The kind you find in a second hand store…

The Army beret is out!

Maybe now the Rangers will get their black berets back! Hooray!

Well, sadly no. As it turns out the beret will remain a standard part of the service uniform and optional in ACUs at the commander’s discretion. Seems Soldiers are happy with the decision and we won’t hold it against them.

I remember all the old beret drama back in the early 21st Century. At the time I was stationed at Camp Schwab, Okinawa with 3d Recon Battalion. We watched the beret saga unfold with some interest. Institutionally, Marines are very aware of their history, customs, and traditions. We found if offensive the Rangers were to give up their traditional black berets to the regular Army. As I understand it, Rangers were given the tan beret in reference to the coonskin caps worn by their Colonial predecessors. If I were a Ranger I imagine having a rather derisive opinion of this. I’m not so I’ll let it go.

A number of Marines from the battalion had graduated from Ranger School, including the grizzled Master Gunnery Sergeant whom I worked for in the Operations and Training Section (S-3). He was particularly vocal on the matter as he, like others, had earned his black beret through three grueling months of soul grinding deprivation and training. The Master Guns kept his beret on a shelf behind his desk along with a photo of his graduating class.

Discussing this distasteful change in Army uniform regs caused the large scar running down the side of his face to undulate fiercely. It was commonly believed this was a souvenir earned in a biker bar one hot night someplace in North Carolina. A lean and wiry veteran, he stood at his desk and reverently placed the black beret on his head in solidarity with his Ranger brethren.

Unable to tame my wise mouth I immediately remarked: “Yeah, now you look just like everyone else in the Army.”

I only recall a flash of naked steel swiftly followed by my headlong flight from the building. Although I cannot verify it, I am told the Master Guns dove immediately into the ocean to fight a giant squid to the death. Sometimes a man just has to work things out on his own.

Semper Fidelis!
America’s 1stSgt

/ / / /


  1. Top,
    The problem as I see it…the US Army is being run by the same folks who sell use Coke, and all the other ads on TV and radio.
    Some knuckelhead thought that allowing every soldier to wear a beret would make them feel cooler or something.
    I have worn:
    The OD green fatigues (with the field uniform, also OD green)
    The Woodland Camo
    The Desert Combat Uniform
    And the ACUs…which were designed by a committe of idiots.

    We also used to wear the Kakis in the summer- which I really liked.

    Now I wear blue jeans and sit on the porch with a cold beer telling war stories.

    Thinking back on it all…I was so lucky to have served withe the 1st Mar Div at Fallugha as my first mission in Iraq. I learned more from them guys than I did in 3 months of train up in the states.

  2. RE: Wise mouth – we had a sign posted on the visor of our pickup – “Make sure brain is engaged before throwing mouth into gear…”

  3. Sarge! Not as well known is the fact many Marines were ticked off as well. There are quite a few Rangers in our ranks.

    Kristina, you can assume I am no where near that madness. Out of frame.

    CI Roller, checking oil and wiping your nose. Roger!

    Leslie, trust me. I knew EXACTLY what I was doing when I said that.

  4. Absolutely no clue what I’m supposed to wear on my head. I figure if I’m wearing the wrong thing, some wise, wizened old 1ST will slap it off my braid. Now all we have to do is get someone to reconsider our Salvation Army Blues…

  5. I’ve been admiring your blog for a while now but I never posted a comment. Today I have to comment because, I now think we served together.

    I was at 4th Marines in 01 and 02 and was Fap’d to 3rd Recon’s S-4 for a couple months. During that time I had some discussion with a Gunny from the 3 shop. I wonder if it was you?

  6. Actually, no one. There was a Sgt who had just passed the test to get into school at coronado and a LT who had orders at the same time so the 4 shop was empty. I was sent down to fill the gap while Recon waited for replacements to come. The only other person in the 3d Recon 4 shop at the time was a Major but I don’t remember his name.

    I worked in the 4th Marines 4 shop with MSgt Stovall, MSgt Tolfrey, CWO Goff, SSgt Sanchez and SSgt Kruse.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *