Friday, March 23, 2001

Rangers adopt tan beret as new distinctive headgear


U.S. Army photo

Staff Sgt. Ryan A. Recker of the Ranger Training Detachment at the 75th Ranger Regimental headquarters at Fort Benning, Ga., models the new Ranger Tan Beret.

The 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning, Ga., announced March 16 that it will exchange its traditional black beret for a tan one.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric K. Shinseki approved the regiment's request to change its beret to maintain the distinctiveness of the unit and reflect the legacy of Ranger history.

The Rangers studied several options, officials said, before deciding on the Ranger Tan Beret. The change was requested by a memorandum from Col. P.K. Keen, regimental commander, in a memorandum dated March 9, 2001, to the Army chief of staff.

"The black beret has served the Rangers well and will be a symbol of excellence and unity for the Army," Keen said.

Shinseki announced last year that the Army would issue black berets to all soldiers. That change will take place June 14 -- the Army's Birthday. Keen said changing to the tan beret for Rangers is not about being different from the rest of the Army, but about a critical aspect that unifies the Army - high standards.

"The decision to adopt the Ranger Tan Beret is based upon maintaining a distinctive beret for our Rangers as the Army transitions to the black beret," Keen said.

Keen said the Rangers support the Army's decision to don the black beret and view this as another step forward in the overall Transformation of the Army.

Tan is the one universal and unifying color that transcends all Ranger operations, officials said. It is reminiscent of the numerous beach assaults in the European Theater and the jungle fighting in the Pacific Theater of World War II, where Rangers and Marauders spearheaded victory.

Tan represents the khaki uniforms worn by Korean and Vietnam War era Rangers, officials said. It is the color of the sand in Grenada, Panama, Iraq, and Mogadishu, where modern-day Rangers fought, died and continued to Lead the Way, they said.

Tan rekindles the legacy of Rangers from all eras, officials said, and exemplifies the unique skills and special capabilities required of past, present, and future Rangers.

"Rangers have never been measured by what they have worn in peace or combat, but by commitment, dedication, physical and mental toughness, and willingness to Lead the Way - anywhere, anytime," Keen said. "The beret has become our most visible symbol -- it will remain so.

"The Ranger Tan Beret will represent for the Ranger of the 21st Century what the black beret represented - a unit that 'Leads the Way' in our conventional and special operations forces," Keen said.

(Editor's note: Information taken from a 75th Ranger Regiment news release.)