Colonel Charles Alvin Beckwith

1929-1994, Creator/Commander, SFOD-Delta

Colonel Charles “Chargin’ Charlie” Beckwith volunteered for Special Forces duty in 1958 and by 1959, he had already been an advisor to the Royal Laotian Army as part of the “Hotfoot” mission to Laos. The assignment that had the most impact on COL Beckwith’s military career and future was as an exchange officer with the British 22nd Special Air Services Regiment in 1962-1963. The lessons he learned there about organization, selection and assessment of personnel, and tough, realistic training would become the model he would later use to activate Delta Force, the U. S. Army’s counter-terrorist unit on 19 November 1977. Other Special Forces assignments such as Commander, DELTA Project, Detachment B-52 in South Vietnam and Commandant of the Special Forces Schools provided COL Beckwith the additional background and experience to be selected as Delta Force’s first Commander, and the man who would land the ground force to execute Operation EAGLE CLAW, the mission to rescue American hostages in Tehran, Iran in 1980. In 1981 COL Beckwith retired from the Army and formed a consulting firm called Security Assistance Services in Austin, Texas.

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