LTC(Ret.) Donald Jordan, US Army Retired

Subj: Fwd: What A Crock!
Date: 10/26/2000 4:03:20 PM Pacific Daylight Time
From: CORDON12

Senator, I am a personal close friend of Lacy and Jane Smith whom I know you likewise know very well. Lacy and I are comrades in arms and have remained very close in retirement. I attach this personal note to the attached forwarded action I have initiated on behalf of the US Army Rangers (who are under gag order from Gen. Shinseki) and especially on behalf of the family of deceased Ranger Jimmy Markwell. I am very good friends with William and Sandee Rouse, the stepfather and mother of Jimmy Markwell. As you know he gave his all in Operation Just Cause. The Rouse's have maintained very close ties to the Rangers at Ft. Stewart (Hunter AAF), Ga. following Jimmy's death.

They have been deeply hurt by Gen. Shinseki's decree about it becoming the common place headgear of the entire Army. I only hope that you and your fellow members of Congress who might agree with my comments can do something to get the General to see the light and withdraw his decree as regards the black beret.

Thank you for your time and hopefully your effort in this matter which affects the morale of a very important force of our peacekeeping Army.


Donald R. Jordan
Lt. Col., USA-Ret

Senator, I think the decree by Gen. Shinseki about the whole Army wearing the black beret is a crock. This comes as a slap in the face of the elite Rangers when morale is at a low point throughout the military.

I find no fault in trying something to boost the morale of the entire Army but to take the Black Beret away from the Rangers is not the answer in my opinion.

Back in the late '40 and '50 the airborne was the elite force. When you won your jump wings and were authorized to wear your dress uniform trousers bloused over shinny jump boots (they were very distinctive from other issue boots) you were a "leg" and you had arrived. I was not a jumper but I was an Army brat in '49 and 50 at Fort Bragg and I knew the pride that went with those who were part of the 82nd and other airborne units. In 1950 I joined the active Army and always took pride in the parts of the uniform I was authorized to wear. I later went to flight school and was very proud of the aviator wings -- later senior and finally master wings I "earned" before I retired as a Lt. Col. in 1973. I know that I would have become very upset if someone had come along and said that just because they rode in my airplane they were now authorized to wear wings that I had worked hard to earn. I fully appreciate the feeling of the Rangers about their distinctive headgear.

It shows that they have worked hard to win the honor of wearing that black beret. It only lowers it's meaning to a very common place to make it standard headgear for the rest of the Army who have done nothing to earn the right.

I only hope that Gen. Shinseki is big enough to admit that he made a mistake. I know that he anticipated resistance when, following his decree, his staff issued a gag order on all active duty rangers.

I am personal friends with the mother and stepfather of Ranger (deceased) Jimmy Markwell. I know personally how very hurt they are by this decree. They see it not only as a slap in the face of all Rangers but very degrading to their dead son who gave his all in Operation Just Cause. Please, I beg of you, to stop this farce if you possibly can.

Just as an aside, why didn't Gen. Shinseki pick on the Special Operations types (Green Berets). Is it because it would distract from part of the uniform he personally might be authorized to wear? I would support the proposal of CSM of the Army Jack Tilley regarding an Olive Beret but not for the Rangers but for the rest of the Army might be OK, but LEAVE THE BLACK BERET TO THE RANGERS. History shows that the common soldier is not worthy of this distinctive colored (black) beret. Let history stand and not try to change it.

Thank you for your efforts and your kind ear in this "old soldier's" concern.

Lt. Col, USA-Retired