Inside Delta Force - Eric L Haney/The Unit (TV Program)

Discussion in 'Multinational HQ' started by Trip_Wire, Apr 12, 2006.

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  1. Trip_Wire

    Trip_Wire RIP

    There is an ongoing controversy within the American Special Operations community about CSM (Ret) Haney's book (Inside Delta Force) and the new TV program titled "The Unit." Many in the community, feel that he has violated OPSEC and betrayed his former comrades in CAG. He also, has made some public comments to the news media criticizing the currant adminsitration and the war in Iraq. Many in the Special Ops community, think he has gone "Hollywood," and joined the many left wing Hollywood liberals, etc.

    Many also accuse him of making many false claims, about his being a "plank" owner in CAG and say some of his stories on actions are not true.

    In anycase here is an article from a senior officer who also served in CAG/Delta!

    I'll also post the article just in case the 'site goes away.

    Delta Force Veterans Slam Claims Of 'The Unit' Writer

    Published: Apr 11, 2006

    Eric Haney has made much out of his time as a member of Delta Force, America's clandestine counterterrorism outfit.

    Way too much, according to former Delta Force officers and operators, who say Haney has embellished his résumé and fabricated other parts of his military career on his way to becoming an acclaimed author and a key contributor to the CBS television series "The Unit."

    Now, as Haney's star rises in Hollywood and throughout the mainstream media, some who served with him say they've had enough. They're going public with withering critiques, describing Haney as a self-serving pretender seeking fame and money.

    "It's always disturbing when a former member of the organization does something that lacks integrity," said retired Army Lt. Col. Lewis "Bucky" Burruss, who was assigned to Delta in November 1977 when the organization was formally activated.

    Logan Fitch, Haney's former Delta squadron commander, said Haney's comments and conduct since he left the military more than a decade ago have earned him "persona non grata" status. He is banned from Delta facilities, reunions and commemorative events.

    "I don't know of any [ex-Delta troops] who are sympathetic to Haney," said Fitch, who joined Delta shortly after Burruss did.

    "I have no problem with him capitalizing on his experience, but he should be factual. I view him as a crass opportunist interested in personal gain," he said.

    "The Unit," which premiered March 7 and has received solid Nielsen ratings, is based on Haney's autobiography, "Inside Delta Force." The show airs Tuesday evenings, and Haney is the program's supervising producer, technical adviser and co-writer.

    Published in May 2002, "Inside Delta Force" advertises Haney as a "founding member" of the organization.

    The book is filled with gripping accounts of Delta's brutal physical and psychological training regimen, the tight bonds forged among the troops, and top-secret missions to desolate locations, including the failed 1980 attempt to rescue U.S. hostages in Iran.

    One of the most compelling episodes involves a Nicaraguan-born Army Green Beret whom Haney befriended while both were trying out for Delta in the fall of 1978. Five years later, Haney wrote, he would encounter this U.S. soldier-turned-Sandinista commando on a mountaintop in Honduras and kill him with a rifle shot during an intense firefight.

    Burruss said he has never read Haney's book and never will. He's certain, though, the episode did not occur.

    "It didn't happen. Period," said Burruss, who became Delta's deputy commander in June 1983 and spent nine years with the supersecret organization.

    Mel Wick agreed with Burruss. Wick was assigned to Delta in November 1977 and served 16 years with the unit. He spent the last 3 1/2 as Delta's highest-ranking enlisted operator.

    "He did not encounter his 'selection course roommate' - or anyone else - in the jungles of Central America and kill him," Wick wrote in a March 8 e-mail to the Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly after Haney appeared on "The O'Reilly Factor."

    Haney "consistently takes credit for missions he was never on and things he never did in his book and in his public appearances," Wick's message said.

    Wick provided the e-mail to The Tampa Tribune but declined to comment further.

    Haney did not respond to a request for an interview, but provided a brief comment through his literary agent, Frank Weimann.

    "I have nothing but respect for my former comrades," Haney said. "But I stand by everything in my book."

    Weimann, an agent with The Literary Group International in New York, said Haney "doesn't feel the need to engage in pointless rhetoric."

    "This is a newer version of Swift Boating," Weimann said, referring to the campaign by Navy Vietnam veterans to discredit 2004 presidential candidate John Kerry's military service.

    Before joining Delta Force, Haney was an Army Ranger. William Sears, a retired staff sergeant who served with him in the 1st Ranger Battalion, said Haney is being criticized unfairly.

    "Eric is not a liar. He's not anti-American," Sears said. "The fact that he's got a different opinion is what has gotten him into trouble with these people."

    No Co-Founders
    To those unfamiliar with the Delta fraternity, Haney casting himself as one of Delta's founding members might seem a minor infraction, a question of semantics. To those present at the creation, however, the claim is blasphemy.

