U.S. ARMY SPECIAL FORCES CAP / SLEEVE BRAIDS

Ornamental Braids in the Special Forces branch color of Green with gold borders are prescribed for wear on the sleeves of the Army Service Uniform, the Blue Mess Dress. The braid is also used for the hatband of the service cap worn by Field- and Company-Grade Special Forces officers.
 

Given the history of the Special Forces branch of the U.S. Army, you might think it would be a veritable springboard for Hollywood war and action movies. In point of fact, however, there simply aren’t very many movies that focus solely on United States Army Special Forces, or Green Berets, particularly when compared to other U.S. military Special Operations branches such as the Navy SEALS.

One reason for the paucity of Special Forces flicks might be that Hollywood directors are likely aware the Special Forces personnel who see the movie will be relentless in their attention to details—not surprising, since they have lived it and certainly know wherefrom they speak. And while the following four certainly don't get every little detail right, they are definitely worth a watch if you're interested in the history of Army Special Forces operations.

Never So Few (1959): Helmed by The Great Escape director John Sturges, Never So Few was based upon a 1957 novel of the same name authored by Tom Chamales, who earned both a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart while serving in Merrill’s Marauders and OSS Detachment 101. Today it is mainly remembered as the vehicle that kick-started Steve McQueen’s big-screen career, but it’s also recognized by many Special Forces veterans who appreciate the attention it shines on the little-known work of Detachment 101.

Merrill’s Marauders (1962): Despite being given a low budget with which to work, Samuel Fuller succeeded in the evoking the realities endured by the 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), AKA Merrill’s Marauders. The film climaxes with the capture of the Japanese base at Myitkyina; in real life, the unit was disbanded a week later, with just 130 officers and soldiers fit for combat out of nearly 3,000 that had originally formed the unit.

The Green Berets (1968): John Wayne directed and starred in this movie that was released near the peak of the anti-war movement, and both the Army and Department of Defense cooperated in its production. While the movie was mercilessly slagged by nearly every film critic and even some members of the military for its unabashed pro-intervention viewpoint of the Vietnam War, the movie performed well in theaters, recouping its production costs in just three months. Worth a watch if you’ve never seen it, if only to see what types of scenes the Special Forces were willing to sign off on back in the mid01960s.

Go Tell the Spartans (1978): Set in 1964 when the U.S. presence in Vietnam was limited to military advisors—many of them Special Forces—this movie was based on a novel that was in turn “inspired” by a real-life incident that was actually fairly mundane: a Special Forces unit discovered the village it had been sent to evacuate was already empty. Author Daniel Ford, who had accompanied the unit on its fruitless mission, simply let his mind wander as to what might have happened had the unit been sent to make the village a garrison rather than to evacuate, with the results being sort of a microcosm of the entire U.S. effort in Vietnam.
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