US Army Special Forces (SF): De Oppresso Liber

Green Berets: De Oppresso Liber — To Liberate the Oppressed 9
U.S. Army Special Forces (Green Berets) (Photo: U.S. Army)

De Oppresso Liber, a Latin phrase that could be translated as, to liberate the oppressed. That’s the motto of the quiet professionals, the U.S. Army Special Forces (SF). Their operators are known simply as Green Berets and they are one the most elite fighting organizations in the world. Their primary role is unconventional warfare — in the real world, they are able to take small Special Forces (SF) teams to train and lead friendly guerrilla forces. As already mentioned, their motto is De Oppresso Liber.

Special Forces soldiers are known as operators and they work together in a 12-man “A-Team,” with each operator holding a specific job: The ranking officer is the team leader, the weapons sergeant knows just about every piece of a weapon in the world, the communications sergeant tees up ordnance or extract, and the combat medics can take lives as quickly as saving them in all possible conditions and terrains.

It may seem crazy to send only 12 operators into hostile territory, but it’s not insane when they are Green Berets. The US Army Special Forces or simply Green Berets are known for their exceptional skill and professionalism in modern war.

In the United States Army Special Forces, De Oppresso Liber is traditionally believed to mean “to free from oppression” or “to liberate the oppressed” in abbreviation in English.

Alongside the CIA, they were the first Americans on the ground in Afghanistan as the first strike back in the Global War on Terror, only one month after 9/11. There they linked up with the Northern Alliance and brought Hamid Karzai into Kabul, preparing it for the things to come.

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

Riding on horses in the beginning of the forthcoming war, or on ATV’s, they were both feared and respected in the foreign country. But Special Forces doesn’t take just anybody. The Army selects this elite few from among the best soldiers that come to Special Forces Assessment and Selection (SFAS).

Training and selection

The training in U.S. Army Special Forces is physically exhausting and requires exceptional endurance, dedication and mental skill. It’s only 24 days at SFAS before future Green Beret move on to another year of training. That year includes language training (every Special Forces operator learns a second language), specialty skills — such as weapons or radios — and finally Robin Sage, the culminating training exercise after they will become regular members of US Army Special Forces – Green Berets.

But it’s only the beginning of their Special Forces career as they don the Green Beret for the first time and earn the ‘Long Tab’ of the Special Forces. They’ll move on to a Special Forces Group and start training within their ODAs (a 12-man team). That might mean High Altitude Low Opening (HALO) training, what stands for jumping out of an airplane, with an oxygen mask, since they’ll be up above 30,000 feet or engaging in Close Quarters Battle (CQB) which is in fact breaching and clearing rooms. The object being — get through the doorway as quickly as possible and overwhelm a hostile force with blistering small arms fire. All in a matter of seconds, of course.

U.S. Army Special Forces Green Beret firing from M4 in Afghanistan
U.S. Army Special Forces operator firing his gun (Photo: Pinterest/Green Berets)


It’s not only Navy SEALs in the water. Green Berets has its own Dive school. And if their SF group needs winter training, they’ll get that too. Ultimately, all this cruel training gets them ready for most complex situations they could expect as the masters of unconventional warfare. That may include direct action — kicking in doors and going after the bad guys or helping foreign governments with their own defense and training their military to help them fight. One thing is certain when it comes to Green Berets, they have their pick of the best small arms and really, really big arms, with all other equipment.

Their operators are some of the most highly-skilled shooters in the military that are both extremely accurate and fast shooters — and can remain so when fired upon. They keep calm and return fire, all the time. Green Berets have some of the coolest toys at disposal, from Humvees to helmets. Their support includes probably the finest helicopter pilots in the world and in Special Forces, even the dogs are elite.

De Oppresso Liber

For years, they were waging wars in the Middle East. As wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down the US Army Special Forces will continue to train for the next fight, next war, next country and will likely be the first ones called into battle to live up to their motto: De Oppresso Liber — To Liberate the Oppressed, or even die for it.

U.S. Army Special Forces (Green Berets)
Active:  June 19, 1952 – present
Country:  United States of America
Branch:  US Army
Type:  Special operations force
Role:  Primary tasks:
  • Unconventional warfare
  • Foreign internal defense
  • Special reconnaissance
  • Direct action
  • Counter-terrorism

Other roles:

  • Counter-proliferation
  • Hostage rescue
  • Humanitarian missions
Part of:
  • United States Special Operations Command
  • United States Army Special Operations Command
Garrison/HQ: Fort Bragg, North Carolina
Nickname: Green Berets, Bearded Bastards, Quiet Professionals, Soldier-Diplomats, Snake Eaters,
Motto: De Oppresso Liber
Engagements: Cold War
Vietnam War
El Salvador
Operation Urgent Fury
Operation Just Cause
Persian Gulf War
Somalian War
Operation Uphold Democracy
Operation Enduring Freedom
Iraq War
Afghanistan War
War in North-West Pakistan
War on ISIL

It’s certain that if needed, Green Berets will have first boots on the ground, anywhere, anytime.

1 comment
  1. As the widow of a Viet Nam Vet (he was not K-I-A) I would appreciate knowing a little more about this group the Green Berets. I have heard Barry Sadler’s song several times and I have just read all of the names that were printed on the previous page of Green Berets. Apparently, from my understanding one has to be an “excellent Army soldier” to be selected for this prestigious group. In reviewing the names I saw one woman’s name. During the Viet Nam Conflict were there women Berets, and are there presently any in war-torn areas of the world? Thank you

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