Posted 2 years ago
Today our good man bellin68 prompted me to post an item, so I proudly post my elder brother's U.S. Army Special Forces pin. My brother was awarded the Special Forces pin in 1970's. Scottvez most generously provided me with information this afternoon, and I couldn't have finished this by tonight without him! His succinct response enabled me to harvest a summary from a good bit of material quickly. Thank you kindly, sir. I found a good article on the unit in Wikipedia, and my description is taken largely from that article and its linked articles. Please note that my brother did not serve in Vietnam. He does not talk about his service, but I know that it wasn't in Vietnam. He has the greatest respect for those brave men and women who served in Vietnam. (Thank you.)
The following description is taken from the "U.S. Army Special Forces" entry in Wikipedia.
"The United States Army Special Forces, also known as the Green Berets because of their distinctive service headgear, are a special operations force tasked with five primary missions: unconventional warfare (the original and most important mission of Special Forces), foreign internal defense, special reconnaissance, direct action, and counter-terrorism. The first two emphasize language, cultural, and training skills in working with foreign troops. Other duties include hostage rescue, combat search and rescue (CSAR), security assistance, peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance, humanitarian demining, counter-proliferation, psychological operations, manhunts, and counter-drug operations; other components of the United States Special Operations Command or other U.S. government activities may also specialize in these secondary areas. Many of their operational techniques are classified, but some nonfiction works and doctrinal manuals are available.
Currently, Special Forces units are deployed in Operation Enduring Freedom. As a special operations unit, Special Forces are not necessarily under the command authority of the ground commanders in those countries. Instead, while in theater, SF soldiers may report directly to United States Central Command, USSOCOM, or other command authorities....."
The branch insignia is "Crossed Arrows". The Regimental Crest/Distinctive Unit Insignia (DUI), described below, appears on a pin. When this pin is awarded to qualifying Special Forces soldiers, the pins on the back are actually pushed into the chest skin/wall of the recipients - or at least they were in my brother's time.
A description of the Insignia from this Wiki article follows below.
"On a wreath of the colors (Argent and Sable), two arrows saltire-wise Argent - that is, two silver arrows crossed with a dagger, also silver, above them, surrounded by a black ribbon.
The crest is the crossed arrow collar (branch) insignia of the First Special Service Force (a joint World War II American-Canadian commando unit organized in 1942), but was changed from gold to silver to create visual harmony with the shield, as well as to make a difference from the collar insignia.
A silver color metal and enamel device 11?8 inches (2.9 cm), in height consisting of a pair of silver arrows in saltire, points up and surmounted at their junction by a silver dagger with black handle point up; all over and between a black motto scroll arcing to base and inscribed "DE OPPRESSO LIBER" in silver letters.
The motto is thought to translate from Latin to 'Free From Oppression'. However, the actual words are grammatically inaccurate....[For more on the motto, see Wiki "De oppresso liber", cited below.]
The distinctive unit insignia was approved on 8 July 1960. The insignia of the 1st Special Forces was authorized to be worn by personnel of the U.S. Army Special Forces Command (Airborne) and its subordinate units on 7 March 1991.....”
"Special Forces (United States Army)", unsigned Wikipedia article, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Berets, accessed 8.8.12.
1. ^ Stanton, Doug (24 June 2009). "The Quiet Professionals: The Untold Story of U.S. Special Forces in Afghanistan". Huffington Post.
2. ^ "Most Popular E-mail Newsletter". USA Today. 9 November 2011.
3.^ Joint Chiefs of Staff (17 December 2003). "Joint Publication 3-05: Doctrine for Joint Special Operations" (PDF). Retrieved 27 April 2008.
4.^ Waller, Douglas C. (1994). The Commandos: The Inside Story of America’s Secret Soldiers. Dell Publishing.
5.^ (PDF) FM 3-05: Army Special Operations Forces. U.S. Department of the Army. September 2006.
6.^ "FM 3-05.102 Army Special Forces Intelligence" (PDF). 2001-07.
7.^ Joint Chiefs of Staff (1993). "Joint Publication 3-05.5: Special Operations Targeting and Mission Planning Procedures" (PDF). Retrieved 13 November 2007.
A rewarding discussion of the Green Beret motto can be found in the Wiki article, "De oppresso liber", http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_oppresso_liber, unsigned article, accessed 8.8.12. The following two paragraphs are from that article.
...It is US Army tradition that the phrase is Latin for "[to free from oppression]" or "[to liberate the oppressed]".
‘Liber’ means not "to free" but simply the adjective "free", which, in the masculine singular form here used, may be interpreted as a noun, meaning "a free man"; while "oppressus" is not "oppression" but "overwhelmed, overthrown, overpowered, crushed." "De oppresso" is in the ablative perfective passive participle meaning "having been surprised, oppressed, or put down", which offers the translation: (one/'royal' we) Free from having been oppressed. As it stands, the phrase might be translated "Out of the overthrown man, (comes/is made) the free man." (The structure resembles that of the motto "E pluribus unum": "Out of many, one.") Other translations, just as viable: "From a man caught, a man free," and "From the man seized, a man free.". A close, more properly worded motto for the common translation would therefore be: De Oppressione Liberare ....
2. ^ http://www.archives.nd.edu/cgi-bin/words.exe