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US Army Private wearing black beret with Distinctive Unit Insignia on the US Army beret flash

Berets have been a component of the uniforms of many armed forces throughout the world since the mid-20th century. Military berets are usually pushed to the right to free the shoulder that bears the rifle on most soldiers, but the armies of some European countries have influenced the push to the left.

Berets are in some countries particularly associated with elite units, who often wear berets in more unusual colours. Examples include the grey of the Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps, maroon of Commonwealth parachute troops and the Danish Jægerkorpset, the green of the Royal Marines Commandos, Finnish Marine Commandos (Coastal Jaegers), French Commandos (Bérets verts), French Foreign Legion, Irish Army Ranger Wing, Rhodesian Light Infantry and United States Army's Special Forces (Green Berets); the scarlet of the elite Soviet Internal Troops (Spetsnaz); the beige or tan of Commonwealth special forces units (SAS) and United States Army Rangers; the grey of the new Polish GROM; or the wide black of French Chasseurs alpins, the first military unit to have worn berets.

History[edit | edit source]

Carlist forces in Spain, 1838

The informal use of berets by the military of Europe dates back hundreds of years, one example being the Blue Bonnet, that became a defacto symbol of Scottish forces in the 16th and 17th centuries. As an officially required military headdress, its use dates back to the Carlist Wars of Succession for the Spanish Crown in the 1830s by order of General Tomás de Zumalacárregui who wanted a local and non-costly way to make headgear that was resistant to the mountain weather and easy to care for and be used on formal occasions. Other countries followed suit after the creation of the French Chasseurs alpins in the early 1880s. These mountain troops were issued with a uniform which included several features which were innovative for the time, notably the large and floppy blue beret which they still retain. This was so unfamiliar a fashion outside France that it had to be described in the Encyclopædia Britannica of 1911 as "a soft cap or tam o'shanter."[1]

Berets have features that make them very attractive to the military: they are cheap, easy to make in large numbers, can be manufactured in a wide range of colors, can be rolled up and stuffed into a pocket or beneath the shirt epaulette without damage, and can be worn with headphones (this is one of the reasons why tank crews adopted the beret). The beret is not so useful in field conditions for the modern infantryman, who requires protective helmets, and is usually not seen worn by infantry on operations.

The beret was found particularly useful as a uniform for armored-vehicle crews, and the British Tank Corps (later Royal Tank Corps) adopted the headdress as early as 1918, despite complaints that the beret was "too foreign and feminine". German AFV crews in the late 1930s also adopted a beret with the addition of a padded crash helmet inside. The color black became popular as a tank-crew headdress, since it did not show oil stains picked up inside the interior of a vehicle. Black berets continue to be worn by armoured regiments throughout the Commonwealth.

Berets have become the default military headdress of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, just as the morion, tricorne, shako, kepi, and peaked cap were each common headgear in their own respective eras. The beret is now worn by many military personnel of the majority of nations across the world.

Military berets by country[edit | edit source]

Afghanistan[edit | edit source]

Most berets are used by senior enlisted personnel and officers.

Angola[edit | edit source]

In the Angola Armed Forces, the following berets are in use:

  • Green — Paratroopers (Páraquedistas)
  • Maroon — Commandos
  • Brown — General use
  • Sky blue — Air Force
  • Black — Navy and Marines (Naval Infantry)

Armenia[edit | edit source]

The Armed Forces continue to wear Soviet-style (pieced fabric) berets, which are draped to the right in most circumstances. When appearing in public on parade, the berets are draped to the left side so that the insignia shows to observing dignitaries and the public.

  • Light blue - Airborne Forces, Peacekeeping Forces
  • Black - Interior Ministry Troops
  • Wine red - Interior Ministry Special Troops
  • Bright Green - Border Guards

Argentina[edit | edit source]

Berets are worn by some units in the Argentine Armed Forces, with distinctive colors for some units or functions. The beret colours are as follows:

Australia[edit | edit source]

Berets were worn by all corps in the Australian Army, with distinctive colors for some units:.[2] From September 2010 all berets were banned for wear by the army for daily wear, except for special forces. However some units will be permitted to retain them for ceremonial occasions[3]

Navy Blue Berets are issued head-dress in the Royal Australian Navy; however, they are most commonly worn by Clearance Divers and qualified Submariners - that said, they are still a regulation uniform item for any naval personnel. Blue berets in the Royal Australian Air Force, but only by qualified Airfield Defence Guards and Ground Defence Officers. Terracotta berets are worn by Multinational Force and Observers contingents. In all cases, the beret is pushed over to the right, and a badge (a.k.a. "flash" insignia) worn above the left eye.

