Ranger Lewis J. Femiano, Veteran of P/75 Ranger in the Vietnam War

Dear Sirs,

By now I know you have received quite a few emails and letters from many fine Americans expressing the displeasure regarding your decision to grant the black beret to all army personal. Please count this email as one also.

I had the Honor to serve with Papa Company 75INF AIRBORNE RANGERS 1969/1970, Vietnam. I Volunteered for the RANGERS because I wanted to be the very best soldier I could be! I wanted to be a part of the very best fighting unit that my country had to offer! Not every man can be a RANGER and not every man Wants to be a RANGER. That's the way it is and THAT'S the way it should be! The Beret like the combat patch, the C.I.B, ( A GENERALS STARS ) and other forms of recognition for individual or UNIT achievements become part of their identities.

I have known fine men that sacrificed their lives while earning the right to wear the black Beret!

Sir quite frankly, the Black Beret is not yours to give, issue or disburse to anyone!

The Black Beret is a tested standard, tested and true. Tested with human lives.

Even in the Ranger community the Beret is earned not given. The Beret is part of what being a Ranger is about. To me it represents the journey it took to be considered a Ranger! That journey is on going throughout a mans life.

I didn't stop being a Ranger in 1970 nor did my fallen comrades.

In closing on the issue of lack of moral of new enlisted men and women will not be fixed with a piece of clothing. Lack of morale is a sign of poor leadership. Only through personal contact will you be able to instill morale.

Training will teach and give the soldier pride and experience he will need to accomplish his or her objective. This is where it all must start. Please don't turn the Black Beret into a paper tiger it will not help the Army. The Black Beret will not give lasting moral to all the Army no more than a set of Generals Stars will grant across the board leadership qualities! It's the Journey not the destination that teaches. Sir Chrome wont get you home.

Thank You,

Ranger Lewis J. Femiano,