The U.S. Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC, pronounced: JAY-sock) is best known for the Osama bin Laden raid. But it has long served as the president’s secret army, planning and executing the most dangerous, highly classified missions of the United States military. In 2009, its snipers rescued an American ship captain held captive by Somali pirates. In 2003, JSOC hunted down and captured Saddam Hussein near Tikrit, Iraq. In 1993, two Delta snipers earned posthumous Congressional Medals of honour for actions during the Battle of Mogadishu (a JSOC operation portrayed in Black Hawk Down). And before that, members of the Command were tracking Scud missiles during the Gulf War and slithering down ropes in Panama. Here are a few things about the president’s secret army that you might not know.
1. When you hear “Delta Force” or “SEAL Team Six,” they’re talking about JSOC.
The U.S. Army Delta Force (officially the Combat Applications Group) and the U.S. Navy SEAL Team Six (officially the Naval Special Warfare Development Group) are JSOC’s elite tier-one forces. They conduct the nation’s black operations, and work in absolute secrecy. When an operator from one of these units is killed in action, the Department of defence generally releases his name with a cover story for the death. (A training accident, for example.)
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