Formal Drill and Ceremony (DNC) was never a thing that Delta operators are very good at — or even ANY good at all at. In fact, I could go so far as to declare in all confidence that Delta operators are indeed ceremoniously challenged. It’s not a bragging right; it’s a simple matter of being horrendously out of practice. It is, as I came to abruptly learn, a rather perishable skill!
In my ten years with Delta never a single time did I stand in a formal formation. Physical training was never conducted as a group unless it was a specific testing event, and even then, no DNC applied. Officers and NCOs didn’t salute; they shook hands, but only if there was respect between them, which was always the case.
During my time in the Unit, I was gifted with an opportunity to attend a much-vaunted senior leader’s course called Operations and Intelligence (O&I). I was in this training course that pipe-hitters learned advanced Intelligence Preparation of Battlespace (IPB) and refined their understanding of the covenants of Special Forces guerrilla operations, that is, Low-Intensity Conflict/Unconventional Warfare (LIC/UW).
The school saw mostly Sergeants First Class (E-7) seeking promotion to Master Sergeant (E-8). I was already a MSG when I came to O&I, a thing that didn’t sit well with many of my classmates who deemed that I was taking a space needlessly from a man trying to get promoted. I agreed with that, but my unit sent me to the school — I did not ask to go. What’s more, I had been running damned-hard for seven years straight with no break.
While DNC is a priority for the regular Army, I had let my skills atrophy so much that I didn’t even have a proper uniform ready to go, and, as fate is fickle, I was caught short by my own lack of situational awareness. Being a Master Sergeant, I was incidentally the senior man in the class, therefore the Class Leader.
The night before the first day of class I was strangely restless. Understand it I did not, and I raised myself from bed to imbibe in cool water. The first window I passed I was started by the light of the full moon that spilled into the room… the blue light of the blue moon!