay with an A-Team. Trucked over to Munich, and then taking the train to Berlin, he was picked up by several Det A members. He was only read on to the mission several years later when he became Special Forces qualified and was promoted to sergeant. “It just scared the crap out of me,” Wild said, as he’d gotten the impression that their job was a one-way trip.

When 2nd Lieutenant John Lee arrived at the airport in Berlin in 1968 wearing his class A uniform, two Det A soldiers in civilian clothes met him and asked why in the world he was in a uniform. “Because I am an American soldier!” Lee replied. “Not today you’re not,” they said before bundling him up in an overcoat and rushing him off to their base where he was to take charge of Team Two. Until receiving his in-brief, Lee knew absolutely nothing about Det A.

Farr took a Defense Language Institute (DLI) assignment to learn German with a follow-on rotation to Berlin. There, he wound up assigned to Team Three within Det A in 1971. “Herman Adler was my team leader. He was a great guy,” Farr recalled. “He had been in the SS during World War Two. He was a Waffen SS officer… he fought his way out of Russia through the snow. We used the call him the Schwarzer Adler: the Black Eagle.” Adler later went on to run some selection courses for special mission units and was retained by the U.S. Army as a captain due to his expertise.

Det A members in 1962.

Arriving at Andrews Barracks, the men of Det A found fairly typical team rooms, but the building out of which they worked was actually a former base belonging to the Waffen SS. The facilities included an Olympic-size swimming pool, which was great for morning physical training and scuba training. There was also an old firing range in the basement, where the SS had reputedly executed a few people during the war. Next door was a building belonging to the Army Security Agency. The Agency widely believed Det A to be an assassination unit, which simply was not true.

Det A members received formal school training but also on-the-job training in Berlin from their peers. Members of the clandestine unit had to know how to arrange secret meetings with sources, conduct live drops, dead drops, and brush passes, conduct surveillance detection routes, and master all of the other tradecraft normally associated with the CIA rather than a bunch of Snake Eaters. “We had a safecracking and [lock]-picking course,” Blevins, who served as a radio operator, recalled. They also learned to use invisible ink and to encode messages. “We used a one-time pad. You would write your messages in plain text across the top of it and then use something called a trigraph to encode it,” Blevins added. This method is known to be impossible to crack if the message is intercepted.

Formal school training was achieved by completing the Special Forces Operations and Intelligence (O&I) course. Some Det A members were also allowed to attend the CIA’s demolitions course at Harvey Point, North Carolina, where they learned all sorts of sneaky stuff. There were also numerous opportunities for Det A members to attend foreign special operations courses ranging from the Danish scout-swimmer course to the GSG-9 German counterterrorism course. The first two American graduates of the latter were pinned by Colonel Wegener, who led the Mogadishu aircraft takedown in 1977. Other members attended German Ranger School. Being airborne qualified, the Det A soldiers would also travel to 10th Special Forces Group at Bad Tölz to complete their monthly jump in order to stay current, as well as to conduct yearly ski training in the Alps. The men of 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group stationed at Bad Tölz (separate from Det A) were prepared to carry out Operation “Falling Rain,” which would have seen them inserted by parachute into Eastern Europe to conduct unconventional warfare.

Det A members also became combat-diver qualified by attending a course in Crete run by SEAL Team Two. Since their dive gear also had to be indigenous, they acquired Dräger LAR III rebreathers that were so state-of-the-art that not even the SEALs had them yet. “The Kampfschwimmer Kompanie gave us the rebreather training as well as passing on their refined expertise in harbor and inland waterway operations,” Lieutenant Grayal Farr said. Before that they had Dräger dual-stage oxygen tanks, which some Det A members used when they swam up into canals in Berlin, looking for ways to penetrate the border in 1973.