MSG John M. Yancey, Jr. was killed during a night fire sniper-training event on Range 19B, Fort Bragg, North Carolina on 24 February 1982. John and another person were down range and off to the side of a line of targets. After shooting at their targets John and the other person walk over to check targets. Using a radio they would call back to the line and tell the shooters how well they did. John and the other person would then walk back to the side and clear the range to go hot. One of the new snipers missed lining up and mistook John’s silhouette as a target and fired. John was shot in the throat and died almost immediately. The soldier that accidentally shot John was cleared of any wrong doing and left the unit. The mistake made that night is that the left and right range limits weren't adequately marked with a light.
Other Comments: This remembrance profile is maintained by Mike R. Vining, SGM USA (Retired).
1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1st SFOD-D) Details
"Delta Force," officially known as 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment- Delta - (Airborne) (1st SFOD-D), is one of the U.S. special missions units primarily focused on the counter-terrorism mission. Delta is located at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Though Delta is primarily a tier-one counter-terrorist unit, specifically directed to kill or capture high value units (HVU) or dismantle terrorist cells, Delta remains extremely flexible and can engage in direct action missions, hostage rescues, and covert missions working directly with the Central Intelligence Agency, as well as high ranking protective services of our senior leaders during visits in war torn countries. Delta is under operational control of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) though administratively supported by the Army Special Operations Command (USASOC).
Compared to our nation's military history, Delta is relatively young, having been formed in November 1977 by its first commander, Colonel Charles Beckwith. With the growing threat of terrorism around the world, Beckwith saw a need for a precision strike force within the Army after working with the British Special Air Service (SAS) in the early 1970's. Beckwith was tasked to form the new unit and pulled largely from the Special Forces Groups. The type of missions the Delta has been involved with over the past few decades are classified but some have been declassified and noted publicly in media reports and books written by Delta Operators.
1977 - 1980 COL Charles Alvin "Chargin' Charlie" Beckwith (1929 -1994)
1980 - 1982 COL Jim Roddy "Rod" Paschall (1935 - 2020)
1982 - 1985 COL (later BG) Sherman H. Williford
1985 - 1989 COL (later MG) William F. "Bill" Garrison
1989 - 1992 COL (later General) Peter J. Schoomaker
1992 - 1994 COL (later LTG) William G. Boykin
1994 - 1996 COL Bernard J. McCabe, Jr.
1996 - 1998 COL (later MG) Eldon A. Bargewell (1947 - 2019)
1998 - 2000 COL (later MG) Gary L. Harrell
2000 - 2002 COL (later BG) James H. Schwitters
From November 1977 to 31 September 1982, Delta personnel were authorized to wear JFK Special Warfare Center and School shoulder sleeve insignia (SSI), distinctive unit insignia (DUI), beret flash, and parachute background trimming.
From 1 October 1982 to 30 November 1989, Delta personnel were authorized to wear the Army's 1st Special Operations Command (Airborne) (Provisional) shoulder sleeve insignia (SSI), distinctive unit insignia (DUI), beret flash, and parachute background trimming.
From 1 December 1989 to the present, Delta personnel are authorized to wear Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) shoulder sleeve insignia (SSI), distinctive unit insignia (DUI), beret flash, and parachute background trimming.
Send any corrections or additional information to SGM Mike R. Vining (USA Retired), email: firstname.lastname@example.org. I served in the unit from 24 March 1978 to 5 June 1985. I graduated from Operator Training Course One (OTC-1) and was assigned to B Squadron. I was TDY to unit from 20February to 5 April 1986, and returned to the unit on 31 July 1986. From August 1992 to January 1999, while assigned to the unit, I was attached to Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC).