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LTC Robert K. Suchke
designed the Special Forces prototype parachute badge in 1983

Bob retired in 1992 after more than 23 years active duty including 13 years with SF. Prior to that he served in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, 101st Airborne Division (L Co Rangers) in Vietnam, Ranger Department, Mountain Ranger Camp as a Ranger Instructor, 25th Inf Division, 98th Division (Advisor) and his last tour of duty was at the Pentagon as Chief of Special Forces Branch in DCSOPS. While in SF, he served with Special Warfare Center, 5th SF Group and 1st SF Group. He commanded 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group on Okinawa from 87-90.

When he was in the 5th Special Forces Group, there was considerable interest in getting a permanent badge approved for U.S. Army Special Forces. Up until 1983 the Green Beret was the only symbol of excellence for this military elite organization.

The design, which he still has the original artwork, has always been very popular with both those in and outside of the Special Forces community. This wing was very popular (Like the British SAS wing) and several were made for friends and collectors.

The parachute wing with the SF crossed arrows and V-42 dagger was recommended to the review board, but was not selected The Special Forces tab was chosen instead. (Now you know the rest of the story)

Bob had some shirts made back in 1987 when he was with the 1st Group. On the shirt for greater detail and historical accuracy, he put the V-42, the 1st Special Service Force fighting knife complete with thumbprint, in the center of the crossed arrows.

Special Forces prototype Master Parachutist Badge
1983 LTC Robert K. Suchke

Bob operates his own business, Dahlonega Firewood and Timber Company in Georgia. He has collected and traded elite military memorabilia for over 30 years.

From the personal collection of:
LTC Robert K. Suchke (Ret.)
triplecanopy@windstream.net
Dahlonega, Georgia
February 2002

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