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Episode Info: The United States Army keeps the selection process for Delta Force a highly-guarded secret. Former Delta operator Pat Savidge has said that “It's not always the best guy that makes it. It's the right guy. That’s the key." Most all special operation units have minimum standards for an invite to a selection course. Once there, applicants are tested daily, and many quit as the training tempo increases. Tons of video from the Navy SEALSs BUD/S crucible exists but few are aware of the multi-course process to become an Air Force Combat Controller. Those trainees know the standard. However, Delta Force selection see many pass the course but don’t select them. Some have Adonis-like bodies and a Harvard intellect. Yet, they don’t make it. William “Chief” Carlson checked off all the qualities one would think are necessary in a Delta operator. He passed the course. Yet, Delta didn’t select him the first time. By his second go-round, they deemed him “the right guy.” Carlson grew up in the northern California area to a family steeped in Native American history with an older brother and older sister. As members of the Blackfeet, his father and grandmother taught him the Plains Algonquian language. His mischievous nature never worried his mother since he stayed out of major trouble, but his father, a former marine, made life difficult for him. A tough father and tough neighborhood gave him the grit he’d need later in life. He excelled at art and spent hours drawing but also found time for sports and enjoyed football the most. Although he didn’t have the best grades, he managed to make his way through. Over time he developed a love for reading, in particular, biographies and military history. He considered college and visited the University of California at San Diego in 1979 but surprised his mother that he had joined the army infantry. He became Airborne qualified, earned a Ranger tab, and served with the 75th Ranger Regiment. Carlson left the army after four years but reenlisted in 1985. Before long, he entered the Q-Course for the U.S. Army Special Forces and earn the right to wear the Green Beret. He not only passed but also achieved one of the toughest accomplishments in the army by becoming Combat Diver qualified where many struggle with the physics and physiology in the classroom. Nothing seemed to dissuade the tough Blackfeet soldier. The list of friends he made along the way remains long and distinguished by others that sewed a Ranger tab on their sleeve or wore a Green Beret. They all called him “Chief,” aside from the military discipline that required those under him to call him Staff Sergeant Carlson, for example. Others might have tried to call him “Carlson,” or “William,” or “Bill,” be he always corrected them. “No, just Chief,” he’d say. The proud man never shied away from his heritage. Many might mistake him for another race or another American Native Tribe, but he was Blackfeet, period. Listen to this ...
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