Austria[edit | edit source]

Austrian green beret.

Berets are common in most parts of the Army, and are usually worn for special occasions, but also regularly by certain forces.

  • Grass green — Infantry, all troops that do not wear another color
  • Olive greenJagdkommandos (formerly maroon)
  • Black — Mechanized troops, anti-tank troops, artillery, reconnaissance, combat engineers
  • Wine red — Jägerbataillon 25 (paratroopers)
  • Scarlet red — Guard of Honour
  • Coral red — Military Police
  • Yellow green — Sports Center of the Army
  • Pike grey — NBC Defence School
  • Rust brown — Signal School
  • Navy blue — Logistics School, Mission Support Command (Kdo Einsatzunterstützung)
  • Blue — UN

Bahrain[edit | edit source]

  • Black - Royal Bahraini Army and Royal Bahraini Naval Force
  • Blue - Royal Bahraini Air Force
  • Maroon - Military Police
  • Tan - Special Forces
  • Green - Royal Guard

Bangladesh[edit | edit source]

  • Black — Armoured corps
  • Bangladesh Green — Infantry
  • Dull Cherry — Army Medical corps
  • Scarlet — Military police
  • Maroon — Commandos
  • Royal Blue — Engineers, Service corps
  • Dark Blue — Education corps, Electrical and mechanical engineers, Ordnance, Artillery, Signals, Army Dental corps

Belgium[edit | edit source]

Initially, the only unit of the Belgian military to wear berets were the Chasseurs Ardennais from the 1930s. Since World War II they have been adopted by all units. Berets vary in colour according to the regiment, and carry a badge (sometimes on a coloured shield-shaped patch) which is of gilt for officers, silver for non-commissioned officers and bronze for other ranks. Members of cavalry units all wear silver coloured badges.

A Belgian UN peacekeeper in Somalia, wearing a standard UN blue beret and badge, 1993.

  • Maroon — Paracommando Immediate Reaction Cell (HQ), 1 Para, 3 Para, Special Forces Group, Parachute Training Centre
  • Green — 2 Commando, Paracommando Field Artillery and the Commando Training Centre
  • Olive Green (large-brimmed, basque type with folded-in brim and wild boar's head badge ) — Chasseurs Ardennais
  • Brown — Infantry, Chasseurs à Pieds and Belgian United Nations Command (during the Korean War)
  • Black — Armoured troops, Guides (Scouts), Chasseurs à Cheval and some engineer units
  • Dark blue — Artillery and Royal Military Academy
  • Cobalt blue — Logistics and administration troops
  • Grey — Transmission troops and some engineer units
  • Bright red — Military police
  • Grey-blue — Air component
  • Light blue — former Land component Light Aviation (now part of Air Component)
  • Navy blue (no metal cap badge, but embroidered crest) — Navy component (Formerly also naval infantry with metal badge)
  • Dark green — Medical component
  • Khaki — "General service" beret with lion badge worn on training by all troops (Obsolete)

Benin[edit | edit source]

  • Black — Armoured corps.
  • Maroon — Paratroopers.
  • Green — Infantry and other Army units.
  • Dark Blue — Gendarmerie.

Bolivia[edit | edit source]

Berets in Bolivian Army:

  • Black — Paratroopers
  • Maroon — Armoured Corps
  • Green — Special Operations Forces, Commandos
  • Camouflage — Special Forces "Bolivian Condors"
  • Blue — Engineer units

Berets in Bolivian Air Force:

  • Royal Blue - Air Force Infantry personnel

Brazil[edit | edit source]

  • Tan — Air Assault Units
  • Dark Blue — Students of Military Formation Schools (Cadets, Officer Candidates, Sargeant Candidates)
  • Black — Armoured troops, Mechanized Infantry, Military Police (Gendarmerie)
  • Camouflage — Jungle Troops
  • Dark brown — Special Operations Group
  • Grey — Mountain Infantry
  • Maroon — Paratroopers
  • Royal blue — Army aviation
  • Scarlet red — Students of Colégio Militar (middle and high school).
  • Green — All other Army units

Bulgaria[edit | edit source]

Berets have been worn by Bulgarian military personnel since 1991. Berets vary in colour according to the military branch, and carry a crest pin (sometimes on a coloured background patch) resembling the unit's insignia.

