Charles Alvin Beckwith

Charles Alvin Beckwith

Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia, USA
Death 13 Jun 1994 (aged 65)
Austin, Travis County, Texas, USA
Burial San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas, USA
Plot Section 9, Grave 1132
Memorial ID 9791 · View Source
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United States Army Officer. He was the founder and first Commander of the United States Army's Counter-terrorist 1st Special Operations Detachment - Delta, also known as "Delta Force". He is remembered for its most decisive failure, the attempt to rescue the 52 hostages held in the American Embassy in Teheran, Iran in 1980. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, affectionately known as Chargin' Charlie, was a six foot, 3 inch Green Beret (Army Special Forces) officer and decorated hero of the Vietnam War. After attending Brown High School, he was an all-state Football player and three-year starting guard on the University of Georgia Football team. Obtaining his Army commission in the Infantry in 1952, he was assigned to the 508th Regimental Combat Team at Fort Benning, Georgia, and later spent three years with the 82nd Airborne Division. When the Special Forces were created in 1958, he immediately took an interest and joined them, becoming an Advisor in 1960 in South Vietnam. In 1962, he was trained with the British Army's 22nd Special Air Service Regiment during Britain's war to put down communist guerillas in Malaysia, and much of what he learned there he would put into the later Delta Force. He returned to Vietnam in 1965, where he fought an eight-day battle against North Vietnamese regulars at Plei Me. Later, in 1966, he was severely wounded when an enemy .50 caliber round hit him in the stomach. In 1974, after many years arguing for a special anti-terrorist unit, the Army selected him to form one, the result was Delta Force, which he located in an old post stockade at Fort Bragg, North Carolina so they could train in privacy. In 1979, radicals seized the United States Embassy in Teheran, Iran, and held the American Embassy personnel there as hostages. President Jimmy Carter then authorized Delta Force to plan and execute a rescue mission. When the mission failed, and eight servicemen died in the evacuation of their secret desert base, Beckwith's career in the Army was effectively ended. He retired from the Army in 1981, and formed a consulting firm, Security Assistance Services. In 1983, he wrote a book, "Delta Force" with Donald Knox, in which he blamed the helicopters and their Marine Corps pilots for the failure of the rescue mission. An innovative thinker and creative soldier, his concept of a counter-terrorist force would been seen as years ahead of its time. He died in his home in Austin, Texas, of natural causes.

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson

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Gravesite Details COL US Army, Korea, Vietnam



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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 3 Jun 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 9791
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Charles Alvin Beckwith (22 Jan 1929–13 Jun 1994), Find A Grave Memorial no. 9791, citing Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .