Wilson County native Steve Quarles recently donated a few of his military items to the Tennessee State Museum that will be displayed at the recently opened museum in Nashville.

Quarles donated his Special Forces dress uniform, Vietnam-era fatigue shirt and Green Beret with 5th Special Forces Group insignia.

President John F. Kennedy called the Green Beret a “symbol of excellence, a badge of courage, a mark of distinction in the fight of freedom.” It may be worn only by those awarded Special Forces designation. 

Quarles was drafted into the Army in 1968 and reported for basic training at Fort Campbell, Ky., where he was offered the opportunity to go for Special Forces training. He said Barry Sadler’s popular song “Ballad of the Green Beret” created an image that was too alluring to pass up, and he joined the elite group. 

Quarles was assigned to the 6th Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg, N.C., before he became a 5th Special Forces group member in support of missions in Vietnam.

He was honorably discharged from the Army Reserve in 1974 and entered a career in manufacturing and engineering. 

“I am honored that the Tennessee State Museum would want my old uniform. It’s been hanging in my closet for about 48 years,” Quarles said.

Recommended for you