Note: The symbols below
represent the Special Operations Medical Association (SOMA) and may not be used
without the express permission of the association.
The Special Operations Medical Association (SOMA) was founded in 1987. In the early years, SOMA meetings and training were held at various locations on Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
In 1992, SOMA was officially established and held its first annual meeting at the Holiday Inn Hotel in Fayetteville, NC. That same year SOMA’s Emblem was created by its first SOMA President. LTC Jim Coy designed the SOMA emblem to symbolize what was at the heart of SOMA. An emblem that accurately characterized the inseparable blending of conventional and unconventional warfare medicine. An annual gathering of leading military, civilian and international medical personnel, that communicated countless years of traditional and clandestine military medical lessons learned from both peace time and combat operations. With the primary focused to sustain the unique medical skills of the Army Special Forces Medics and other medical personnel assigned to those units. Since that time, the membership and reach of SOMA has grown, but the foundational principles, symbolized by all the elements of this historic emblem, remain true today.
The most prominent element on SOMA’s emblem is the green beret. The rifle green beret worn by U.S. Army Special Forces stands as an important reminder of SOMA’s origins in unconventional medicine. Directly behind the green beret representing conventional medicine, is the gold winged snake Caduceus, adopted by the U.S. Army Medical Corps in 1902 as the branch insignia. Throughout history snakes have been a symbol of health and healing because of their ability to shed and regenerate their own skin. In the SOMA emblem, the single snake is wrapped around the unsheathed Case V-42 dagger. In military heraldry the dagger has symbolized total military preparedness, stealth, and courage. During WW II, the Case V-42 dagger was issued to Soldiers assigned to the First Special Services Forces (FSSF) and has long been associated with U.S. Army special operation forces. Finally, the foundation of the SOMA emblem are two silver crossed arrows. Originally (from 1890 to 1926), crossed arrows were prescribed for wear by Indian Scouts. During World War II, the crossed arrows were worn as collar insignia by officers and enlisted personnel assigned to the First Special Service Force. All Special Forces Groups in the 1st Special Forces Regiment trace their official U.S. Army lineage and honors to the FSSF activation on 9 July 1942.
The Special Operations Medical Association seal is steeped in the rich history and origins of this dynamic organization. A visionary group of leaders with deep ties to the US Army Special Forces community founded SOMA in 1987. Since that time, the membership and reach of SOMA has grown, but the foundational principles, symbolized by all the elements of this historic seal, remain true today.
The dagger symbolizes the Special Operations community, and in military heraldry, also represents justice and military honor. The crossed arrows, symbolic of strength in combat, were originally worn by the 1st Special Service Corps, an international special operations unit, in 1942. The arrows were then used by the Corps of Indian Scouts and were finally associated with SOF in 1984 (specifically with the Special Forces in 1987). The beret, originally "rifle green" in color, is representative of the US Army Special Forces ("Green Berets").
Today, the beret is seen throughout the history of many SOF units and represents the members of the US and international SOF community who have earned the right to wear this distinctive headgear. Berets have been symbolic of many SOF values; the green beret in particular is, "a symbol of excellence, a badge of courage, a mark of distinction in the fight for freedom." The winged serpent is an adaptation of an ancient symbol symbolizing the duality of a divine nature and an earthly mission. In the SOMA seal adaptation, the snake is wrapped around a dagger, much as the snake is wrapped around a wooden rod in the Rod of Asclepius, an ancient symbol of medicine.
Uses: Letterhead, official correspondence, gear
The logos of the Special Operations Medical Association represent the rich tradition and ethos of SOMA while recognizing today’s evolving mission and membership.
The Star of Life has long been associated with medicine in general, and more specifically, with prehospital medicine: a domain in which SOMA’s members shine in their service.
The six branches of the star represent the six main tasks executed by rescuers throughout the emergency chain:
- Detection: The first rescuers on the scene, usually untrained civilians or those involved in the incident, observe the scene, understand the problem, identify the dangers to themselves and the others, and take appropriate measures to ensure their safety (environmental, electricity, chemicals, radiation, etc.).
- Reporting: The call for professional help is made and dispatch is connected with the victims, providing emergency medical dispatch.
- Response: The first rescuers provide first aid and immediate care to the extent of their capabilities.
- On scene care: The EMS personnel arrive and provide immediate care to the extent of their capabilities on-scene.
- Care in transit: The EMS personnel proceed to transfer the patient to a hospital via an ambulance or helicopter for specialized care. They provide medical care during the transportation.
- Transfer to definitive care: Appropriate specialized care is provided at the hospital.
The dagger symbolizes the Special Operations community and, in military heraldry, represents justice and military honor.
The snake on the dagger is representative of the Rod of Asclepius, an ancient symbol of the practice of medicine. This modern adaptation includes the snake on a SOF dagger.
Uses: SOMA gear,
The colors chosen by SOMA are symbolic of the military and first responders, who, on the battlefield and in the streets, are the embodiment of selfless service, courage, strength, and caring for those in need. Blue, red, and green are seen in many different first responder communities including law enforcement, firefighters, EMS, and military. In heraldry, blue represents truth, loyalty, and wisdom; red represents strength, power, and courage; and green represents hope, stability, loyalty, and peace.