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Soldier from 21 (Gibraltar 1779–83) Air Assault Battery RA(serving with 16th Air Assault Brigade)

The maroon beret is a military beret and has been an international symbol of elite airborne forces since it was chosen for British airborne forces in World War II. This distinctive head dress was officially introduced in 1942, at the direction of General Frederick Browning, commander of the British 1st Airborne Division.[1] The colour of the beret was reportedly chosen by his wife, the novelist Daphne du Maurier.[1] It was first[citation needed] worn by the men of the Parachute Regiment in action in North Africa during November 1942. Although they are colored maroon, the beret of the British Parachute Regiment is often known as the "red beret."

Australian Army[edit | edit source]

Maroon berets were worn with the Royal Australian Regiment Badge by paratroopers in the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment and the following individual Corps badges for those paratroopers from A Field Battery or any soldiers within the Airborne Battle Group (Transport, Catering, Medical etc.).The Parachute Training School "Army" was raised in mid-1974 & all qualified parachutists wore the beret with individual Corps Badges until a few years ago Previously also by the Airborne Platoon Royal Australian Regiment 1951-1974, then the Australian Special Air Service Company with the Royal Australian Infantry Corps Badge it was formed with some members from Airborne Platoon RAR & others. When the Special Air Service Regiment was formed this was replaced by the tan beret with SASR Badge(sometimes referred to as the sandy beret). Currently 2Cdo formed from 4 RAR have replaced 3RAR's Parachuting function they wear a Green Beret with a Cdo Badge

Bangladesh Army[edit | edit source]

All members of the Bangladesh Army special forces para commando battalions wear Maroon Berets with para commando cap badge. Besides all members of the Army Medical Corps, Army Dental Corps and Armed Forces Nursing Services of Bangladesh Army wear Maroon Berets with respective cap badges.

Belgian Army[edit | edit source]

The Paracommando Brigade (Belgium) wear the maroon beret with various types of cap badges.

Brazilian Army[edit | edit source]

In the Brazilian Army, the use of maroon berets and brown boots is restricted to the members of the Airborne Infantry Brigade (Brigada de Infantaria Paraquedista) one of the elite brigades of the Brazilian Armed Forces.

British Army[edit | edit source]

British Army Regiments wear distinctive headdress and cap badges which often reflect regimental history.

Members of the Parachute Regiment and other arms in 16th Air Assault Brigade are permitted to wear the maroon beret irrespective of qualification, having qualified as military parachutists. The beret is often called the "red beret" and the Parachute Regiment is known as the "red berets" or (within the Army) the "maroon machine".[2][3]

Canadian Army[edit | edit source]

Jump-qualified personnel in parachute units of the Canadian Forces wear the maroon, provided they are in a designated parachute position. These are as follows:

Chilean Army[edit | edit source]

Since the creation of the Armored Cavalry in the Army, all personnel who serve in the Armored Cavalry unit wear maroon berets, using the same badges regardless of each member's speciality. Specialists in Armored Cavalry are trained in the Escuela de Caballería Blindada del Ejército (Armored Cavalry School of Army), and currently it is only branch of service whose members all wear berets; the other berets used in the Chilean Army distinguished only specialists (mountain troops, paratroopers, or special forces) and, in the last years, the combined branch of service regiment, called Regimientos Reforzados.

Czech Army[edit | edit source]

Czech Army Rapid Reaction Brigade's airborne capable personnel wears the Maroon(red) berets. Special Forces wear the dark green beret.

Danish Army Special Forces[edit | edit source]

Danish Army Special Forces, Jægerkorpset wears the Maroon Beret with a brass emblem depicting a hunter's bugle on a black felt liner. The beret is issued after completion of 16 weeks of SF training. However, not before 1 year of additional satisfactory service in JGK is the wearer issued the shoulder patch "JÆGER" and may call himself by this name.

French Army[edit | edit source]

Béret rouge.jpg

Since the First Indochina War, the French paratroopers wear a dark red beret. French Foreign Legion paratroopers wear a green beret though.

Finnish Army[edit | edit source]

The Finnish parachute jaeger corps (Finnish: Laskuvarjojääkärikomppania) trains personnel in the Utti Jaeger Regiment, Utti, Finland. Jump-qualified personnel are allowed to wear the maroon beret.

German Army[edit | edit source]

A maroon beret is worn by the German Kommando Spezialkräfte (KSK, Special Forces) and by all members of the Division Spezielle Operationen (DSO, containing airborne troops) and the Division Luftbewegliche Operationen (DLO).

Greek Army[edit | edit source]

Maroon berets are worn by 71η Αερομεταφερόμενη Ταξιαρχία Πεζικού and by members of Αεροπορία Στρατού.

