From A Fallen Ranger's Mom
General Eric Shinseki
Cheif of Staff, Army
200 Army Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20310-0200
October 23, 2000
We are writing you about the decision you made and announced last week to
make the RANGER BLACK BERET standard army issue as June 14, 2001.
General, we are the family of Ranger James Markwell, medic c/co 1/75 Ranger
Battalion. KIA December 20,1989 Panama.
This is an ill informed decision and deals a blow to Rangers past and
present. How can you possibly expect to raise the caliber of soldier by
lowering the standards and giving away the most important part of the uniform
that these special soldiers wear so proudly for our country? Even the newest
recruits know that BLACK BERET must be earned. Who would you want watching
your back given a choice, someone who earned it or someone to whom it was
We know because we have experienced first hand that pride. When you are in
the presence of a group of soldiers long before you see the flash, the scroll
the tab or any medals, you see the BLACK BERET and know you are in the
presence of special men.
When these men go into harms way that beret is safely tucked away until their
job is done and the wrong is righted. Then it is taken out and worn proudly.
It is obvious you have never kept company with these men. I find it hard to
believe any one who had, could have possibly been convinced to make such a
The blow you have dealt the Rangers and the families who go the extra mile to
be able to wear the BLACK BERET can only be healed by rethinking your
We will fight this up to the last moment by what ever means we can avail
ourselves of. We have learned a lot from our Rangers, the least of which is
SURRENDER is not a RANGER word.
General we respectfully ask that you choose another color beret for you
standard Army issue. Do not dishonor these men or the families.
Respectfully awaiting and hoping for a change of color,
The Family of Ranger James W. Markwell