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Green beret

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For other units that wear green berets, see Military beret. For other uses, see Green beret (disambiguation). The green beret was the official headdress of the British Commandos of World War II. It is still worn with pride by members of theRoyal Marines after passing the Commando Course and any member of the British Military who has passed the All Arms Commando Course. There are certain other military organizations which also wear the green beret because they have regimental or unit histories that have a connection with the British Commandos of World War II. These include the Australia and French and Dutch commandos and the United States Army Special Forces (Green Berets). Although it is unusual for American units to wear a distinctive headdress, it is the norm in the armed forces of the Commonwealth Nations, where most regiments wear hats or cap badges which reflect regimental battle honours and traditions.

1 Origins 2 Australian commandos 3 French commandos 4 Dutch commandos 5 Royal Marine Commandos 6 United States Army Special Forces 7 Notes 8 References

Initially those who joined the British Commandos kept their parent regimental headdress and cap badges. In 1941 No. 1 Commando had no fewer than 79 different cap badges and many different forms of headdress.[1] "Thus a motley collection of caps, tam-o-shanters, bonnets, forage caps, caps 'fore and aft', berets, peaked KD caps, etc., appeared on the Commando parades," says Captain Oakley, "the forest being a veritable RSMs nightmare!"[2] No. 2 Commando and No. 9 Commando faced with the same problem had adopted the Tam o' Shanter, but, as a traditional Scottish headdress, this was not considered suitable for what was a British unit. After some discussion it was agreed that if No 1 Commando was to adopt a uniformed headdress then the beret, which had been worn by the Tank Regiment since the first world war (and had recently been adopted by the

Parachute Regiment), would meet the requirements: it had no British regional affinity, it was difficult to wear improperly, and it could be easily stowed away without damage (when for example tin hats were in use).[2] Having decided on the headdress, the next question to be resolved was the colour. The shoulder insignia of No. 1 Commando had been designed by the Richmond Herald at the College of Arms. It incorporated three colours in its design of a green salamander going through fire: red, yellow and green. Green was chosen as the most suitable.[2] A Scottish firm of tam-o-shanter makers in Irvine (Ayrshire) was chosen to design and manufacture the beret.[3] Once the design was agreed, Brigadier Robert Laycock was approached by No. 1 Commando to seek his permission to wear it. He had been pondering on what the commandos should use for their headdress, and welcomed the green beret as a chance to introduce it as standard for all commando formations, with No. 1 Commando being the first to don them.[2] The proposal that the commandos should start wearing green beret as their official headdress was submitted to the Chief of Combined Operations and forwarded by Lord Mountbatten to the Under-Secretary of State for War. Approval was granted and in October 1942 the first green berets were issued to the Royal Marines. [1]



Australian Commandos berets are known as being "Sherwood Green" in colour.[4] The green beret is only awarded to a soldier upon becoming qualified as a Commando in either of the below Regiments.

1st Commando Regiment 2nd Commando Regiment. Formerly 4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, a special forces unit of the Australian Army



Commandos Marine

The Commandos Marine are an lite special operations unit of the French navy. Formed during the Second World War in Britain, they use the same green berets as the British commandos. They are called brets verts (green berets).



The Special Forces of the Netherlands consist mainly of the KCT (Korps Commando Troepen). Their motto is 'Nunc aut Nunquam' which is Latin for 'Now or Never'. The roots of the KCT go back to World War II. Under the name No. 2 (Dutch) Troop, the first Dutch commandos were trained in Achnacarry, Scotland, as part of No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando. The unit was formed on March 22, 1942, the birthday of the present KCT.


Marine Commandos

Main article: Royal Marine Commandos

Royal Marine (2002)

In the United Kingdom all Royal Marines who have passed the Commando Course wear the green beret. Personnel from the Royal Navy, British Army, and Royal Air Force volunteering for service with 3 Commando Brigade undertake the All Arms Commando Course, completion of which allows the individual to wear the headdress. Commando-qualified Royal Marines always wear the green beret, with the Globe and Laurel cap badge, but commando-qualified personnel from other services wear the beret, with their own cap badge, when serving with commando units unless otherwise authorised.[5] The Commando Badge of a FS fighting knife on a triangular patch is worn on the sleeve in perpetuity by those who have passed the course.[6]


States Army Special Forces

Main article: United States Army Special Forces

US Army Special Forces

In the U.S. armed forces, the green beret may be worn only by soldiers awarded the Special Forces Tab, signifying they have been qualified as Special Forces (SF) soldiers. The Special Forces beret is officially designated "beret, man's, wool, rifle green, army shade 297." U.S. Special Forces adopted the Green Beret unofficially in 1954 after searching for a piece of headgear that would set them apart as an elite fighting force. Members of the 77th SFG began searching through their collections of berets and settled on the Rifle Green color of the British Commandos. Captain Frank Dallas had the new beret designed and produced in small numbers for the members of the Special Forces.[7] Their new headdress was first worn at a retirement parade at Fort Bragg on 12 June 1955 for Lieutenant General Joseph P. Cleland, the now-former commander of the XVIII Airborne Corps. Onlookers thought that the commandos were a foreign delegation from NATO.[8] In 1956 General Paul D. Adams, the post commander at Fort Bragg, banned its wear, even though it was worn surreptitiously when deployed overseas. This was reversed on 25 September 1961 by Department of the Army Message 578636, which designated the green beret as the exclusive headdress of the Army Special Forces. When visiting the Special Forces at Fort Bragg on 12 October 1961, President John F. Kennedy asked Brigadier General William P. Yarborough to make sure that the men under his command wore green berets for the visit. Later that day, Kennedy sent a memorandum which included the line: "I am sure that the green beret will be a mark of distinction in the trying times ahead." By America's entry into the Vietnam War, the green beret had become a symbol of excellence throughout the US Army. On April 11, 1962 in a White House memorandum to the United States Army, President Kennedy reiterated his view: "The green beret is a symbol of excellence, a badge of courage, a mark of distinction in the fight for freedom." To no avail, both Yarborough and Edson Raff had previously petitioned the Pentagon to allow wearing of the green beret. The President, however, did not fail them.

In addition to being the headdress of the United States Army Special Forces, "Green Berets" is also a well known nickname of the organization.