Guatemalan Army[edit | edit source]

Maroon berets are worn by Kaibiles, Guatemala's special forces.

India[edit | edit source]

Army[edit | edit source]

The Indian Army's 50th (Independent) Parachute Brigade, including the minor/support units of the formation, the President's BodyGuard, a ceremonial guard unit with their operational role as the pathfinder company of the parachute brigade, and the special forces units wear the maroon beret.

Air Force[edit | edit source]

Indian Air Force's special operations force, Garud Commando Force, also wears the maroon beret and are parachute trained, with some personnel even freefall qualified, though their operational role is still questionable, limited to guarding the air force top brass and show of strength at various public events like the Aero India, the annual air show held at Bangalore, Karnataka, India.

Para-Military Forces[edit | edit source]

The Special Frontier Force of the Home Ministry are parachute trained and wear the maroon beret.

The specially trained part of the Central Industrial Security Force for the protection of airports and other vital installations take the cue from the Army's Special Forces and have adopted the Maroon Beret as their headgear, though they are not parachute trained, thus diluting the airborne ethos.

Indonesian Army[edit | edit source]

Maroon beret is the official headgear of Army Aviation Center. This beret is worn by all its personnels. Established on March 23, 2007, the beret replaced all the berets previously used by the personnels.

Israeli Army[edit | edit source]

In the Israel Defense Forces, maroon beret is worn by the Tzanhanim Airborne Brigade and elite special forces units (Sayeret Matkal, Oketz, Maglan, Duvdevan and others).

Italian Army[edit | edit source]

A soldier of the Italian Folgore Brigade.

In the Italian Armed Forces, maroon beret is only worn by paratroopers: Army Folgore Brigade, the Carabinieri Regiment "Tuscania" and G.I.S., and the Police elite unit Nucleo Operativo Centrale di Sicurezza

Malaysian Army and Police[edit | edit source]

Army[edit | edit source]

The Malaysian Army's elite 10 Paratrooper Brigade has worn the maroon beret since its establishment in 1994.

Police[edit | edit source]

The Malaysian Police Pasukan Gerakan Khas A-Detachment or Special Actions Unit has worn the maroon beret since in 1975.

Mexican Army[edit | edit source]

The maroon berets are worn by Mexico's Parachute Rifle Brigade called the Brigada de Fusileros Paracaidistas created in 1969 as a rapid response team.

Netherlands Army[edit | edit source]

The Dutch Army's Air Mobile Force/Light infantry, 11 Luchtmobiele Brigade, which translates to 11Air Mobile Brigade, wear "The Maroon Berets" (aka the Red Beret) as a sign of their status upon completion of their training.

Norwegian Army[edit | edit source]

The Norwegian army special forces has worn the maroon beret since its establishment in 1981.

Pakistan Army[edit | edit source]

The Special Service Group (SSG) wears a maroon beret with a silver SSG badge on a sky blue flash. Line infantry regiments which were parachute trained wore their own regiments' berets till airborne role was taken away from infantry and assigned to SSG which became the army's only airborne outfit from 1964 onwards. In addition to SSG, Army Aviaiton and Air Defence, Army medical corps wear maroon berets

Pakistan Navy[edit | edit source]

Navy's Special Service Group, SSG(N) wear maroon berets

Pakistan Airforce[edit | edit source]

PAF's elite Special Service Wing (SSW) wears maroons berets

Polish Army[edit | edit source]

Maroon beret is worn by paratroops, for its colour called in Polish Czerwone Berety, and also: air cavalry and special forces. The beret is always decorated with embroidered White Eagle (Polish coat of arms) and rank insignia. It is used as well with ceremonial uniform and field uniform.

Portuguese Armed Forces[edit | edit source]

The maroon beret was worn - from 1971 to 1974 - by the GEP (Grupos Especiais Paraquedistas, Parachute Special Groups), a paramilitary counter-insurgency airborne unit that served the Portuguese Armed Forces in the Mozambican War of Independence.

Russian Armed Forces[edit | edit source]

The maroon beret is worn by members of elite MVD Spetsnaz units, although it is referred to as 'Krapoviy' meaning crimson. In a contrast to the Western style, Russian troops wear the badge over the right eye on the beret. In the Soviet era, paratroopers wore a maroon beret until the late 1960s when General Vasily Filipovich Margelov decided that a maroon beret for paratroopers was a Western idea and introduced a cornflower blue beret. This may have been influenced by the cornflower blue of the Soviet Air Force and the cornflower blue helmets worn by Soviet paratroopers during the Great Patriotic War.

