Monday, March 28, 2016

5th Special Forces Group reverts to Vietnam-era beret flash

The Green Berets of the 5th Special Forces Group are now wearing the original 5th Special Forces Group Vietnam era flash on their berets as the 5th Special Forces Group honored its past Wednesday 23 March 2016, when the unit reverted to its Vietnam-era beret flash.

That flash is black with yellow and red stripes - see picture at right. It replaces the black shield the unit has used in more recent years. The yellow and red stripes pay homage to the 1st and 7th Special Forces Groups, which predated the 5th Group in Vietnam. The design also is similar to the flag used by South Vietnam forces.

The ceremony at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, was attended by former members of the 5th Special Forces Group, including Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley. The group was based at Fort Bragg for much of its history, moving to Kentucky in 1988.

Col. Kevin C. Leahy, commander of the 5th Special Forces Group, said returning to the historical flash honors those who were lost or served in Vietnam and recognizes the nation's first mass deployment of Special Forces troops. "Today we lose nothing but gain a little bit of our own history," he said.

The beret flash is a symbol of the unit, worn over the left eye. Vietnam veterans delivered the new, old flash to current Special Forces soldiers, then stood in formation with them as they donned their berets. Milley, who tossed off his own camouflage cap for a Green Beret, called it an "incredible day" and said he was proud of the group that has always been "populated by heroes."

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