Cambodia[edit | edit source]

  • Dark red - 911 Special Forces Regiment
  • Royal Purple - Military Police

Canada[edit | edit source]

Main article Uniforms of the Canadian Forces#Berets

The colour of the beret is determined by the wearer's environment, branch, or mission. The beret colours listed below are the current standard:

UN blue personnel serving with the United Nations on peacekeeping missions
scarlet Military Police
maroon Jump-qualified personnel in parachute units of the Canadian Forces
blaze orange Search-and-rescue technicians
terracotta personnel serving with the Multinational Force and Observers
tan Special Forces
black The Canadian Army's Royal Canadian Armoured Corps
CF Green Army
air force blue air force

Chile[edit | edit source]

Berets in Chilean Army:

  • Black — Special Operations Forces (Fuerzas Especiales), Comandos and Paratroopers (Paracaidistas)
  • Maroon — Armoured Corps
  • Green — Mountain troops (Tropas de Montaña)

Berets in Chilean Navy:

  • Black — Missile Craft, Submarines and SSK's crew
  • Green — Combat Diver (Navy) and Comandos Anfibio (Marines Corp Special Operations)

Berets in Chilean Air Force:

  • Dark blue — Ground troops
  • Black — Commandos and Paratroopers

People's Republic of China[edit | edit source]

Since May 5, 2000, the People's Liberation Army has adopted woolen berets for all its personnel,[4] along with the traditional peaked caps. Type 99 beret

  • Olive green — Ground Force and Second artillery force
  • Dark blue — Navy
  • Black - Marine corps
  • Blue-grey — Air Force (including Airborne troops)

Berets were not officially adopted by the CAPF, but some of the forces issued their own types NOT OFFICIAL:

  • Red—CAPF Provincial Women Special Police Corps
  • Dark blue—Public Security Police SWAT

During the 80s, camo berets were issued to some of the recon forces of PLA. It has no badge on it.

Type 07 uniform is being issued to both PLA and CAPF on August 1, 2007. Colours of 07 berets are changed to the same colours with the service uniform. And several changes in designs were made from type 99 beret. The berets were not being issued until summer of 2009 to most of the troops.

Other than colours of the berets, the most significant difference between type 99 and type 07 is the type 99 beret badge is cloth, while type 07 is plastic.

Colombia[edit | edit source]

Berets are worn by all personnel of the Colombian Army (Ejército) and certain members of the Navy (Armada), with distinctive colors for some units or functions. The beret colors are:

  • Black — Lancero Instructors; Naval Infantry (Infantería de Marina)
  • Green — Counterguerrilla Units
  • Maroon — Special Forces (Comandos)
  • Sky Blue — Airborne School Instructors
  • Dark Blue — Brigada Especial Contra el Narcotráfico (BRECNA), the Special Brigade Against Narcotrafficking)

Croatia[edit | edit source]

In the Croatian Army berets are used in special forces and guard brigades.
During Croatian War of Independence, Croatian Army consisted of seven professional brigades—guard brigades, each having its beret colour. During the army reforms number of guard brigades was cut to two, but the battalions kept the names and insignia (colour of beret also) of ex brigades.

Joint staff:

Guard brigades:

  • Armored Mechanized Guard Brigade
    • Black — 1st Mechanized Battalion "Sokolovi"
    • Brown — 2nd Mechanized Battalion "Pume"
    • Black — Tank Battalion "Kune"
  • Motorized Guard Brigade
    • Black — 1st Mechanized Battalion "Tigrovi"
    • Green — 2nd Mechanized Battalion "Gromovi"
    • Black — 1st Motorized Battalion "Vukovi"
    • Red — 2nd Motorized Battalion "Pauci"

Also dark blue beret is used in Croatian Navy.

Czech Republic[edit | edit source]

The Armed Forces of the Czech Republic use berets for both battledress and display uniform. The colour of the beret is defined by the branch of the armed forces. The beret displays the small state coat of arms and the badge of rank of the individual.[5]

  • Orange — Civil defence troops(unit for civil defence doesn´t exist anymore, in case of need it may be deployed all other units)
  • Maroon4th Rapid Deployment Brigade,43rd Airborne Regiment, 601st Special Forces Group
  • Dark green — Reconnaissance troops
  • Light green — Other ground forces (mechanised infantry, armour, artillery, NBC protection, Engineering Brigades, Medical troops, etc.)
  • Dark blue — Air Force
  • Grey — Logistics
  • Black — Military Police

Denmark[edit | edit source]

Danish Army beret. Green marks the soldier as belonging to a combat support regiment. The badge belongs to The Signal Regiment.

