U.S. Army Special Forces: The most famous Green Berets through history

Green berets conduct training at shooting range
U.S. Army Special Forces (Green Berets) operator conduct training at shooting range (Photo: XY)

The list of most famous Green Berets through modern history who served and fought to defend American interests is featured in our Green Berets Hall of Fame. Throughout modern American history, the U.S. Army Special Forces were synonymous with patriotism and heroic actions wherever American interests were at stake.

The most famous Green Berets is loosely ranked by fame and popularity. The soldiers serving in the U.S. Army Special Forces are named Green Berets because of their distinctive hats. As part of the U.S. Armed Forces Special Forces Division, they’re considered one of the most elite soldiers on the planet.

To qualify as a member of the Special Forces, one must complete intense physical training and possess an unusual degree of intelligence.

Drew Dix

Drew Dennis Dix is a decorated United States military veteran and retired major in the United States Army. He was the first enlisted U.S. Army Special Forces soldier to receive the highest award, Medal of Honor. Dix led local Vietnamese soldiers against Vietcong forces during the Tet Offensive, saving civilians and engaging in intense combat for two days.

His actions resulted in dozens of Viet Cong soldiers being killed in action and, the capture of more than 20 prisoners, and the rescue of the 14 United States and free world civilians. He was awarded the military’s highest honor for his efforts and granted his place at the most famous Green Berets in history.

Green Beret Drew Dennis Dix
Drew Dennis Dix is a decorated United States military veteran and retired major in the United States Army (Photo: U.S. Army)

John Kedenburg

John J. Kedenburg served as a Specialist Five in the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces. He was posthumously given the Medal of Honor for his self-sacrifice on June 14, 1968, in the Republic of Vietnam/Laos.

Facing an onslaught from a much larger force, John Kedenburg voluntarily gave up the final spot on a helicopter to South Vietnamese soldiers. He ordered a full helicopter to leave and remained on the ground to fight approaching North Vietnamese troops, killing six until being overrun.

John Kedenburg was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his self-sacrifice and bravery beyond the line of duty.
A road at Fort Bragg, NC, is named in his honor.

John J. Kedenburg Green Beret
John J. Kedenburg was serving as a Specialist Five in the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces (Photo: U.S. Army)

George Sisler

George K. Sisler served as a United States Army intelligence officer. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his valiant efforts during a pivotal attack in the Vietnam War. Surrounded and outnumbered, Sisler carried wounded men, called in airstrikes, and charged into enemy fire, all while coordinating and rallying his platoon. He was mortally wounded when single-handedly attacked an enemy position.

George Sisler served as a United States Army intelligence officer. He was also famous for his toughness, once parachuting while having a broken bone. The ASU ROTC department’s Ranger Challenge team is named Sisler’s Raiders in his honor.

Green Beret George K. Sisler
George Sisler served as a United States Army intelligence officer (Photo: U.S. Army)

Robert Miller

Robert James Miller served in Company A, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group(Airborne). He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the war in Afghanistan. His unit was conducting combat operations near the village of Barikowt, Nari District, Kunar Province, Afghanistan, when they came under heavy fire.

Robert Miller willingly remained vulnerable, covering his wounded commander as he was evacuated, saving the commander’s life even as he was hit with small arms fire. His unit was conducting combat operations near the village of Barikowt, Nari District, Kunar Province, Afghanistan.

Green Beret James Miller
Robert Miller served in Company A, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group(Airborne) (Photo: U.S. Army)

Aaron Bank

Colonel Aaron Bank was one of the founders of the U.S. Army Special Forces (Green Berets). Originally, the first Special Forces Group was the 10th. Aaron Banks did that to fool the Soviets into thinking there must be at least 10 of these Groups of these sons-a-bitches if this one is the 10th.

As a member of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), Bank led special operations during World War II, parachuting into France and coordinating with the French Resistance. His action at that time also involved plans for organizing an operation intended to capture Adolf Hitler. As one of the founders, he earned his right to become recognized as the most famous Green Berets in history.

Aaron Bank Green Beret
Colonel Aaron Bank was one of the founders of the U.S. Army Special Forces (Green Berets) (Photo: U.S. Army)

Roy Benavidez

Master Sergeant Raul Perez “Roy” Benavidez was a member of the United States Army Special Forces (Studies and Observations Group) who received the Medal of Honor for his valorous actions in combat near Lộc Ninh, South Vietnam on May 2, 1968. Benavidez is one of the most famous Green Berets who turned into one adamant, tenaciously persistent man, shredded in the body by war, beloved by all those who fought and served beside him.

After stepping on a landmine and being told he would never walk again, Roy Benavidez retrained himself and returned to Vietnam. He won the Medal of Honor for saving the lives of at least eight men in a battle near Loc Ninh, South Vietnam, that saw him receiving 37 separate wounds from bullets, bayonets, and shrapnel.

“A lot of people call me a hero. I appreciate the title but the real heroes are the ones that gave their life for this country.”Roy Benavidez

Enough to be evacuated to the base camp, examined, and thought to be dead. As he was placed in a body bag among the other dead in body bags, he was suddenly recognized by a friend who called for help. A doctor came and examined him but believed Roy Benavidez was dead. The doctor was about to zip up the body bag when Benavidez managed to spit in his face, alerting the doctor that he was alive.

Roy Benavidez Green Beret
Master Sergeant Roy Benavidez was a member of the United States Army Special Forces (Studies and Observations Group) (Photo: U.S. Army)

Barry Allen Sadler

Barry Allen Sadler was an American military veteran, author, actor, and singer-songwriter. He served as a Green Beret combat medic with the rank of Staff Sergeant of the United States Army during the Vietnam War. Barry Sadler later wrote the hit song, “The Ballad of the Green Berets,” which spent five weeks atop the Hot 100 chart in 1966. That was enough to put him on the list of the most famous Green Berets in history.

Green Beret Barry Allen Sadler was one of the most famous Green Berets
Barry Allen Sadler was an American military veteran, author, actor, and singer-songwriter (Photo: U.S. Army)
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