From Sean Coldiron, Veteran of 2/75 Ranger

General Shinseki,

With all due respect sir, I am ashamed at your decision. Since I am not a member of the Ranger Regiment, but a former Ranger from 2d Bn 75th (1992-1996) I can and will make a comment on this subject. Sir, how in the world can "giving" the black beret away to all Army personnel assist in creating better morale and giving the Army something more to achieve excellence? It is beyond me sir. I earned my beret, I cherish my beret over any of my medals, awards or any other school I went to while in the military.

I live the Ranger Creed everyday and set the standard for others to follow everyday. I have given up the military life for a law enforcement life but will never forget the Ranger way. Sir, with this decision you are stripping away our only identity, if you were to ask someone off the street who has seen a Ranger what is the first thing they had noticed. The Black Beret, and then the stud wearing it with pride and confidence in his abilities. Sir, I ask you to recant your decision, if for any reason but to honor our fallen who gave their lives in order to live up to the standard of wearing the Ranger Black Beret. The Black Beret is a Ranger's to surrender, not your's or anyone else's. If you feel so strongly about giving the Army a different piece of headgear to wear, pick a different color beret, not the coveted black beret.

I think you need to look back over our creed sir, again with all due respect, I think you have lost touch with us and the rest of the Special Operators.


Ranger Sean Coldiron,
2/75th Ranger

Ranger Coldiron also wrote his local paper -- 100% and then some Ranger Coldiron!

I would like to inform the public of something that most may not understand but can relate to in some form. Earlier this week the Army Chief of Staff, General Shinseki made an announcement that the new authorized headgear for the U.S. Army will be the black beret instead of the normal camouflaged ball-cap. (Effective June 14th, 2001) The black beret is and has been since the Korea War era a symbol and mark of a United States Army Ranger, the world's most elite infantry fighting force. The Army Rangers have participated in all of the major campaigns beginning with the 2nd World War, storming the beaches at Normandy ("Saving Private Ryan") and the most recent was the fierce firefight in Mogadishu, Somalia where the Rangers refused to leave a downed Blackhawk helicopter crew trapped in the wreckage.

The beret "will be a symbol of unity, a symbol of Army excellence, a symbol of our values," Gen. Erik K. Shinseki said. Gen. Shinseki also stated that with the black beret the Army would endow itself to achieve a higher standard thus improving the morale and motivation of our Army troops. As if the beret had magical qualities that would turn an average or below average soldier into an elite fighting trooper. Immediatley following this announcement the General's staff realized that there would be some grumbling from the ranks of the Ranger Regiment. Therefore the staff ordered all members of the Ranger Regiment from commenting on this subject, to anyone, especially the media. There is more than grumbling, it is as if the General and his staff has stripped the Regiment of it's identity, something that one tries to never forget or give up.

The Ranger Black Beret is earned not just handed to any person, bottom line. Just like the Green Beret of the Special Forces and the Maroon Beret of the Paratroopers, you have to earn it to wear it. An Army Ranger in the Ranger Regiment has to endure months of training and self sacrifice in order to earn the Black Beret. There is a saying that the British Special Air Service says after earning their coveted sand colored beret, "It is harder to keep it than it was to earn it". As is the same in the Ranger Regiment. Rangers have sacrificed blood, sweat, tears and given the ultimate sacrifice, their own life in order to live up to the standard of wearing the Ranger Black Beret. Elite units like the Rangers, Special Forces, AF Combat Controllers, Pararescue, etc. deserve to have something different to identify their specialties, it is their right for doing something the average man does not have the stomach for.

Americans should denounce the decision General Shinseki has made. This should be done to show support and thank our Ranger and Special Operation veterans for their sacrifices they have made for our great free country. General Shinseki should understand, as should the American public, the hat on your head does not make you the man that you are inside, only your intestinal fortitude and desire makes you elite.

Sean Coldiron
U.S. Army Ranger