The Royal Danish Army uses berets for all its personnel. The Navy and Air Force also use berets.

  • Green — Support troops; artillery; signal (EW); engineers; Army Home Guard; Infrastructure Home Guard
  • Red — Military police
  • Maroon — Jægerkorpset ("Hunter Corps", army special forces)
  • Black — Combat troops (armour, recon and infantry)
  • Dark blue — Royal Danish Navy; Naval Home Guard
  • Light Blue Gray — Royal Danish Air Force; Air Force Home Guard
  • Light blue (also called "mouse grey") — Army Aviation (now disbanded)
  • Dark brown — Danish Women's Voluntarily Corp (Dansk Lottekorps) Disbanded
  • Camouflage — Naval Infantry, Armoured forces of Bornholm (Bornholms Værn's Marineinfantery) Disbanded
  • UN-blue - UN-units

Ecuador[edit | edit source]

Berets are worn by all personnel of the Ecuadorian Army (Ejército) and certain members of the Navy (Armada) and Air Force (Fuerza Aérea), with distinctive colours for some units or functions. The beret colours are:

  • Black — Military Police; Naval Infantry (Infantería de Marina)
  • Red — Paratroopers and Special Operations Forces
  • Dark blue — Army Aviation (Aviación del Ejército); Air Force Aerial Infantry (Infantería Aérea)
  • Dark green — all other Army units; National Police GIR (Intervention & Rescue Unit)
  • Gray — for use with the dress uniform (4-B) for those forces using the dark green beret
  • Camouflage — IWIA (indigenous tribal members unit) forces
  • Royal blue - Air Force Security Police

Egypt[edit | edit source]

File:General Al-Sisi, announcing the removal of President Morsi.png

General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Commander-in-chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces, wearing Black beret

  • Maroon — Paratroopers
  • Forest green — Armour
  • Dark blue — Infantry
  • Dark blue with red band — Presidential Guard
  • Black — Artillery
  • Red — Military Police
  • Green — Engineers

Eritrea[edit | edit source]

All personnel of the EDF or Eritrean Defense Forces wear Berets.

  • Red — Air Force Units
  • Green — Army Units
  • Blue — Naval Units
  • Purple — Border Guard

Estonia[edit | edit source]

All personnel in the Estonian Military used to wear Berets in the beginning on 90's. Nowadays there is no Berets in Estonian Defence Forces although, it is taken to consideration to reinstate Berets again.

  • Green — Ground Forces
  • Black — Armoured Corps, Naval Units
  • Maroon — Special Trained Forces
  • Light Blue — Air Force

Finland[edit | edit source]

The Finnish general Ensio Siilasvuo .

The Finnish Defence Force uses berets with cap badges for the Army, Navy and the Air Force. The berets are worn in "clean" garrison duties such as roll calls and with the walking-out uniform, but not with the battle dress. Until the mid-1990s, the beret was reserved for troops with special status, such as the armoured troops, coastal jägers and the parachute jägers, but is nowadays used by all units. In the winter, berets are replaced by winter headgear.

Berets are also used by the Finnish Frontier Guard, which is a military organization under the aegis of Ministry of Interior during peacetime.

  • Olive-green (Badge: silver lion's head) — Army
  • Olive-green (Badge: golden lion's head with a crown) — Finnish Rapid Deployment Force and units abroad
  • Blue (Badge: Air Force insignia) — Air Force
  • Blue (Badge: silver griffin) — Army aviation
  • Blue (Badge: Harp and sword) — Military bands
  • Dark blue (Badge: Anchor and Lion) — Navy (including coastal troops, but with the exception of coastal jägers)
  • Black (Badge: Armored head) — Armoured Brigade
  • Dark green (Badge: Golden fish eagle's head) — Coastal jägers
  • Maroon (Badge: Arrow and parachute) — Parachute Jägers or Special Jägers (Utti Jäger Regiment)
  • Olive-green (Badge: Golden bear's head, sword and fir tree twig) — Frontier Jägers
  • Brown (Badge: Golden bear's head, sword and fir tree twig) — Special Frontier Jägers

France[edit | edit source]

French marines paratroopers in Rwanda.

