From Harold "Jake" Jacobsen, Special Forces Veteran

Dear General Shinseki:

In regard to your decision to order the entire United States Army to don the "black beret," I do not understand the rationale. I think I might of heard the term "morale" mentioned. I am not sure.

If "morale" is a factor, whose "morale" are we referring to? The members of the 75th Rangers who lay it on the line, or the "morale" of the clerk typist, or the cooks, and bakers. I realize the dress of the personnel in the United Sates Army needs sprucing up, especially those that work in your headquarters. A "black beret" won't do that. Pride, discipline, and leadership do that.

What is next, removing the "Green Beret" from the dress code of "Special Forces," and the "Maroon Beret" from the Airborne Units?

Did you ever stop to realize that the "Black Beret" is a standard that others might strive to achieve in their military career.

I just recently wrote a letter to Senator Carl Levin about readiness. He says the United States Armed Forces is ready based on statements by Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff. I wrote him saying he apparently has not talked to the soldiers in the trenches, and he is a member of US Senate Committee on Armed Forces. It was apparent he was playing politics, and couldn't care less of readiness.

This plan of yours to change the headgear of the United States Army will further hurt the readiness of the United States Army.

Rangers wear the "Black Beret" with pride because they have accomplished something. What will the United States Army wear the "Black Beret" for: a new uniform regulation?

Having just served as President of the Special Forces Association, and currently Executive Director of the Special Operations Association, I know I am speaking for all Special Operations Soldiers: those retired, those active, and those whose names are inscribed on the monuments across this great nation for giving their all.

I certainly hope you would reconsider this change in the wearing of the "Black Beret."


Harold "Jake" Jacobson
Executive Director
Special Operations Association
Past President
Special Forces Association