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CAMP CASEY, South Korea — More than 1,200 South Korea- based U.S. soldiers have inquired about joining Delta Force, recruiters for the elite, secretive unit said this week.

The recruiters, making a swing through South Korea, held a briefing Monday open to all Camp Casey soldiers. And true to their limelight-averse reputation, they declined to let Stars & Stripes attend, offering only scant details about their pitch.

“Most soldiers have heard of Delta Force, whether it be from the television or from real knowledge through the military,” said one Delta recruiter who asked not to be named. “The force started as a counterterrorist unit, but they do a lot more things than that nowadays.”

Any soldier could attend the briefing, the recruiter said, adding that there is no recruitment target.

The Web site states that the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment, Delta, created in 1977, is influenced heavily by the British Special Air Service. Like SAS, Delta specializes in parachuting, scuba diving and other skills.

The recruiter said potential recruits’ skill background was immaterial but Delta Force soldiers must be male.

“There is no career field that can train a soldier for what we are going to do,” he said. “Everything is taught from the ground up once someone is hired.”

Candidates will be put through psychological and physical testing this week and next as part of the selection process, the recruiter said, noting that while the physical testing is diagnostic, more than physical ability is tested.

“It depends on what is in your heart,” the recruiter said. “You could be a physical fitness stud, but if your heart is not in it you are not going to do well. We are not looking for the number of stripes on your shoulders, your career background or how big a Rambo you are. It’s whether you are willing to give 110 percent and be a part of something much bigger than yourself.”

One soldier emerging from the briefing, who asked not to be identified, said he would take the physical test Friday.

“I’ve wanted to join since I was a kid,” said the soldier, who previously dropped out of a Special Forces selection course after becoming a single father.

He said the briefing gave him an idea what Delta Force training was like — it appeared comparable to Special Forces training, which included an eight-mile march carrying a 120-pound pack.

“My legs were killing me that day but I want to go back,” he said. “You can sit back and dream and say, ‘I wish I could have or would have.’ My objective is to find out how far I can go.”

He said a film shown during the briefing contained the message, “As long as your mind is focused your body will get you through.”

That soldier felt confident he would be selected for Delta Force, but not all the soldiers were as enthusiastic.

Sgt. Daniel Cruz, 17th Ordnance Company, said he attended the briefing only because he was told to. “I’m not interested. I’m getting out in a couple of years,” Cruz said.

Sgt. Nicholas Paske, 503rd Infantry, said he enjoyed the briefing and would “think about it. I like the idea of working in small groups or on my own and not having to deal with all the younger people coming into the Army.”

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