>> I said it was a dumbass idea in the first place .... <<
14 June 2011
US Army abandons 'impractical' black berets
The beret will go back to being worn by a few select units only
The US Army says it is getting rid of the black woollen berets worn by its soldiers after many of them complained it was too impractical to wear.
One soldier told the US Army Times it was like wearing a "wet sock" on his head.
A US army spokesman said the beret, which was introduced 10 years ago, would be replaced by a patrol cap and worn by soldiers in the field.
The change will apply to more than a million soldiers in the United States.
It will also bring a cost benefit - the patrol cap comes in at almost half the price.
Units that have long worn berets as a mark of distinction, such as army special forces, Rangers and Airborne, will not be affected.
"I hate wearing a wet sock on my head," Chief Warrant Officer Mark Vino, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state, told the Army Times.
US Army spokesman Col Tom Collins told Agence France-Presse: "[The beret] does not have a visor and doesn't shield the sun, doesn't absorb sweat well."
But the beret will remain standard headgear for soldiers when they wear their dress uniform for more formal events.
Col Collins also told AFP that from July dress uniform would replace camouflage for soldiers serving in the Pentagon.
Combat uniforms were adopted for all armed services personnel to reflect the war footing following the 9/11 attacks.
File picture of US army soldier wearing a black beret
http://edition.cnn.com/2011/US/06/13/ar ... index.html
Army backtracks on black berets after more than a decade of debate
By Larry Shaughnessy, CNN Pentagon Producer
June 13, 2011 -- Updated 2317 GMT (0717 HKT)
Washington (CNN) -- Ten years ago this week, under orders from Gen. Eric Shinseki, then Army Chief of Staff, the black beret became standard gear in the U.S. Army. It was the start of a pitched battle within the Army that would soon find itself fighting two hot wars.
Now, just shy of the anniversary, Gen. Martin Dempsey, the current Army chief of staff, has replaced the black beret with the patrol cap as the default headgear for soldiers wearing Army combat uniforms, what most of us would call their camouflage fatigues.
A patrol cap is like a camouflage baseball cap with a flat top rather than a rounded crown (think Pittsburgh Pirates circa 1979.)
"It's fantastic," one soldier at the Pentagon said when CNN asked about the change.
"Awesome," wrote a soldier on the Army's official Facebook page. "Sanity has prevailed."
For years, soldiers have complained the wool beret was hot, hard to adjust and took two hands to put on. Others said it looked out of place in combination with the uniform soldiers wore when doing their grubbiest work.
But even before Shinseki's order, the idea of having the entire Army wear berets was met with anger by the soldiers already wearing berets, like Special Forces, Airborne troops and especially the Army Rangers.
Special Forces, known better as the Green Berets, considered the beret as a symbol of their becoming members of an elite group of soldiers. As did Airborne troops with their maroon berets and the Rangers who had been wearing black berets since at least 1979.
Many of these elite soldiers felt that having every soldier wear a beret diminished the work and training they'd gone through to earn their berets.
"Originally the black beret was a Ranger tradition," said Butch Nery, president of the U.S. Army Ranger Association. "Now I've gotten used to the tan beret."
"My initial reaction to the decision to make the black beret the official headgear of the Army was one of anger and disappointment," Retired Army Major Richard Jones wrote in an official Army Internet post about the beret. At first, he tried to have the decision reversed before eventually getting on board.
This latest change means the Special Forces and Airborne troops will keep their green and maroon berets, and the Rangers will stick with the tan berets that they switched to 10 years ago.
If it strikes you that the Army is spending a lot of time and money worrying about hats, well not so. First off, the Army doesn't wear hats, it wears headgear or covers. More importantly, the Army says this move will soon save taxpayers about $6.5 million.
The savings will come because most soldiers were being issued two berets and two patrol caps. Now they'll be issued just one beret and two patrol caps.
The beret won't go away; it will still be the standard head gear for soldiers wearing their Army Service Uniform (ASU), a dress uniform for more formal events.
Even some of those who opposed wearing the beret in the field posted on Facebook that they liked keeping the beret for those occasions. "Glad you're still holding onto the beret for certain things, looks great with the ASU!" one soldier posted.