Small Wars Journal

Earning It: A Complete History of U.S. Army Berets and Who's Allowed to Wear Them

Earning It: A Complete History of U.S. Army Berets and Who's Allowed to Wear Them by Meghann Myers - Army Times

It’s official: Seventeen years after adding another color to its array of distinctive headgear, the Army is getting another beret.

And, this time, the outcry came fast and hard.

Earlier this year, the Army began standing up a new organization devoted solely to training, advising and assisting the conventional forces of foreign partner nations. As the first class finished their stint at the Military Adviser Training Academy, word got around that soldiers in these new Security Force Assistance Brigades would be unlike most others — because they’d be getting a distinctive colored beret.

“With respect to the beret, this is a unique, niche capability — we’re going to be asking them to do a strategic mission — so I think it’s warranted,” acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, a veteran of the 75th Ranger Regiment, which wears the tan beret, told Army Times.

A photo of a conspicuously green-looking beret, first posted by Soldier Systems Daily, made its way around social media in late October.

It was supposed to be an olive-brown color based off the British Anglian Regiment’s brown infantry berets, Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley, a former team leader in 5th Special Forces Group, told Army Times.

But there was a big problem, a former Ranger, Green Beret, and Special Forces historian told Army Times on Nov. 7.

“It was green,” retired Sgt. 1st Class Greg Walker said. “That’s a well-worn, sun-bleached green beret.“

Current and former Special Forces soldiers flooded Army Times with social media comments and emails, protective of the elite community’s legacy as the original wearers of a colored beret…

Read on.


If I were still in the Army, I'd jump at the chance to serve in the SFAB; and a beret wouldn't be an incentive to do so. I suspect others who volunteer for the unit probably feel the same. The opportunity to do something different and a bit unique would be enough. Just drop the SFAB beret idea.

Also, why an arrowhead patch with a tab over it for SFABs? A bit dodgy I think. I figured the first SFAB would be the 162d Infantry Brigade that was stood up at FT Polk to train STTs and SFATs. Why not use the following designations for these advisor brigades: 161st through 163rd as infantry-centric SFABs, & 164th through 166th as the armor-centric SFABs...?