United States Army Special Forces in popular culture

United States Army Special Forces In Popular Culture

United States Army Special Forces in popular culture

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Members of the U.S. Army Special Forces will emphatically assert that the "Green Beret" is a hat and not the man who wears it. Nevertheless, for a time in the 1960s the Green Berets and the men who wore them became a national fad emerging in a wide variety of popular culture referents. After a decline in popularity during the 1970s — coinciding with the American public's backlash against the Vietnam War — the Green Berets gripped the popular imagination again beginning with the Rambo film franchise in 1982. They continue to appear as both major and minor referents in popular culture — especially in Hollywood movies and television — often serving as a short-hand signifier for a "shady," "covert," or at least highly "operational," military background for a fictional character. As a dramatic device, this can "cut both ways" — i.e., lead an audience to either admire or fear (or both) a character.

Soldiers of the "New Frontier"

Although the U.S. Army Special Forces were created with a low profile in 1952, and the green beret was not officially authorized, things changed dramatically with President John F. Kennedy. He wanted to challenge Communist influence and wars of liberation in the recently decolonized Third World, and bolster pro-American regimes with the U.S. Army's own special forces and counter-guerrilla fighters.

On 12 October 1961, Kennedy visited the U.S. Special Warfare Center, where his aide,......
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