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
Harold "Jake" Jacobson
Special Operations Association
Special Forces Association