The green feet, a symbol deeply intertwined with rescue operations in Vietnam, hold a unique significance in the heritage of Air Force Special Tactics. Originating from the affectionate nickname "jolly green giant" for the Sikorsky HH-3E Jolly Green Giant rescue helicopters during the Vietnam War, this emblematic image became an enduring symbol for pararescue jumpers (PJs).
As the pararescue community evolved, a distinctive tradition emerged during the pararescue Indoc course in 1987. A group of students creatively incorporated the Combat Control Team (CCT) lightning bolt into the green feet tattoo, symbolizing the fusion of these two elite career fields within the rigorous training pipeline.
This innovative combination not only solidified the bond between pararescue and combat controllers but also found resonance in the formation of Special Tactics Squadrons (STS). The green feet with the embedded lightning bolt became a unifying symbol for these highly specialized units, signifying their shared commitment to excellence in the face of adversity.
This enduring emblem serves as a testament to the resilience, collaboration, and unwavering dedication of the Special Tactics community, honoring their roots while symbolizing the ongoing pursuit of excellence in the field of military special operations.