From Joe Leuer, Secretary of the Ranger Memorial Foundation

October 20, 2000

What was it that GEN Shinseki saw when he looked over that crowd of proud SOF soldiers that made him think this was a good thing?

He probably saw a group of barrel chested, chisel faced, steely eyed warriors ready to take on and defeat this nation's enemies. But what he forgot was it is not the hat one wears that makes these type of soldiers. It was all the hard training, built-in self confidence, tough PT, good leadership, sense of mission, etc... that made the impression on him, NOT THE BERET!!!!

Putting the beret on the entire Army doesn't fix what the rest of the army is not doing: tough realistic training, hard PT, developing a sense of history and mission accomplishment, etc... In other words, all that's wrong with today's army. Take away the reason to earn/wear the beret, you take away what is right with the SOF in general and Rangers in particular as it is their beret in question.

The Korean War Rangers just changed their Era Monument at the Ranger Memorial to honor the beret and what it means to Ranger history and the Army as worriers. What does this message tell them?

Though I don't have a dog in this fight, I'm sorry to see this snap decision based on pseudo-psychology that giving somebody something of value make one valuable. Hard work is what made the beret valuable.

Joe Leuer
Secretary, Ranger Hall of Fame