De oppresso liber – to free from oppresion

Green Berets
US Army Special Forces official Motto

In the world of special forces when someone mentions latin phrase De oppresso liber it immediately becomes clear that he is referring to the U.S. Army Special Forces or publicly known also as Green Berets. The publicly known is because of their distinctive service headgear which through history has become their sign and also the nom de guerre – an assumed name under which a unit engages in combat.

De oppresso liber is the official motto of the United States Army Special Forces which can be found on the unit’s insignia. Motto itself represents a short sentence or phrase chosen as encapsulating the beliefs or ideals of an individual, family, or institution or in this particular case the beliefs of members of a military unit.

In U.S. Army and United Stats military in overall, the phrase stands for “[to free from oppression]” or “[to liberate the oppressed]” despite its translation isn’t so accurate. In actuality,it means literally “[from a caught man, a free man]”. It comes from the word liber which is an adjective ‘free’ that could be translated ‘a free man’, and ‘de oppresso’ would be more an overwhelmed man.

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