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.