Friday, November 18, 2011

Green Berets Celebrate 50th Anniversary

Today the U.S. Navy SEALs have captured the imagination and admiration of the American public, as well as the rest of the world.

But as a teenager in the 1960s, I recall when the U.S. Army's Special Forces, known as the Green Berets, were the better known and admired military unit.

This was due in part to author Robin Moore's blockbuster 1964 book The Green Berets. Robin Moore trained with the Green Berets and spent six months with them in South Vietnam. Moore called his book a novel for security reasons, but he claimed the book was based on true events and people.

In 1968 John Wayne made a film from Moore's book. His film came out at the height of the Vietnam War and the height of the anti-war peace movement. The film was blasted by the critics, but the
public, as well as the real Green Berets, loved the film. They also loved the "Duke."

Fifty years ago President Kennedy pushed the military to form both the Green Berets and the SEALs to deal with communist insurgencies around the world during the Cold War.

He ordered the Army to allow their Special Forces soldiers to wear the famous Green Beret and he also ordered the Navy to expand the role of the Underwater Demolition Team (UDT) frogmen. Recruited from UDT, SEALs went on to operate under the SEa, in the Air and on Land.

CBS News offered a report on the 50th anniversary of the Green Berets. You can read the report and view the video via the below link:

You can also read my two-part piece on Robin Moore and The Green Berets via the below links:

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