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US Army berets - blue, black, green, maroon, tan...

Started by BEAST , Jul 17 2007 05:39 PM

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#1 BEAST

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 05:39 PM

Earlier this month BAKER502 posted some photos of his headgear collection. Among them were couple of 1970's era blue berets. Here is his post:

http://www.usmilitar...?showtopic=7045

While looking through EBay, I ran across the following beret. I didn't have time to research it properly, so I rolled the dice and bought it. Fortunetly, I didn't pay too much for it, so if it turns out to be a fake, I'll just be annoyed.

I have not received the beret yet. These photos are from the sale. I believe that the flash is a Cavalry flash, but I am not sure which one.

Any info that you folks can provide would be appreciated. I read that these were only used for a few years, but that is about all I know.


36.jpg



#2 BEAST

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 05:41 PM

Another view:


38.jpg



#3 QED4

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 06:27 PM

The flash is for the 2nd Sq 17th Cav. I have no idea why it would be on a blue beret though.

#4 DwightPruitt

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 06:51 PM

I know back in the day - mid to late 70's- some Armor and Cav units wore black berets until they were outlawed by DA in 1978. I've never seen a blue beret worn by the Cav.

#5 Gil Sanow

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 08:32 PM

I know back in the day - mid to late 70's- some Armor and Cav units wore black berets until they were outlawed by DA in 1978. I've never seen a blue beret worn by the Cav.



I think you will find that 2/17th was assigned to the 101st Abn (Ambl) Div at the time, so this is correct. Baker505 has another, formerly mine.

#6 Lee Ragan

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 05:40 AM

Blue berets were worn by USAF Security Policemen from the early 1970's up until the 1990's or possibly even later. That's the only blue beret I know of used by the American Armed Forces.( Not counting the female blue beret worn by USAF in the 70's & later.) I have no idea why an Army flash would be on a blue beret either.

Edited by Lee Ragan, 18 July 2007 - 05:41 AM.


#7 BEAST

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 06:15 AM

This is an excerpt from a website that examines the history of the wear of berets in the U.S. Army.

"In the 1970s, Army policy allowed local commanders to encourage morale-enhancing uniform distinctions, and the use of berets boomed. Armor personnel at Fort Knox, Ky., wore the traditional British black beret, while U.S. armored cavalry regiments in Germany wore the black beret with a red and white oval.

Troops of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C., started wearing the maroon beret in 1973, while at Fort Campbell, Ky., the trend exploded, with post personnel wearing red, military police donning light green, and the 101st Airborne Division taking light blue as their color. In Alaska, the 172nd Infantry Brigade began using an olive green beret.

In 1975, the Airborne Rangers got approval from the Army Chief of Staff to use the black beret as their official headgear.

Over the next few years, the whole thing got out of hand, and in 1979 senior Army officials put on the brakes, Bradford said. The leadership allowed the Rangers to keep their black berets and in 1980, agreed to allow airborne troops to continue wearing the maroon version. But all others varieties were declared off-limits."


#8 Gil Sanow

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 06:34 AM

This is an excerpt from a website that examines the history of the wear of berets in the U.S. Army.

"In the 1970s, Army policy allowed local commanders to encourage morale-enhancing uniform distinctions, and the use of berets boomed. Armor personnel at Fort Knox, Ky., wore the traditional British black beret, while U.S. armored cavalry regiments in Germany wore the black beret with a red and white oval.

Troops of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C., started wearing the maroon beret in 1973, while at Fort Campbell, Ky., the trend exploded, with post personnel wearing red, military police donning light green, and the 101st Airborne Division taking light blue as their color. In Alaska, the 172nd Infantry Brigade began using an olive green beret.

In 1975, the Airborne Rangers got approval from the Army Chief of Staff to use the black beret as their official headgear.

Over the next few years, the whole thing got out of hand, and in 1979 senior Army officials put on the brakes, Bradford said. The leadership allowed the Rangers to keep their black berets and in 1980, agreed to allow airborne troops to continue wearing the maroon version. But all others varieties were declared off-limits."


