Special Forces Major Herbert Brucker was behind the beginning of the green beret designation in the year 1953. Brucker began the designation which would later be realized by First Lieutenant Roger Pezelle who adopted it for his highly operative A-Team called the Operational Detachment FA-32. Rapidly, this little green beret would be seen on the members of the special forces units whenever these soldiers went out into the field. However, the US Army was not keen on making the green beret an authorized entity at that time.
Fort Bragg and President Kennedy changed all of that when in 1961; The President of the United States encouraged the General at the time, General Yarborough to inform all of the special forces to wear their green berets to the event. At the event, President Kennedy delivered a speech whereby he made the green beret a “mark of distinction in the trying times ahead.” The Green Berets became a very real distinction of excellence among special forces at that very moment.
Every November 22nd, the date of the assassination of Kennedy, several of the green berets travel to his graveside and pay tribute to the man, the President that enabled this group of very special forces to earn the green beret distinction. The men honor President Kennedy by placing a wreath and a green beret on his tomb. If Kennedy were alive today, they would still honor him for making such a profound difference in the way the special forces are perceived by people all around the world.
Green Berets today are considered to be in a very elite group of special soldiers. They are highly skilled and trained in areas some soldiers would never be interested in pursuing. They are the “cut above” the rest in a group of like young soldiers who can endure the toughest of conditions and succeed. These soldiers are self-reliant in the most difficult of situations and they are highly regarded in the field.
President Kennedy enabled this group of soldiers the ability to stand out in a crowd of soldiers. And while doing so, the irony was ever-present. Kennedy allowed a group of young men to excel in doing what they were born to do which was lead in combat. And of course, President Kennedy was born to lead the United States. The history of the green berets holds a lot of irony in their historic beginning.