The U.S. Army Special Forces Command (Airborne) will hold its commemorative President John F. Kennedy Wreath Laying Ceremony tomorrow morning at the JFK grave site at Arlington National Cemetery.
The event will pay tribute to JFK's vision of building a dedicated counter insurgency force, a vision that helped build the Green Berets into the elite force they have become over the last five decades.
In a message to Lieutenant General William P. Yarborough in October 1961, JFK commended the men of the Special Warfare Center on their efforts to prepare a force of unconventional warriors to combat growing threats to our nation.
“The challenge of this old but new form of operations is a real one and I know that you and the members of your command will carry on for us and the free world in a manner which is both worthy and inspiring,” Kennedy wrote. “I am sure that the Green Beret will be a mark of distinction in the trying times ahead.
“He so brilliantly understood warfare that he recognized the fighting in Southeast Asia required a counter-insurgency force,” said Brig. Gen. Edward Reeder, Jr., Commanding General of the U.S. Army Special Forces Command (Airborne).
To honor that foresight and the support Kennedy gave to the Green Berets, Reeder will lead a contingent of Green Berets from the 1960s to the present in the ceremony at Arlington. A wreath in the shape of a Green Beret will be placed on Kennedy’s tomb.
The ceremony is a renewal of a tradition carried out for two decades following the assassination of President Kennedy until being discontinued in the 1980s due to operational demands.
Reeder said he felt it is important to reinstitute the tradition this year as the Green Beret reaches its 50thanniversary.
“We are laying the wreath to commemorate the awarding of the Green Beret and honoring what JFK did for this community,” Reeder said.
Following the ceremony the Regimental Commander Brig Gen. Edward M. Reeder Jr., and Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, Secretary Michael G. Vickers, will speak at a luncheon honoring the legacy of the Green Berets.