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Home > UNS > 130225-04



USASOC changes distinctive unit insignia

By Sgt. Gregory A. Boster

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (USASOC News Service, Feb. 25, 2013)  – Since 2001, United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) soldiers have been the nation’s most called upon military assets combating enemies who threat our nation as well as others around the globe.

In an effort to signify their commitment in combating the global war on terror, USASOC introduced a revised Distinctive Unit Insignia worn by the soldiers of USASOC headquarters.

The change began more than two years ago when, Lt. Gen. John Mulholland Jr., then commanding general of USASOC, expressed dissatisfaction with the former insignia, not because he didn’t like it personally, but it just didn’t accurately represent USASOC.

“The old one had this outlay of gold wings or some people thought they were flames.  The problem with the wings is that it looked like (the insignia of) an aviation unit and while we do have an aviation component, they are not primary,” said Dan Telles, USASOC Art Director.

The new insignia kept the red arrow head, because it was derived from First Special Service Force (FSSF) from WWII.  Their legacy laid the ground work for the planning operations and equipment that we use today. 
The FSSF members received rigorous and intensive training in stealth tactics; hand-to-hand combat; the use of explosives for demolition; parachuting; amphibious warfare; rock-climbing; mountain warfare, and as ski troops; training much like Special Operations forces get today.

Remaining in the middle of the arrow head is the Fairbairn Sykes, a double-edged fighting knife that was designed for surprise attacks and fighting with a slender blade that can easily pierce and a vase handle that grants precise grip.  It was used by British commandos during WWII and adopted by the Rangers and the operatives of The Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency and America’s first Strategic Service. 

The major change to the insignia is in the background, with the subtraction of the gold wings and the addition of the globe.  The globe represents a couple things; Army Special Operation Forces focus on ground combat and that USASOC has soldiers operating all over the world in more than 70 countries at any given time.

“If you actually look, the arrowhead sits over the Middle East with Africa and Europe to the left and Asia to the right,” Telles said.  “That was chosen because we looked at where the majority of our forces go and there was no way of getting the entire earth on there because obviously we are all over the place…It seemed like the best way to get the majority of our operational forces represented at one time on one globe.”

The old insignia didn’t reflect what USASOC was doing or capable of, but the new one represents who and what USASOC is; Special Operations Forces ready to go anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice and do what it takes to get the job done.