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U.S. Army Special Forces
"The Green Berets"

Special Forces Insignia

The Special Forces Crest

Emblazoned on the distinctive black and silver crest worn by Special Forces soldiers is the Special Forces motto: De Oppresso Liber, a Latin phrase that means To Liberate the Oppressed.

Two crossed arrows symbolize the Special Forces' role in unconventional warfare and the expert field craft of the Native American brave. 

De Oppresso Liber

A commando's fighting knife is attached over the arrows, which reflect the qualities of a Special Forces soldier - straight and true, and pays homage to their W.W.II Commando lineage.

Special Forces Shoulder Sleeve Insignia (SSI) or Shoulder Patch with Special Forces Qualification Tab

SF shoulder patch

The gold and teal Special Forces patch is worn by members of Special Forces units around the world. The arrowhead shape represents the craft and stealth of the Native American brave, America's first warriors. An upturned dagger represents the unconventional warfare missions of Special Forces.

Three lightning bolts represent blinding speed and strength, and the three methods of infiltration - land, sea and air. The gold represents constancy and inspiration, and the background of teal blue represents the Special Forces' encompassing of all military specialties and branch assignments.

The Special Forces Branch Insignia

The Special Forces officer branch inherited its insignia - two crossed arrows - from the Indian scouts, several of whom earned Medals of Honor while serving U.S. forces in almost every major campaign. Crossed arrows were a symbol of peace to the U.S. Scouts, which were deactivated in 1939. SF Branch Insignia

However, the crossed arrows served the 1st Special Service Force through World War II, and some Special Forces officers at Fort Bragg began wearing them unofficially on their collars in the Sixties. In April 1987 a separate branch of the Army was created for Special Forces and the crossed arrows were formally adopted as their official branch insignia.

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This page is an unofficial document and does not represent information endorsed by the United States Government, the United States Special Operations Command or the United States Army Special Operations Command. However, most information is derived from those sources and has been checked for accuracy. For comments, questions, and suggestions, please go to the Communications Center.

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