A Special Forces NCO

Dear Sirs,

I am appalled at Gen. Shinseki's decision to change over 200+ years of Ranger Tradition. Its bad enough that he wants to change the face of the Army to stimulate the procurement rate of our youth. His most recent decision though, smacks of arrogance and thumbs his nose at the untarnished record of the Ranger Regiment.

Yes its true that the Army has an image problem. I am quite sure that everyone knows this fact. I don't believe that sacrificing the hard earned symbol of the best Infantry unit in the world is the way of going about of fixing all of the Army's problems. What's next? Maybe we should start Wearing tabs for everything from Basic to Rifle Qualification, or R&U?

The fact of the matter that the Army as a whole needs a group hug should not be laid on the back of the hardest working units in the Army, to have to suck up the fact that their Distinction of Honor should fall by the wayside to allow the Army to embrace them as comrades.

The Ranger Battalions are Special and have Earned the right to be able to Have the one thing that distinguishes them from the rest of the crop! One of the proudest days of my life was the day that I earned my Black Beret! It was only after I had been received at 2ND Ranger Bn., That I realized that in order to keep that Beret I would have to keep Earning it Every day that I spent in the Ranger Regt. It takes a special man to live the Ranger Creed every day, I know this from doing it, and I know my brothers are still doing just that.

I haven't been in 2ND Bn. For along time, I am in SF now, but I feel that The Rangers have earned and are earning their right to wear that beret. Some of my brothers in SF don't understand why I am mad about this. I have to explain this to a lot of them, They don't quite get it and I know its because they haven't had the experience of being in a Ranger Battalion. I am much more proud of my Black Beret, than the one I wear now, The Green Beret.

I don't think that a new piece of headgear army wide is going to rectify any of the army's deep-rooted image problems. I do not want to offend or insult any one's intelligence but I think there is a big difference between a soldier who turns wrenches on vehicles, and one who Arrives at the Cutting Edge of Battle. True both soldiers provide a great and different service, but I know which one I would want fighting next to me on the battlefield.

If the Army wants a Beret fine, so be it. I don't feel that the units of distinction should have to pay for it on their back. After all they are special for a reason, and Thank God for that. Let the Army choose another unused color.

If Gen. Shinseki wanted to wear a black Beret he could have volunteered to be in the Ranger Regt when he had the chance! That also goes for anyone else who is jealous enough to assume that people just get handed special headgear. The Army fails to recognize that the Ranger Regt. Is unique and serves with distinction for reasons other than the piece of headgear that they adorn, ask any Marine if he joined for the Uniform! Anyone who wishes to wear a Black Beret needs to read the Ranger Creed and step forward and volunteer to be reassigned to the Ranger Regiment.

Please allow the Rangers to keep their Esprit De Corps, and help keep Respect and Honor to those serving, Past, Present, to the Fallen, and to the Airborne Ranger in The Sky!

Don't Take Away the right of a Special Unit to Remain Special.

Rangers Lead The Way!

A Special Forces NCO