12 Famous U.S. Green Berets

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.

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  • Barry Sadler
    Photo: flickr / CC0
    Barry Sadler served as a Green Beret combat medic in the Vietnam War. He later wrote the hit song, "The Ballad of the Green Berets," which spent five weeks atop the Hot 100 chart in 1966.
    • Age: Dec. at 49 (1940-1989)
    • Birthplace: Carlsbad, New Mexico, United States of America
  • Roy Benavidez
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY
    After stepping on a landmine and being told he would never walk again, Roy Benavidez retrained himself and returned to Vietnam. He won the Medal of Honor for saving the lives of at least eight men in a battle that saw him receiving 37 separate wounds from bullets, bayonets, and shrapnel.
    • Age: Dec. at 63 (1935-1998)
    • Birthplace: Cuero, Texas
  • Aaron Bank

    Aaron Bank
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY
    Aaron Bank was one of the founders of the U.S. Army Special Forces aka the Green Berets. As a member of the Office of Strategic Services, Bank led special operations during World War II, parachuting into France and coordinating with the French Resistance.
    • Age: Dec. at 101 (1902-2004)
    • Birthplace: New York City, New York
  • Robert James Miller
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY
    Robert James Miller was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the war in Afghanistan. When his patrol came under heavy fire in the Kunbar Province, Miller willingly remained in a vulnerable position, covering his wounded commander as he was evacuated, saving the commander's life even as he himself was hit with small arms fire.
    • Age: Dec. at 24 (1983-2008)
    • Birthplace: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
  • George K. Sisler

    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

    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