The U.S. Army’s Special Forces, known as Green Berets, are celebrating the 68th anniversary of the founding of the special operations force.
On Friday, the Green Beret Foundation — an organization dedicated to providing support for Green Berets and their families — shared a video with American Military News, celebrating the day.
The video begins with an image of the Green Beret insignia, complete with the Latin motto “De Oppresso Liber,” which translates in English “To Liberate From Oppression.” The video then shows a compilation of the Green Berets in action, training high altitude parachute jumps, breaching buildings, firing weapons and instructing other nation’s forces.
“Today we celebrate the 68th Anniversary of U.S. Army Special Forces!,” the Green Beret Foundation said in an emailed statement. “Since its inception on June 19th, 1952, U.S. Army Special Forces, or the Green Berets, have been the tip of the spear in the special operations community, being heavily relied on the last six decades for its expertise in unconventional warfare.”
The unit began in 1952 at the U.S. Army base Fort Bragg, N.C.
While the Green Berets have been involved in combat operations since the unit’s inception, the Green Beret Foundation noted that over the past 18 years, Special Forces units have been deployed to over 90 countries at any given time. Additionally, more than 60 percent of all casualties sustained within the Special Forces have occurred in the time since Sept. 11, 2001.
An Army history of the Green Berets notes that the first Special Forces unit was formed under the U.S. Army Psychological Warfare Division. That unit, the 10th Special Forces Group was led by Col. Aaron Bank, who was involved in planning several special operations during World War II, including plans to assassinate or capture Adolf Hitler.
The Special Forces Group adopted the iconic green beret in 1954 as a means of distinguishing themselves from other Army units. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy ordered the green berets to be made into an exclusive symbol of the special forces groups as a “symbol of excellence, a badge of courage, a mark of distinction in the fight for freedom.”
A renewed emphasis on special operations in the 1980s led to the establishment of the Army’s Special Forces as a distinct branch of the Army.
The Army lists the mission set of the Green Berets including counterinsurgency operations, unconventional warfare, direct action, foreign internal defense, special reconnaissance and security force assistance,
Counterinsurgency involves disrupting terrorist and insurgent operations abroad and can involve both direct responses to insurgents, as well as training other nations’ military forces to combat insurgencies. Foreign internal defense further involves training nations to defend against insurgencies and other security threats and security force assistance involves developing the defense capabilities of friendly developing nations.
Unconventional warfare further involves the training of foreign fighting forces, and can be used to raise up insurgencies to fight and overthrow governments.
Direct action missions involve short and direct strikes seize, capture, recover or destroy enemy material, or recover personnel.
Special reconnaissance entails performing surveillance in hostile or politically sensitive areas of the world.