Military Wiki
Eric L. Haney
Eric Haney in 2003
Born August 22, 1952(1952-08-22) (age 69)
Place of birth Lindale, Georgia
Allegiance United States United States of America
Service/branch United States Department of the Army Seal.svg United States Army
Years of service 1970-1990
Rank Army-USA-OR-09b.svg Command Sergeant Major

75th Ranger Regiment SSI (1984-2015).svg 75th Ranger Regiment
US Army Special Operations Command SSI.svg Delta Force

193rdInfBde.jpg 193rd Infantry Brigade
Other work Security consultant, news commentator, author, screenwriter, actor

Eric L. Haney (born August 22, 1952) is a retired member of the United States Army counterterrorist unit, the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1SFOD-D), more commonly known as Delta Force. In recent years he has been writing on terrorism, guerrilla warfare, and special operations. Haney is the author of Inside Delta Force, a memoir of his time in the elite unit, in which he also writes about his participation in the aborted 1980 Operation Eagle Claw mission to Iran to free American hostages.

He was a co-executive producer of the CBS television series The Unit, created by David Mamet and inspired by Haney's special operations experiences. Previously, Haney was a technical consultant on Mamet's 2004 film Spartan, starring Val Kilmer.

Early life and education[]

Haney was born on August 22, 1952 and raised in rural Lindale, Georgia, just outside of the town of Rome. He attended Pepperell High School there, graduating in 1970.

Military career[]

Haney joined the Army just out of high school in 1970 and became a platoon sergeant by the time he was 22. He served for several years in the 75th Ranger Regiment as an infantryman and was slated to become an instructor. In 1977 he volunteered for and was selected to train with a new elite counter-terrorism unit that the Army was creating. Of the 163 soldiers that tried out, Haney was one of only 12 to succeed. This unit became operational in 1978 as the 1st SFOD-D, or Delta Force, with Haney joining the unit at least 13 months later and after training and operational acceptance nearly six months after that he became a full member of the unit.[1] The unit had been formed and organized by Col Beckwith approximately 19 months before Haney became an asset and operator with the unit.[2][3] Haney served in the unit until 1986, participating in a number of special operations in Latin America and the Middle East.

After his promotion to Command Sergeant Major, the rank he held until his retirement in 1990, Haney left Delta and joined the 193rd Infantry Brigade (Panama).

Operation Eagle Claw[]

In 1980, when the United States launched Operation Eagle Claw, an attempt to end the Iran hostage crisis with a commando raid, Haney was one of the Delta operators to take part.[3] He was inside the parked C-130 tanker/transport aircraft that caught fire and exploded when a Navy RH-53D helicopter piloted by Marine aircrews collided into it after the mission had been aborted and the unit was preparing to exfiltrate. After the debacle he and other Delta operators were told to "take a vacation" in order to avoid any media scrutiny.[3]


In 1981, Haney and two Delta Force operators were deployed to Honduras to train Honduran Special Forces when they were sent on a mission to intercept and destroy a group of Honduran communist guerrillas that had infiltrated the country from Nicaragua. This group of around 100 rebels was allegedly being led by an advisor in the Nicaraguan Sandinista Army.

Haney states that his team, composed of the Delta operators and Honduran special forces soldiers, tracked the guerrillas to a mountain sanctuary in the Honduran jungle. During an assault on the hilltop, Haney spotted a guerrilla using a radio set and taking him for the leader, shot and killed him. Haney soon discovered that this commander turned out to be David Arturo Báez, a Nicaraguan-born U.S. citizen and former Army Special Forces soldier whom Haney had met during his Delta selection.[4]

In his memoir, Haney questioned whether Báez had actually joined the Sandinistas or whether Báez was still working for the United States as a CIA operative up until his death. (Báez is referred to in Haney's book as "Enrique 'Keekee' Sáenz.")[4]

Several former Delta members who were also with Delta at the time of this alleged incident, including his Squadron Commander, have disputed this entire incident and have stated it is a complete fabrication.[1] An interview published in the Miami Herald relates that Baez's family had heard accounts of his death which resemble the version that Haney describes in his book.[4]


During the 1982 Marines operation in Lebanon, Haney was deployed with other Delta Force members to train local Lebanese as part of the U.S. Embassy security detail. Later, he and his teammates were tasked with locating and eliminating snipers who were targeting Marines deployed there as part of a United Nations peacekeeping mission.[citation needed]


In 1983, the U.S. invasion of Grenada in Operation Urgent Fury. Haney and other Delta operators were assigned to raid a prison thought to hold political prisoners. Their helicopters came under heavy enemy fire, and they determined that the prison was empty. The raid was called off.


