From Heather James, her husband is a Ranger who serves in the Regiment

October 27, 2000

General Eric Shinseki
Chief of Staff, Army
200 Army Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20310-0200

General Shinseki:

I am writing in response to your recent announcement regarding the adoption of the black beret army wide. I urge you to reconsider this matter. If a beret is part of the new image for the army then there is no reason that beret needs to be black. I'm sure you have received a mountain of correspondance about this black beret. I can understand wanting to improve the standard and create the esprit de corps that the Rangers exhibit. Wouldn't it be nice to have an entire army full of dedicated soldiers like that.

I recently met SMA Tilley at the Ranger Rendezvous 50th Anniversary of the Korean war ranger, had I known this was in the works, I would have given him my thoughts on this matter. I feel like the men who have served in the 75th Ranger Regiment past and present have been slapped in the face and it is not something those very special men deserve.

I am proud to be part of the Ranger Family. My husband continues to serve the Regiment now. We will always proudly serve together for the good of the army. Yes there are sacrifices to make when you are in this Regiment. It means daddy is gone a lot. My husband travelled 39 weeks last year. It was his job to do so. You may think giving someone 4 day weekends is part of your grand scheme to improve morale. There are plenty of 4 day weekends on the calendar every year. Just ride through the parking lot in any Ranger battalion and the lot will be nearly full. There is the mission to think of, things to be made ready, planning to be done, so that when the call comes, you will have that well oiled combat machine called the Rangers there to lead the way. That is the dedication that comes with wearing the black beret.

Make the harder right decision. You don't want to be remembered as "that guy" who belittled the history and future of the finest soldiers ever trained by our country. Choose another color. It will be a mistake to do otherwise.


Heather James
Ranger wife