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A tightly-knit elite group such as Special Forces that exists
for decades forms a specific culture unique to its organization.
This page will provide some information and history on that
Green Beret. The most obvious historical and cultural aspect
of Special Forces is their unique hat - the Green Beret. It is a
symbol of their heritage and special training and is only earned
by attending and successfully passing the Special Forces
Qualification Course or SFQC. The Green Beret was authorized for
wear at Bad Tolz, Germany by the 10th Special Forces Group
commander (Col William Ekman) on November 17, 1955. The
Department of the Army did not recognize the headgear as
official - which caused all sorts of cultural clashes between
the Special Forces Soldiers and conventional commanders and
SGMs. In October 1961 President John F. Kennedy visited Fort
Bragg where he met with Special Forces leaders. Kennedy was a
chamion of unconventional warfare
and the Special Forces. He issued a Presidential Directive
recognizing the Green Beret as the "Symbol of Excellence" and
the Green Beret was then made the official headgear of Special
Ballad of the Green Beret. Special Forcs has its own song.
Wrote and sung by SSG Barry Sadler during the height of the
Vietnam War it became extremely popular. In fact, it was the
number one song in 1966 hitting the top of the charts.
Coin Check. Each Special Forces Soldier has his coin. It is
usually sold by someone within the group headquarters. Some are
serial numbered. There are some very unique rules and history
about SF coins. For instance if you are in a bar and someone
conducts a coin check and you don't have yours it can get
costly. For a description of the rules and regulations
pertaining to SF coins see "Coin Rules and History" at the link
Mistress. There is an old adage about Special Forces being a
Special Forces Creed, USASOC
Special Forces Crest. The SF crest insignia was adopted in
1960. Its design reflects both the lineage and mission of
Special Forces. It was approved as the Special Forces regimental
designator in 1984.
Special Forces Shoulder Sleeve Insignia. The gold and teal SF
shoulder patch, originally approved in 1955, is authorized for
wear by personnel of the U.S. Army Special Forces Command and
subordinate units. The teal blue arrowhead alludes to the
American Indian's basic skills in which Special Forces personnel
are trained to a high degree. The dagger represents the
unconventional warfare nature of Special Forces operations. The
three lightning flashes reflects their ability to strike rapidly
by air, land, or water.
Special Forces Tab. The Chief of Staff, U.S. Army approved
the wear of the Special Forces tab in June 1983 to those
personnel who successfully graduated from the Special Forces
Qualification Course (SFQC). The SF tab is sometimes referred to
as "the long tab".
Special Forces Motto. "De Oppresso Liber"
translates into "From oppression we will liberate them."
Trogan Horse Crest. This crest was worn by
members of the 10th SFGA on their berets during the 1950s. On
December 10, 1982, the 1st Special Operations Command (Airborne)
adopted the Trojan Horse part of this crest as its official
Special Forces Prayer. The history and
origin of the Special Forces prayer by Special Forces Search
President John F. Kennedy. President Kennedy had a special
relationship with the U.S. Army Special Forces. Kennedy was an
astute student of unconventional warfare, political warfare, and
communist insurgencies. He advocated for a strong unconventional
warfare and counterinsurgency capability within the U.S.
military - and especially with the Army's Special Forces.
SF Underground. Rumors abound about 'secret
societies' within the Special Forces community - especially
among the retired Soldiers. Read one story in
"Inside 'The Special Forces Underground'", The Fifth
Column, April 23, 2015.
Websites about Special Forces Heraldry
Special Forces Heraldry - Special Forces Search Engine
Special Operations Forces (SOF) News
1. For more on President Kennedy and the Green Berets see
"Green Berets" on the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and