In 1989, the U.S. invasion of the Republic of Panama in Operation Just Cause. Haney was Command Sergeant Major of the 193rd Infantry Brigade. He was involved in a fire fight along with C Co. 5/87th Inf. (Light) "Panthers", 193rd Inf. Brigade, in which Panamanian forces attempted to assassinate the newly elected Vice President Ford of Panama. Panamanian forces suffered heavy loses, no U.S. troops were lost in this battle. The battle took place at the DNTT (Direccion Nacional de Transporte Terrestre, which served as the Headquarters of the National Police).

Book criticism[]

File:Inside Delta Force.gif

Cover of the 1st edition of Inside Delta Force (2002)

Since the publication of Inside Delta Force in 2002 and Haney's subsequent success with The Unit television show, three of his former Delta colleagues accused him of embellishing his accomplishments within the unit and fabricating several of the events depicted. Some of the criticism directed at Haney has focused on him stating he was a "founding member" of Delta Force; it's acknowledged among former operators that there was only one "founder", Colonel Charlie Beckwith, who helped establish the unit and was its first commanding officer.[1]

One such colleague, Logan Fitch, who first wrote publicly of the Desert One mission for Penthouse Magazine in 1984 in which he was also highly critical of Beckwith,[citation needed] called Haney a "crass opportunist" for capitalizing on his past for personal gain.[1] Despite the falling-out between Haney and these former Delta members, Haney has stood behind the accuracy of his book.

Another member criticized Haney for revealing too much about Delta Force's training, tactics and early missions.[1] A U.S. Army historian has questioned whether this was an issue, given that the information contained in Haney's book was current during the late-1970s and early-1980s and that Delta Force would certainly have changed their procedures since then. Moreover, operational information offered by Delta veterans had been made public before, for instance in Black Hawk Down, Mark Bowden's book about the Battle of Mogadishu, and most notably in Delta Force: The Army's Elite Counterterrorist Unit, Beckwith's own account about the formation and training of the unit.[5]

Given that all such books that may contain classified information must be reviewed prior to being published, it is unlikely that any currently classified information is revealed in Haney's book.

Post-military career[]

Upon retiring from the Army in 1990, Haney was employed as a freelance security consultant and trainer. He worked within the United States and abroad as a bodyguard, trainer for military and police forces, and private kidnap rescuer.

Some of Haney's assignments in the private sector include conducting the ransom negotiation and ransom hand-over for a kidnapped oil executive in Colombia, and helping governments in two Middle Eastern countries develop their special forces capabilities. He also worked for several years as personal security detail leader for several high-profile clients, such as Saudi Prince Khalid al Faisal, the CEO of the largest corporation in Mexico, and Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide upon his return from exile in 1994.[6][7]

During the 1990s, Haney performed security consulting work in Algeria on a gas pipeline project, and started a contract aviation company in Liberia.[6] Some time after that, Haney was approached about organizing and leading a coup attempt in another African nation.[6] He was able to completely thwart the parties who wanted that coup, several of the conspirators were arrested a short while later.


After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Haney became a regular television commentator on military affairs and terrorism, appearing on CNN, Fox News, CBS News and The O'Reilly Factor. He has expressed opinions strongly critical of the planning and implementation of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Haney was the host of a television series entitled "Spymaster USA," which aired on The Learning Channel in 2004.[8]

Haney was involved as a writer, producer, and technical advisor for the CBS television series The Unit, loosely based on his book. Haney also made a cameo appearance on the show as an Army recruiting officer.[9]

Haney made a cameo appearance in Iron Man 2 as a USAF commanding officer.

Also, in the recently released video game Call of Duty: Black Ops a portrait of Haney can be found on the wall during the campaign mission which takes place inside of the Pentagon, as well as the zombie-mode map "Five" (which is also based on the Pentagon).


See also[]


External links[]

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