changing the army's uniform


WASHINGTON (AFP) ? The US Army is abandoning the beret, after a failed 10-year experiment.

The black beret, which proved deeply unpopular with American soldiers, will be replaced by a patrol cap for everyday wear, US Army spokesman Colonel Tom Collins said Monday.

The move came after outgoing Army chief of staff, General Martin Dempsey, asked the army's sergeant major "to go out and talk to soldiers across the force and see what was on their minds," Collins told AFP.

"One of the things that soldiers consistently brought up was the desire to wear the patrol cap as part of their duty uniform," he said.

The beret will still be part of the Army's dress uniform, but will no longer be worn in the field as soldiers complained that it was impractical, he said.

"It does not have a visor and doesn't shield the sun, doesn't absorb sweat well," Collins said.

One soldier put it more bluntly.

"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. "Plus it makes head/skin break out."

Before 2001, the black beret was associated with the elite Rangers special operations forces. Many Rangers resented the idea that the hat they had earned the right to wear had been assigned to the entire force.

The uniform change applies to 1.32 million soldiers -- including 566,473 active duty troops -- and goes into effect immediately. The new headwear comes with a lower price: a beret costs $11.90 while a patrol cap is only $6.50.

The decision does not affect units that have long worn berets as a mark of distinction, including the Rangers' black beret, Army special forces' green beret and Airborne's maroon version.

As part of the change, soldiers will have the option of having their name tags, rank and badges sewn on to their uniforms.

There also will be a new look for Army soldiers working at the Defense Department's headquarters at the Pentagon, with camouflage to be replaced with the more business-like dress uniform, Collins said.

"For soldiers serving in the Pentagon, we will transition to the dress uniform," starting in July, he said.

In the aftermath of the attacks of September 11, 2001, all the armed services started wearing combat uniforms in the Pentagon, to underscore the country's war-footing.

But Defense Secretary Robert Gates last year had his staff drop the combat uniforms, and some other offices in the Pentagon have returned to the dress uniform.

"Our perspective is that this is the corporate part of the Army," said Sergeant Major of the Army, Raymond Chandler, quoted on the US Army's website.

Midnight Raver

Active Member
During the early/mid 1970s, tankers(armored troops) were wearing the black berets as part of their uniform. It didn't last for long, not too many people remember that I would care to wager. It did make more sense for them to wear it at the time and looked pretty cool to ne though.
The best part about the beret was that it was black and wool. That way, not only did it provide absolutely zero protection against light or weather elements, it was also extremely uncomfortable and contributed to instances of heat exhaustion. It will sorely be missed by only people that worked in air conditioned offices. You know, the same people that think a Velcro knock-off is a good idea on a uniform.


New Member
I'm glad to see it go. I remember when they switched, we were living off base in Columbus, GA (Ft Benning) and none of the GI's who frequented my davenport. The general consensus was that the berets belonged to the Rangers and that giving them to everyone was insulting. Then again this particular bunch of fridge raiders were 88M and they spent weeks on end hauling Rangers around so they might have been a bit biased.


We still will wear the beret but only with dress uniform like the greens or ASU's. The dress greens use has been extended to 2014. I started putting together an ASU (dress blues) while I was out at Ft Leonard Wood.

They also changed the rules on the ACU's. They will still be able to be worn as as with velcro and pin-on badges but new uniforms from the Military Clothing store will also be sold with buttons and no velcro so patches and name tapes can be sewn on. Also badges line the CAB, EIB/CIB, recruiting and drill sergeant and Airborne can now be sewn on. I also read we will have up to three colors based on deployment or assignment, woodland digital, desert digital and the current ACU but no date that I know of. The current color sucks in my opinion, doesn't blend into the desert at all. Three color desert was the best.

Dirk Pitt

New Member
I heard there was talk about using the super awesome Marine Corps colors for woodland and desert (I'm not biased or anything :p )