U.S. ARMY 5TH SPECIAL FORCES GROUP (AIRBORNE) FLASH AND OVAL

On 23 March 2016, the Army authorized this organizational flash and background trimming for personnel serving in the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), reviving a design that originated among 5th SFG Soldiers serving in Vietnam beginning in 1964. The Vietnam-era 5th SFG personnel had modified the unit’s flash—solid black with a white border—with the addition of the diagonal yellow band superimposed with three narrow, parallel red stripes—a design that bore an unmistakable resemblance to the national flag of the Republic of South Vietnam.

By 1970, the upstart flash was adopted for the entire Group, a move that was officially explained as a way to honor the 1st and 7th Special Forces Groups deployment to Vietnam before the 5th had arrived (the 1st’s flash is black and yellow, the 7th’s is solid red). In 1985, the Army reversed the decision and reverted the unit flash back to black with white piping, based in no small part on the strong resemblance the yellow-and-red element bore to the South Vietnamese flag.

The switch was officially celebrated at a ceremony held at Gabriel Field in Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
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