The military beret originated in the French Army, in the form of the wide and floppy headdress worn by the Chasseurs Alpins (mountain light infantry) from their foundation in the early 1880s. A tight-fitting version was subsequently adopted by French armoured troops towards the end of World War I. Between the wars, special fortress units raised to garrison the Maginot Line wore khaki berets as did the 13th DBLE of the French Foreign Legion when it was created in 1940. The Vichy Milice of the War period wore a blue beret.

The beret in red, blue or green was a distinction of the Metropolitan, Colonial and Foreign Legion paratroop units during the Indochina and Algerian wars. After 1962 the beret in either light khaki or the colours specified above became the standard French Army headdress for ordinary use.

With the exception of the Naval Commandos (Commandos Marine) and the Naval Infantry (Fusiliers Marins) whose berets are worn pulled to the right, all other French military berets (Army, Airforce & Gendarmerie) are pulled to the left with the badge worn over the right eye or temple. Gendarmerie personnel serving with the European Gendarmerie Force - an EU crisis response & intervention force - wear the standard EUROGENDFOR royal blue beret & badge when so assigned.

Colour Wearer
       Wide dark blue Chasseurs Alpins (the wide beret's nickname is the tarte (pie)) also worn with a white cover (winter dress).
Green French Foreign Legion (badge on right); Naval Commandos (badge on left)
Dark blue Fusiliers Commandos de l'Air; Troupes de Marine & all other Army troops; Gendarmerie Provost; Naval Fusiliers (badge on left)
Red (called amarante) Paratroopers wear red beret (except paratroopers of the Foreign Legion who wear Legion green)
Electric blue Army Light Aviation
Black Armoured regiments (Regiments de Chars de Combat); Gendarmerie GIGN anti-terrorist unit
UN blue Personnel serving with the United Nations on international peacekeeping missions

Gabon[edit | edit source]

Berets in Gabonese Army:

  • Maroon — Paratroopers
  • Light grey — Armoured troops
  • Green — Republican Guard
  • Green — Commandos Marine
  • Dark red — Army Medical Corps
  • Dark blue — other Army units

Germany[edit | edit source]

The German Heer uses berets with cap badges for every branch of service. The Luftwaffe and the Marine issue dark blue berets only to their ground or land combat units (called Luftwaffensicherungstruppe and Marineschutzkräfte)respectively. Berets are usually worn at special ceremonies and roll calls, although units with a special esprit de corps, especially armoured and mechanized infantry (Panzergrenadiere) battalions, wear their berets all the time. German berets are always pulled to the right, with the badge visible over the left temple.

First Sergeant of the Panzerjäger with black beret 1989

  • Black — armoured units, including armoured reconnaissance
  • Maroon — special units, including airborne troops, army aviation, Airmobile Operations Division (DLO; Division Luftbewegliche Operationen), and Division Special Operations (DSO; Division Spezielle Operationen), including the KSK (Kommando Spezialkräfte)
  • Red — support units, including artillery, engineers, intelligence, psychological operations (Operative Information), anti-aircraft, supply, NBC protection, signals, electronic warfare, transport, topography, and military police (Feldjäger), 'Instandssetzung' Vehicle Maintenance
  • Moss green — infantry units, including Jägertruppe, Panzergrenadiere (armoured infantry), and ceremonial guards (Wachbataillon des Heeres) and the now disbanded Panzerjäger (anti-tank);
  • Blue — medical units
  • Dark blue — Luftwaffe (Air Force) and Deutsche Marine (Navy) infantry and ceremonial guards; Offizieranwärterbataillon (Officer Candidate Battalions of the Army) multinational units (e.g. Eurocorps)
  • Light Blue — Troops in UN units

military bands wear the beret colour of their respective division (e.g. black in the 1. Panzerdivision)

Note: The Panzerjäger started off with black berets but were moved into the Panzergrenadier branch. The last Panzerjägers wore green berets.

Ghana[edit | edit source]

The beret colours worn by the Ghana Army are as follows:

  • Black — Armoured Corps
  • Green — Paratroopers.
  • Red — Military police.
  • Dark Blue — All other Arms and Corps

Greece[edit | edit source]

The beret colours worn by the Hellenic Army are as follows:

  • Light blue — Presidential Guard
  • Black — Armoured Corps
  • Green — Special Forces (including Commandos, Marines and Parachute despatchers/riggers)
  • Dark red/maroon — Army Aviation
  • Bright red/scarlet — Airborne troops
  • Dark Blue — All other Arms and Corps when in number 8a 8b and 8c Service Dress.