    "The only founder of the Delta Force was Charlie Beckwith," Burruss said. "There were no co-founders."

    Haney was assigned to Delta in December 1978, according to Burruss, nearly 13 months after the organization was established. Haney would not become a qualified Delta operator until mid-1979.

    Beckwith, a charismatic and controversial Army colonel, risked his career fighting for a more flexible special operations organization - one able to adapt quickly to unconventional threats such as an airplane hijacking.

    Eventually, top military leaders directed Beckwith to create a counterterrorism team that would specialize in quick-strike, hostage-rescue missions. The hypersecret unit was named 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta. More simply, it was called Delta Force.

    Beckwith died of natural causes in 1994 at age 65.

    His daughter, Connie Beckwith Howe, has kept close ties with many of the soldiers picked by Beckwith to get Delta up and running. She has never met or spoken to Haney.

    "People think he helped my dad start the unit, and he didn't," she said. "I haven't read Haney's book, and I don't care to."

    Haney spent eight years with Delta Force, according to his book. In 1986, because of the mental and physical demands of the job, he was wrestling with whether to stay. Then, in rapid order, he received promotions to sergeant major and then command sergeant major, the highest rank an enlisted soldier can achieve in the Army.

    With room for only one command sergeant major at Delta, Haney said, the decision effectively was made for him. He asked for an assignment with an infantry unit and eventually retired from the Army in 1990.

    A page from one of his final Delta efficiency reports is reprinted in his book. Haney is called an "outstanding" member of the organization, a soldier who is "tough, quiet and exceptionally talented."

    Who thought so highly of Haney is not known, however, because the rater's name is not included on the document.

    Average Performer
    Wick said Haney never got above a four-man team leader position with Delta. His promotions to sergeant major and command sergeant major came after he left the organization, Wick said.

    "He was a mediocre performer at best and not highly regarded by other unit members," Wick wrote in his e-mail to O'Reilly. "He liked to talk about how good he was instead of living it everyday."

    Given Delta's demanding standards, mediocre would have made Haney a star in almost any other combat unit, Wick said, alluding to the caliber of Delta's personnel.

    Released less than a year after the Sept. 11 attacks, "Inside Delta Force" received stellar reviews for providing a still-stunned American public with insights about the elite organization that was tracking Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida associates.

    With his counterterrorism background and willingness to share details, Haney began appearing on national radio and television news programs, including "The O'Reilly Factor," "Inside Edition" and "Larry King Live."

    In 2003, Haney met and began working with writer/director David Mamet on one of Mamet's film projects. That led to a creative collaboration that resulted in "The Unit," according to information posted on the CBS Web site.

    The action drama "follows a covert team of Special Forces operatives as they risk their lives on undercover missions around the globe, while their families maintain the home front, protecting their husbands' secrets," according to CBS.

    The network has ordered 13 episodes of the program.

    20th Century Fox Television is producing "The Unit." Company spokesman Chris Alexander would not say how much Haney is being paid, citing a longstanding practice of not discussing contract compensation.

    Beyond the show, Haney has emerged as a sharp critic of the war in Iraq, telling the Los Angeles Daily News last month that President Bush had launched an "utter debacle" and "may well have started the third world war."

    Credibility Questioned
    Fitch, the former Delta squadron commander, said Haney's credibility to make such statements is undermined by inaccuracies in his book.

    When Delta Force landed in the Iranian desert in April 1980 to stage the rescue of more than 50 Americans taken hostage months earlier, the Americans encountered a bus full of civilians traveling down a dirt road.

    The bus was stopped and boarded by Delta operators. According to Haney's account, Fitch led the way. As he neared the rear of the bus, a young Iranian "jumped up and punched Logan in the nose," Haney wrote.

    That never happened, Fitch said.

    "If someone had hit me, I probably would have shot him," he said.

    "I read 'Inside Delta Force' once, put it down in disgust and haven't picked it up since," Fitch said.

    Dick Davis spent 15 years in Delta Force, succeeding Wick as the unit's command sergeant major in 1994. Davis said Haney has been trying to profit from his Delta experience since the mid-1990s, when he tried to claim copyright to the organization's emblem, a sword overlaid by a triangle-shaped thunderbolt.

    Other individuals were responsible for the logo design, Davis said, and Haney's claim was rejected.

    Haney's book revealed too much about the organization's inner workings, potentially putting people and programs at risk, he said.

    "I don't have a lot time for Eric Haney," Davis said. "What he has done is break faith with the troops."

    In a statement to The Tampa Tribune, the top spokesman at U.S. Special Operations Command noted that service members who have access to classified information are required to sign an agreement stating they will not disclose that information.

