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12 Famous U.S. Green Berets

Updated June 14, 2019 79.8k views12 items

This list includes information about famous Green Berets, loosely ranked by fame and popularity. So named because of their distinctive hats, Green Berets are members of the U.S. Armed Forces Special Forces Division. They're some of the most elite soldiers on the planet. In order to qualify as a member of the Special Forces, one must be able to complete intense physical training and possess an unusual degree of intelligence.

The soldiers on this list all distinguished themselves extraordinarily. Who is the most famous Green Beret? Barry Sadler tops our list. Sadler served as a Green Beret combat medic in the Vietnam War. He later wrote the hit song "The Ballad of the Green Berets." Aaron Bank, one of the founders of the Green Berets, led operations during World War II.

Drew Dennis Dix was the first Special Forces soldier to receive the Medal of Honor, the military's highest award. Green Beret Bryan Sikes gained attention for writing an open letter to Michael Moore, criticizing the filmmaker for calling sniper Chris Kyle a coward. In Vietnam, combat medic Gary B. Beikirch famously treated his fellow soldiers despite suffering serious injuries himself.

Do you think you have what it takes to become a Green Beret? Whether you do or not, you can explore these famous examples of military excellence below. Share your thoughts in the comments section.

  • George K. Sisler

    Photo: Photographer Unknown / Public Domain
    George K. Sisler 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 air strikes, and charged into enemy fire, all while coordinating and rallying his platoon.
    • Age: Dec. at 29 (1937-1967)
    • Birthplace: Dexter, Missouri
  • John J. Kedenburg

    Photo: flickr / CC0
    Facing an onslaught from a much larger force, John J. Kedenburg gave up the final spot on a helicopter to South Vietnamese soldier and remained on the ground to fight encroaching North Vietnamese troops, killing six before he was overcome. He was posthumously given the Medal of Honor for his self-sacrifice.
    • Age: Dec. at 21 (1946-1968)
    • Birthplace: New York City, New York
  • Photo: Metaweb / CC-BY
    Drew Dennis Dix was the first enlisted Special Forces soldier to receive the Medal of Honor. During the Tet Offensive, Dix led local fighters against Vietcong forces, saving civilians and engaging in intense combat for two days. He was awarded the military's highest honor for his efforts.
    • Age: 76
    • Birthplace: West Point, New York
  • Russell W. Volckmann

    Russell W. Volckmann is considered a co-founder of the Green Berets. He served in the Army during World War II, escaping captivity and fighting numerous battles in the Philippines. After the war, he wrote the Army's first counterinsurgency manual and coordinated guerrilla missions in the Korean War.
    • Age: Dec. at 70 (1911-1982)