When in fatigue tigerstripes the camouflaged cap is worn instead of the dark blue beret. The beret colours worn by the Hellenic Air Force are:

  • Blue-grey (same colours as RAF) — Air Force Underwater Operations Squadron
  • Dark red/Maroon — Air Force Special Operations Squadron

Hungary[edit | edit source]

Berets currently in Hungarian military:

  • Black — Armoured Units
  • Crimson — Military Police
  • Green — Paratroopers
  • Scarlet — Artillery

Iceland[edit | edit source]

Icelandic armed services commonly use berets.

India[edit | edit source]

The beret is the standard headgear for the Indian Army. Berets are worn by officers and other ranks, apart from Sikhs, who wear turbans. The beret colours worn by the Indian Army are as follows:

  • Green — Infantry regiments and Military Intelligence
  • Dark (rifle) green — National Cadet Corps and rifle regiments and some light infantry regiments including the Mechanised Infantry Regiment.
  • Maroon — The Parachute Regiment and Special Forces
  • Black — Armoured Corps and the National Security Guards
  • Grey — Army Aviation Corps and the Indian Air Force
  • Scarlet — Corps of Military Police
  • Navy blue — The Regt of Artillery, Arms and services, Indian Navy
  • Sand — Marine Commandos
  • Light Blue — All personnel serving with the United Nations forces irrespective of unit, arm or service
  • Dark Blue- Corps of Engineers and Corps of Signals
  • Red-Corps of Military Police

Indonesia[edit | edit source]

The beret is the headgear of ground forces and military police in the Indonesian Armed Forces. In Military Services (Army, Navy and Air Force), the berets are dragged to the right (the insignia are worn on the left side), while in National Police Service and Military Police units, the berets are dragged to the left (the insignia are worn on the right side).

Military Services:

Indonesian National Police

Iran[edit | edit source]

  • Dark Blue - Iranian Marines
  • Black - Sepah-I-Pasdaran (Revolutionary Guard Special Forces), and Police
  • Green - NOHED Special Forces (Iranian Rangers), Iranian Marines Special Forces
  • Tan - Special Ground Forces

Iraq[edit | edit source]

Iraqi Maroon Beret

  • Bright Red — Military Police
  • Black — Police (formerly Republican Guards)
  • Green — Special Forces (formerly Thunder Paratroops)
  • Blue — Air Force
  • Maroon — Army (formerly Commandos and Paratroops)
  • Khaki (olive green) - Ground Forces (formerly)

Ireland[edit | edit source]

The beret colours worn by Óglaigh na hÉireann (The Irish Defence Forces) are as follows:

All personnel wear a common capbadge, a sunburst insignia with the letters "FF" inscribed above the left eye of the beret; this is the ancient symbol of the Fianna, the ancient Irish warriors. The Irish Defence Forces cap badge for Officers in the Army has a more subdued appearance.

Israel[edit | edit source]

Soldiers of the Nahal Brigade wearing light green berets

Israeli Defense Forces soldiers wear berets only on formal occasions, such as ceremonies and roll calls, and in disciplinary situations such as courts martial and imprisonments. The beret is placed beneath the left epaulette. The beret colors are as follows:

Italy[edit | edit source]

Italian Army personnel used to wear a garrison cap alongside the combination cap, until the early 1970s when the garrison cap was replaced by the beret. Until the early 1980s the general Army colour for the beret was drab khaki, the black being reserved to armoured units. The colours presently used are:

  • Maroon — Paratroopers, Folgore Airborne Brigade; Army Incursori
  • Light Blue — Army Aviation, Airmobile Infantry
  • Black — all other Army units, (Reggimento Luganari Serenissima amphibious infantry received 'Lagoon' green berets in 2011 after service in Afghanistan)

Italian Navy uses the following berets:

  • Green — Navy Commando frogmen Operational Raider Group (COMBUSIN GOI)
  • Medium Blue - Navy Rescue frogmen Operational Divers Group (COMBUSIN GOS)
  • Navy Blue - San Marco Marines of the Italian Navy

Italian army soldiers marched during a military parade.