Military of Serbia[edit | edit source]

Special Brigade

Singapore Armed Forces Commandos[edit | edit source]

The Maroon Beret or Red Beret is worn by the elite commandos of the Singapore Armed Forces depicting their status as an elite airborne and special forces unit.

South African Special Forces and Paratroops[edit | edit source]

The maroon beret is worn by both the Special Forces Brigade, the former 44 Parachute Brigade 1978 to 1999 and currently 44 Parachute Regiment 2000 to present

Spanish Army[edit | edit source]

The 1st King's Immemorial Infantry Regiment of AHQ, the oldest military unit in the world, wears the maroon beret.

The Regimiento de Inteligencia 1 (Intelligence Regiment 1) based in Valencia wears the maroon beret, as do all units belonging to the Cuartel General Terrestre de Alta disponibilidad (GTAD)

Sri Lanka Army[edit | edit source]

The Commando Regiment of the Sri Lanka Army wears the maroon beret, and is the only Sri Lankan military unit to use it.

Swedish Army[edit | edit source]

A maroon beret is worn by Fallskärmsjägarna (or Fallskärmsjägarkåren: Parachute Ranger Corps), a jump qualified Swedish military special operations unit. The unit is an airborne commando unit focused on intelligence gathering and squad to platoon level combat deep behind enemy lines.

Royal Thai Army[edit | edit source]

The Royal Thai Army Special Operations Force and paratroopers in the 31st Infantry Regiment (Royal Guard) wear the maroon beret.

Turkish Army[edit | edit source]

The Turkish Army's Special Operations Force, Bordo Bereliler, which translates as "The Maroon Berets", is named for their distinctive headgear.

Ukraine[edit | edit source]

Episode tests for the right to wear the maroon beret (Lugansk detachment of Berkut, Ukraine)

Berkut (Ukraine), a militarized police.

United States[edit | edit source]

USAF Pararescue Beret
Maroon beret with Pararescue Flash
Air Force Combat Controller scarlet beret with flash

United States Air Force[edit | edit source]

United States Air Force Pararescue personnel wear a maroon beret while Combat Controllers wear a brighter scarlet beret.

Pararescuemen (PJs) are among the most highly trained emergency trauma specialists in the U.S. military and the only ones in the Department of Defense specifically trained and equipped to conduct conventional and unconventional rescue processes, making them the ideal force to handle personnel recovery and combat search and rescue operations. In early 1966, General John P. McConnell, then Air Force Chief of Staff, approved the wearing of the maroon beret. The beret symbolizes the blood sacrificed by Pararescuemen and the blood willing to be sacrificed should the need come as well as their devotion to duty by aiding others in distress. To Pararescuemen, living up to their motto, "That Others May Live," is a daily reality.[4]

Combat Controllers (CCTs) are ground combat forces specialized in a traditional pathfinder role while having a heavy emphasis on simultaneous air traffic control, fire support and command, control, and communications in covert or austere environments.

Brigadier General Joseph Votel, U.S. Army, Deputy Commanding General of the 82nd Airborne Division wearing the maroon beret.

United States Army[edit | edit source]

In 1943 General Sir Frederick Browning, commander of the British First Airborne Corps, granted a battalion of the US Army's 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment honorary membership in the British Parachute Regiment and authorized them to wear British-style maroon berets. US Army advisers to Vietnamese airborne forces wore the Vietnamese French-style red beret during the Vietnam War.[1]

Headquarters, Department of the Army (HQDA) policy from 1973 through 1979 permitted local commanders to encourage morale-enhancing distinctions. Airborne forces chose to wear the maroon international parachute beret as a mark of distinction. However due to the variety to headgear utilized at unit level, such as the Stetson being used in cavalry units, this permission was rescinded in 1979 when the army introduced a policy of standardized headgear. Exceptions were allowed for the continued wearing of the black beret (changed to tan in 2001) for the 75th Ranger Regiment & Ranger Training Brigade,[5] and the green beret for Special Forces. On 28 November 1980 permission was given for airborne organizations to resume wearing the maroon beret. Most U.S. paratroopers refer to it as a red beret, which history and tradition mandates, out of respect for their WWII British allies.[1]

Venezuelan National Guard[edit | edit source]

The Venezuelan National Guard is the fourth component of Venezuelan Army Force (Army, Navy, Air Force and National Guard), responsible for all military operations (Land, Air, Sea) that secure the public order including antidrug operation, administrative police (customs police and cooperation with SENIAT), external security of jail, public security, citizen security, environment police, and the cooperation with the army, navy and air force for military operations in the defense of the nation. They account to one Unit of Special Forces (Grupo Acciones de Comando) involving many military special operations such as Assault, Recon.

Footnotes[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

Other military berets by color:

References[edit | edit source]

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