"Green Berets" by Sgt. Barry Sadler"

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Army Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler helped write "The Ballad of the Green Berets" while recuperating from a leg wound suffered during his service as a medic in the Vietnam War. He later sang the tune on a record that became the nation's No. 1 hit for five weeks in 1966 and eventually sold 9 million singles and albums.

These are the words to the popular anthem of the Special Forces, "The Ballad of the Green Berets."

Fighting soldiers from the sky, Fearless men who jump and die, Men who mean just what they say The brave men of the Green Beret. Silver wings upon their chests, These are men, America's best, One hundred men we'll test today, But only three win the Green Beret. Trained to live off nature's land, Trained in combat, hand to hand, Men who fight by night and day, Courage take from the Green Beret. Silver wings upon their chests, These are men, America's best, Men who mean just what they say, The brave men of the Green Beret. Back at home a young wife waits, Her Green Beret has met his fate, He has died for those oppressed, Leaving her this last request: Put silver wings on my son's chest, Make him one of America's best, He'll be a man they'll test one day, Have him win the Green Beret.


The Origin of Special Forces

Special operations are nothing new to the American soldier. Before Green Berets were teaching counterinsurgency to foreign armies, there were grim-faced men stalking the enemy in woods and swamps during the French and Indian War. Known as Rogers' Rangers after their commander Major Robert Rogers, they were the first of America's unconventional forces. Though the era they lived in was simpler than the present age, the skills necessary to become anelite soldier were the same. Rogers' Rangers fought in terrain that normal men shunned. They crept up on an enemy with the stealth of a slithering snake, and delivered blows with the lethality of a Cobra bite. "Move fast and hit hard," Rogers told his men, and they obeyed, thereby setting the standard for generations to follow. The tradition continued during the American Revolution with Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox who led daring guerrilla raids on British forces in South Carolina and Georgia. His troops harassed the enemy with a success out of all proportion to their small numbers because Marion used the element of surprise to its greatest potential. In the Civil War, Colonel John Singleton Mosby of Virginia formed a band of Confederate raiders that became the terror of Union generals. Operating from the outskirts of his enemy's capital, Mosby and 300 select volunteers cut off communications and supplies, wrecked railroads and raided headquarters behind enemy lines. Because of his stealth and uncanny ability to avoid capture, Mosby came to be known as the Gray Ghost. Well-trained and well-disciplined, Mosby and his men set a model for guerrilla warfare: weaken the enemy's front line, weaken the enemy's infrastructure and win the support of the people. Mosby accomplished the latter by protecting the local population from plundering Union soldiers and by sharing their captured wealth with those in need. However, it was not until World War II that special operations troops finally left their unstoried peripheries and came into their own. In quick succession the public soon would come to know the names of such units as the Devil's Brigade, Darby's Rangers, Merrill's Marauders and the Alamo Scouts.

Click here for a history of the Special Forces (The Green Berets).

The Special Forces Creed

I am an American Special Forces soldier. A professional! I will do all that my nation requires of me. I am a volunteer, knowing well the hazards of my profession. I serve with the memory of those who have gone before me: Roger's Rangers, Francis Marion, Mosby's Rangers, the first Special Service Forces and Ranger Battalions of World War II, The Airborne Ranger Companies of Korea. I pledge to uphold the honor and integrity of all I am - in all I do. I am a professional soldier. I will teach and fight wherever my nation requires. I will strive always, to excel in every art and artifice of war. I know that I will be called upon to perform tasks in isolation, far from familiar faces and voices, with the help and guidance of my God. I will keep my mind and body clean, alert and strong, for this is my debt to those who depend upon me. I will not fail those with whom I serve. I will not bring shame upon myself or the forces. I will maintain myself, my arms, and my equipment in an immaculate state as befits a Special Forces soldier. I will never surrender though I be the last. If I am taken, I pray that I may have the strength to spit upon my enemy. My goal is to succeed in any mission - and live to succeed again. I am a member of my nation's chosen soldiery. God grant that I may not be found wanting, that I will not fail this sacred trust.

The Special Forces Prayer

Almighty God Who art the Author of Liberty and the Champion of the oppressed hear our prayer. We the men of Special Forces, acknowledge our dependence upon Thee in the preservation of human freedom. Go with us as we seek to defend the defenseless and to free the enslaved. May we ever remember that our nation, whose oath "in God We Trust," expects that we shall requit ourselves with honor, that we may never bring shame upon our faith, our families, or our fellow men. Grant us wisdom from Thy mind, courage from Thine heart, and protection by Thine hand. It is for Thee that we do battle, and to thee belongs the victor's crown. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power and glory forever,

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