Special Forces Unit Patch

Worn by Special Forces soldiers of the United States Army, and also members of their support companies around the world, the Special Forces unit patch is comprised of a dagger with three lightning bolts crossing the blade, set within an upwards pointing arrowhead. As all Special Forces units are designated Airborne, the unit patch is accompanied by an arch-shaped Airborne tab, regardless of whether or not the soldier has been through Airborne School. For soldiers who have completed Special Forces training, the arrowhead patch and Airborne tab are placed below a longer tab embroidered with the words Special Forces.

On all Class A, or dress uniforms, of soldiers belonging to Special Forces units the patch is teal in color, representing the Special Forces' encompassing of all branch assignments. The dagger and lightning bolts are gold, representing constancy and inspiration. On a woodland camo BDU, or Battle Dress Uniform, the patch is olive drab and the dagger and lightning bolts are black to match the primarily green color of the garment. On a desert camo BDU the tab is light tan and the dagger and lightning bolts are dark brown.

The three combined designs that make up the patch all have historical origins and symbolic meaning, and as is custom with most Army units, Special Forces soldiers are expected to understand what their unit patch signifies.

Arrowhead: The arrowhead makes up the body of the patch and is symbolic of the craft and stealth of the American Indian, from which the basic principles and techniques of unconventional warfare were adopted during the Indian Wars of the 18th and 19th centuries.

Dagger: Set in the center of the patch, the dagger, a silent and deadly weapon, when pointing upwards is symbolic of unconventional warfare, fought up close on the enemy's territory. The blade itself represents the character of a Special Forces soldier, straight and true.

Lightning bolts: The three lightning bolts that strike diagonally across the blade of the dagger, from left to right, symbolize blinding speed, strength and stealth as well as the three methods of infiltration, by land, sea, and air.

As with all units of the Army, the Special Forces unit patch and Airborne tab is worn on the left shoulder of a soldier's uniform and if the soldier has seen combat with a Special Forces unit, the soldier is authorized to wear the patch and Airborne tab on his right shoulder (the Special Forces tab is only worn on the left side).

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