Delta Force is an elite group of Army soldiers. To join this exclusive group of soldiers, you have to go through a battery of challenging tests.
One test is the ruck march. Participating soldiers have no idea how long the march will go. There is no start or end time and absolutely no encouragement for those who want to become a part of the team.
If they can pass this test, they have one more obstacle- the selection board. If the selection board chooses a soldier, they get to join Delta Force. If not, they will go home.
Delta Force History
Delta Force was originally shaped after Britain’s Special Air Service by Col. Charles A. Beckwith, an exchange officer with the 22 SAS, and became a Special Forces leader.
Since Beckwith originally pitched the idea for the unit, he was chosen to lead it. He modeled much of it after the rigorous methods the SAS used to choose battle-ready soldiers. The ruck march was enacted to test their stress tolerance.
The 40-mile march wasn’t too crazy but is just far enough to test how a soldier can handle stress. In the SAS, those who wanted to join the elite squad had to do the march after spending weeks training.
The candidates awoke early to begin. An additional part of the test was not giving them a clue as to how far they were going to go. They also were not told how far they had already come.
The soldiers would be instructed to go to a set point, and once they reached it, they would be told where the next point was and so on.
Setting Up Delta Force
Beckwith asked for two years to get Delta Force up and running. However, Beckwith had a hard time finding candidates that fit the SAS standards.
However, he did not change his standards. Instead, he decided that the “Long Walk” would become a part of the selection. Soldiers would walk 40 miles with a 70-pound rucksack on their backs after they were already mentally and physically tired.
The march ensured that only the best of the best made it onto the unit and that they did not have soldiers who would hesitate to give a mission their all.
The soldiers had 20 hours to finish the march and they could not work together.