The 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne) crest insignia was first adopted by U.S. Army Special Forces units in 1960 and became the Special Forces Regimental Distinctive Insignia (RDI) in 1984, but the origins of the insignia’s design date back to the late 19th Century.

On  28 July 1866, the U.S. Congress authorized the Army to establish a Corps of Indian Scouts, comprised of what today would be called contractors—independent employees hired by the Army. For a quarter-century, these Scouts wore whatever uniforms they could scrounge, but in 1890 a commander of an Indian Scouts troop in Montana proposed the creation of a unique Indian Scouts uniform to the Secretary of War, including a hat insignia consisting of two crossed silver arrows. This continued to be the insignia for Indian Scouts even after their designation was changed to Detached Enlisted Men’s List (essentially a general labor force) in 1921.

But while the last Apache Scout detachment was disbanded in 1947, the crossed arrows lived on in the form of the insignia created for the First Special Services Force, which was formed in 1942 and comprised both U.S. and Canadian troops. The new unit was intended to be a new arm with its own Table of Organization and Equipment, and the War Department authorized a “new” special branch insignia for it October 1942: the crossed silver swords of the Scouting Service.

To these were added the V-42 dagger, a stiletto and fighting knife issued to members of the First Special Services Forces, and a scroll with the unit motto of “DE OPPRESSO LIBER.” Although this Latin phrase is traditionally translated as “To Free the Oppressed,” several commenters have pointed out that it is more precisely interpreted as “Out of the overthrown man, comes/is made the free man.”

About us

As a certified manufacturer of uniforms and insignia, The Salute Uniforms considers it a privilege to provide the members of our nation’s military services with superior-quality apparel and accoutrements. We guarantee that every product we offer is made in the USA and meets or surpasses Mil-Spec standards. Browse our online catalog and discover how our tradition of excellence and commitment to innovation makes us your best source for military uniforms, insignias, medals, and accessories.


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Salute Industries Inc, proud maker of The Salute Uniforms.
105 Apache Drive, Archdale, NC, 27263.