|Ranger Clement Ross, Veteran 1/75 Ranger and Combat Veteran of Grenada
I served with Aco 1/75 from 1980-83. You may know of CSM Micheal Hall, the
current command sergeant major of JSOC -- he was my platoon sergeant as an
With all due respect, sir, the ends do not merely fail to justify the means,
the ends have severe consequences from which there can be no recovery.
You, yourself, wear a Ranger Tab. With all my outrage at this proposal to
make the Black Ranger Beret the headgear of all active duty personnel, I
demand to know: how dare you?
When I arrived at 1/75, the Rangers were different from the regular army --
both in aggression, attitude and professionalism. We also wore a different
uniform. The regular army wore the OD leg fatigues; the Rangers wore the rip
stop cammies and OD patrol caps. We didn't wear steel pots on the range
during live fire exercises, because we trained as if everything were real.
Around 1982, the army went to BDUs. The Rangers went to OD jungle fatigues.
Always apart, always different.
In 1999, I went to Fort Benning for the Ranger Rendezvous 1999. I saw CSM
Mike Hall. He wore BDUs (including the BDU cap). At least the Black Beret's
were still there.
Now, by your initiative, you want to take the Black Berets away from Rangers
and make our Black Ranger Berets the dress headgear of all troops. General
Abrams must be turning over in his grave. We were after all "Abe's Own" (and
I am proud to have been awarded with two Abram's certificates).
This unconscionable act is a disgrace and a dishonor to those who died for
the honor of the duty to wear the Black Ranger Beret. Marlon Maynard died in
Grenada in 1983. He was part of my gun team. You, sir, blaspheme his memory.
And I am one among thousands who can state such examples. Since this
especially pertains to those who have died, would your next trick be to
replace "Taps" with "Zip-a-dee-do-da"? And please don't miss the metaphor
due to the sarcasm. For very little differentiates the two.
A comrade of mine has indicated his desire to send his Black Ranger Beret (a
"piece of cloth" he named it) to the address you would specify. I cannot
fault him for his passion and empathize with all my heart. You may diminish
the present meaning of the Black Ranger Beret which I cherish, but you will
never reduce or tarnish the meaning it held when I wore it on active duty.
I'm appalled by your absolute void of any respect for Rangers who've proudly
served in the 75th Infantry. Even the Ranger Tab you wear must
burn with desire to separate from your uniform. You belittle our values and
honor. You participate in a two-decade long effort to undermine Ranger
traditions, adding the final effort.
As you have already guessed, I am very passionate about this totally
revolting decision you have made. My tone which is obviously disrespectful
of your rank is my advantage for being a civilian now (which means I outrank
you). But my tone is justified and my words voice the heart-felt betrayal
countless Rangers now must endure.
I am as passionate as I convey about this issue because it matters for those
who follow. If you choose to remain oblivious to symbolic meaning that
tradition and Rangers hold for the troops of the future of the army, then by
all means continue with your banal and insipid reasoning which led to your
I may commend you for having the future of the Army's morale at heart when
making your decision; however, I despise and loathe your means to this end
which only serves to bring dishonor and insult to the proud tradition of
Rangers, alive and dead. A wise man once wrote: "With great power, there
must also come great responsibility." You seek only the former, abusing the
With great restraint, I refrained from the use of profanity in this letter,
no matter how much this issue sickens, saddens and disgusts me. And where is
your shame for proposing it? Where is your shame?
SGT Clement Ross (ret.)
Aco 1st BN (RGR) 75th Inf, 1980-83
Berlin Brigade, 1983-86