BINGO! Admittedly these are obscure, but they did exist. If I recall correctly, when the 101st's berets were banned, they supposedly were cerepomiously burried somewhere at Ft Campbell. Interestingly, when I was there at the Don Pratt Museum a few years back, they did not have one on display!

#9 BEAST

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 06:43 AM

BINGO! Admittedly these are obscure, but they did exist. If I recall correctly, when the 101st's berets were banned, they supposedly were cerepomiously burried somewhere at Ft Campbell. Interestingly, when I was there at the Don Pratt Museum a few years back, they did not have one on display!



Being obscure and unusual is one of the reasons that I wanted one! I was really intrigued by the ones on display in BAKER502's display, having never seen one before. I am glad that the one that I am getting seems to be legit. By the way, are there manufacturer markings in the beret? Were these requested through formal channels or were they local purchases?

#10 Gil Sanow

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 06:59 AM

Being obscure and unusual is one of the reasons that I wanted one! I was really intrigued by the ones on display in BAKER502's display, having never seen one before. I am glad that the one that I am getting seems to be legit. By the way, are there manufacturer markings in the beret? Were these requested through formal channels or were they local purchases?


None of the ones I had (and Baker505 now has) had anything but commercial labels in them -- and many had no liners whatsoever. So far as I know, they were unit-authorized and privately purchased.

#11 US CANTEEN GURU

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 07:49 AM

When I attended the Armor Officer Basic Course in 1975 the cadre AIs of the armor and cavalry units that supported training at Ft. Knox all wore black berets. As far as I can recall none of the students at that time were wearing berets and it was the first I had heard of the Armor and Cavalry branches wearing the beret. My understanding is that black was selected because many of the soldiers in foreign army armor units wore black berets.

I bought two black berets and set one up with cavalry flash and rank. I had some formal photographs taken by the on-post photographer and wore the beret in a couple of the images. When I saw how goofy the beret looked in the print I never wore a beret again. After I got back to my unit I overheard the CSM going on about how impractical and silly the beret looked, especially on him, so I was not alone. I am grateful the beret was not officially adopted Army wide until after I retired.

Our unit authorized the wear of the red bandanna which was practical at Ft. Irwin and aided in identification of Squadron soldiers when we were involved in manuvers. When the directive came down the bandannas were put away and only brought out of the pocket at social affairs where if you didn't have one you got to buy the other officer a drink. The Squadron also "awarded" spurs to soldiers that were selected by a group of NCOs and we did wear our spurs on occasion.

The only person I ever saw wearing a beret in the Squadron was a captain that had been in ACAV in Viet Nam. By the time I retured from Ft. Knox he was gone. I have to say that the beret was practical when working around armored vehicles. The bill on the fatigue cap reduced visibility and hitting the head on hard things inside the track was more frequent. At least with the beret you had better vision for those nasty things that jump out at you inside the track. Of course when actually operating the vehicles we wore the CVC helmet.

Edited by US CANTEEN GURU, 18 July 2007 - 07:58 AM.


#12 craig_pickrall

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 10:11 AM

Beast, I thought it was going to be easy to find a pic of a blue beret in use. Was I ever wrong. I went through about (40) early 70's period unit histories, general histories, etc without finding any.

I do have one in my collection that retains the liner and it is a different unit. Pics follow. I also copied info from two excellent standard refererences that give more detail.

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#13 craig_pickrall

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 10:13 AM

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#14 craig_pickrall

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 10:14 AM

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#15 craig_pickrall

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 10:15 AM

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#16 craig_pickrall

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 10:15 AM

BLUE_BERET_11.jpg
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#17 craig_pickrall

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 10:16 AM

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#18 craig_pickrall

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 10:17 AM

BLUE_BERET_14.jpg BLUE_BERET_15.jpg

#19 craig_pickrall

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 10:18 AM

BLUE_BERET_16.jpg

#20 craig_pickrall

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 10:18 AM

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