Friday, August 3, 2001

Rangers don tan berets

A select group of veterans, representing rangers from every major conflict since World War II, were issued tan berets, July 26 at Fort Benning, Ga., in a private ceremony designed to usher in the "donning" of a new age. Shortly afterward the 75th Ranger Regiment followed suit.

"The black beret has been the most visible symbol of rangers in the 20th century. ... (Now) the tan beret will become the most visible symbol of the rangers who will serve our nation in the 21st century," said Lt. Col. Marcus DeOliveira, the outgoing regimental adjutant.

DeOliveira said the tan beret "reinvigorates the historical and spiritual linkage throughout the history of the American ranger.

"It's the color of the buckskin uniform of Roger's Rangers, the genesis ofthe ranger lineage," DeOliveira said. "Tan ... transcends all ranger operations."

Col. Ken Keen, outgoing commander of the 75th Ranger Regiment, presented a tan beret to retired Maj. Gen. Pete Spra-gins, the first ranger to authorize the black beret, as the commander of the 10th Airborne Ranger Company in 1951.

"When I heard about this decision, I didn't like it. But it's what you do that establishes your reputation, not what you wear on your head.

"Now it doesn't bother me a bit," said Spragins, the very first to don the tan beret.