    But Army Col. Sam Taylor would not say whether Haney's book violated that agreement. Military authorities were not given an opportunity to review "Inside Delta Force" before it was published, he said, but the command "and other government entities" did review it afterward.

    Those authorities determined, "based on various factors, that no further action was warranted at that time," Taylor said.

    "The book may, as with all books that purport to reveal historical events from an individual perspective, be biased, incomplete, contain elements of questionable accuracy or simply be wrong," he said. "Socom does not intend to specifically identify those areas."
  2. Caught that a couple of weeks ago. Obviously, with my abundance of experience of working with Delta force, I naturaly thought it was a bit poo.

    Seriously though,'biggest' character seemed to be African American actor who does the insurance adverts, other than that it just seems to be a US version of Ultimate Force. And we all know what we think of that don't we : :lol:
  3. Haney's wife, who assisted in editing a book of his--popped into the forums for a day to offer insight into some of the individuals mentioned and an assessment of the article. She got jumped on by a few but stood her ground as well as could be expected. She's the poster going by 'DeltaWife'.
  4. Trip_Wire

    Trip_Wire RIP


    I read her posts and thought, why is a wife defending her husband in a Military Forum. I would think, that CSM Haney, would address these issues himself. Yes, I do understand, why a wife, would support her husband, etc.; however, she didn't serve in CAG, nor should she be that knowledgeable, on actual operations, or the inside working of the unit.

    I tend to agree, with the majority of actual Special Operations people, who have posted on that board, as well as the many other military boards, where similar treads exist. The people quoted, in the news article that I posted, are people that I know and have the upmost respect for. I do not think, they have any hidden agendas.

    So, like many others in the American Special Operations Community, I await CSM Haney's comments and answers to the things that people in the community, are saying about his actions.

    BTW: As far as I can tell, CSM Haney was never a Special Forces soldier. He was a Ranger and CAG operator. He never served in a Special Forces Group, or ODA. He never carried, an 18 series MOS, as a Special Forces soldier. The mission of the Special Forces soldier, is vastly different then CAG operations, for the most part.

    Yes, he is a member of the Special Operations community, as are CAG, Ranger BNs, SEALs, etc.
  5. I watched two episodes of the Unit and had to turn it off. There's only so much military inaccuracy that I can tolerate in a TV show. I've never been, nor ever will be SF, but even I could spot the glaring bollox that that show was putting out there.

    One particular episode annoyed me spectacularly. I think it was the pilot episode with terrorists holding hostages on an aircraft at a small airfield.

    Example: Jumping from a civvy executive jet with engines in the tail for insertion to the area.
    Error 1) As if you wouldn't be sucked into the engine intake.
    2) Your neck wouldn't snap with the force of the wind at that speed and altitude on exit.
    3) Weren't wearing HALO or HAHO parachutes.
    4) Why bother jumping unto an airfield with terrorists holding an aircraft? It's far more tactical to tab in.
    5) My personal favourite. Entering the aircraft with over a hundred civilians. The CT team were carrying shotguns. SHOTGUNS?!?! Are they mental? It's not exactly an weapon renowned for it's accuracy.
    6) SUSATs (optical sights) on said shotguns. Why?

    The list is endless. This tv show has brought me endless rage. The military advisor should do the decent thing and retire to the mess with a gun and do the honourable thing.
  6. One has to suppose that, if Haney was a true blue Delta boy, he'd adhere to the OPSEC issues and not reveal the authentic, true stuff, but fiddle with the facts in his tales to avoid prosecution, etc.. at the same time, he had toi know that the government authorities aren't going to jump up and yell, " that's a lie, it happened this way.. " etc.. so he's got an out in both directions.. Haney isn't the first mook to try to make a buck or two out of his ' life experiences '.. who knows ' where the truth lies? '.. only thing that puts any suspicion on the guy as to this larging up his part in the whole thing is the grumbling from others in the ' community 'who are ptrying to point out incidents of ' self-grandizement ' without, themselves, giving anything away...

    As to the Hollywoodizing of the events on the show,, etc...been an ' advisor ' on a couple of shows myself, and the tendency is to ignore sound and good avice on what 'really 'should be done, when the director and other mucky mucks want something 'splashy' and dramatic top make it ' cool '.. Shotguns with sniper sights?.. Oooh, yeah!! can we get the grenades to bounce off the window, fall through the grate and then blow up just the donut machine but not the hot dog stand?.. and, possibly, could the guy in the back leap through the window with the shoulder mounted Karl Gustav and while in mid tumble fire a round taking out the second limo in the convoy?.. that would be neat...

    TV never lets reality stand in the way.. every car has to blow up when the gas tank gets shot...
  7. As unbelievable as it sounds, some USSF do actually jump from commercial airliners, but you're right, its extremely dangerous. Other than that, I havent seen the programme so coudnt comment.
  8. Like this chap? :D