Italian Air Force uses the following berets:

Other Italian services that use berets:

Japan[edit | edit source]

All members in the Ground Self-Defense Force are authorized to wear wool rifle green berets - referred to as the "ベレー帽" (ベレーボウ or bereebou) - as an optional head covering for dress, working and camouflage uniforms since 1992. However, it is normally considered a special dress item, worn for public relations events or parades. An embroidered goldwork cap badge representing the JGSDF logo identical to the one used on the service dress peaked cap is required by regulation to be affixed to the beret.

Jordan[edit | edit source]

The beret colours worn by the Jordanian Army are as follows:

  • Chocolate brown - Infantry
  • Maroon — Special Forces
  • Black — Armoured Corps
  • Green — Royal Guards
  • Dark Blue - Artillery
  • Mid-blue - Engineers
  • Red — Military police
  • Grey Blue - Air Force

Kenya[edit | edit source]

The beret colours worn by the Kenya Armed Forces are as follows:

  • Black — Armoured Corps
  • Green — Paratroopers
  • Red — Military police
  • Dark Blue - All other Arms and Corps
  • Blue Grey - Air Force

Kuwait[edit | edit source]

  • Green — National Guard
  • Commando Green - Special Forces (formerly Commandos)
  • Black — Army Ground forces
  • Red — Military Police
  • Maroon — Emiri Guard
  • Dark Blue - Air Force and Naval Forces

Latvia[edit | edit source]

The beret colours worn by the Latvian Army are as follows:

  • Olive-green — Parliament and President's Security Service Unit
  • Red — Military police
  • Black - All other Arms and Corps

Lebanon[edit | edit source]

All units, in the Lebanese Armed Forces wear berets when not in combat mode (Helmet), training camp (cap) or formal uniform (formal hat).

The Lebanese Army, unlike most militaries, wears the beret slanted (pulled down) on the left side as the Army embelm is positioned to the right aligned with the right eyebrow.

  • Pigment Green - The Fast Intervention Battalions (SF)(5)
  • Brown - Airborne Bettalion (SF)(1).
  • Red - Military Police
  • Black - Republican Guard Brigade (Presidential Guard).
  • Bordeaux red/Maroon - Rangers Bettalion (SF), Navy Rangers Bettalion (SF)(Seals).
  • Black - Anti-terrorism Unit (SF)(Military Intelligence pronounced in Arabic 'MOKAFAHA' and Strike Force).
  • Dark Blue — The 11 Bregades, Cadets and the rest of the Army.

Lithuania[edit | edit source]

Malaysia[edit | edit source]

Royal Malaysian Air Force PASKAU troops in Langkawi wearing a sky blue berets.

Berets are worn by some units of the Malaysian Armed Forces. The colours presently used are:

  • Maroon — Malaysian Army 10 Paratrooper Brigade
  • Sherwood green — Army Special Forces (Grup Gerak Khas)
  • Rifle green — Royal Malay Regiment (Infantry)
  • Dark blue with black hackle — Royal Ranger Regiment (Infantry)
  • Cypress green — Military Intelligence
  • Cambridge blue — Army Aviation
  • Black — Armour
  • Scarlet — Military Police
  • Dark blue — other Army branches
  • Sky blue — Air Force PASKAU (English: Air Force Special Air Service) commandos and regular aviation
  • Dark blue — Royal Malaysian Navy
  • Magenta — Navy PASKAL (English: Naval Special Warfare Team) commandos

Maldives[edit | edit source]

The beret colours worn by the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) are as follows:

  • Maroon — Special Forces.
  • Red — Military Police.
  • Green — Marines and other support units.
  • Black — Parade Beret.

Mali[edit | edit source]

The beret colours worn by the Malian Armed Forces are as follows:

  • Maroon — Paratroopers.
  • Brown — Republican Guard.
  • Green — Infantry and other army units.
  • Dark blue — Air Force

Mexico[edit | edit source]

In the Mexican Army, the beret is worn by:

  • Green - Special Forces
  • Maroon — Paratroopers (formerly purple, circa 1980s)
  • Black — Presidential Guards Corps
  • Steel Grey — Armor
  • Brown - Airmobile Units

In the Mexican Navy:

  • Black — Paratroopers, Navy Special Forces.

Mongolia[edit | edit source]

In 2002, new army uniforms were introduced to the Mongolian armed forces and along with new uniform design, dark green berets were issued to all personnel. According to the rules, all military berets are pushed to the right and displays "Soyombo" symbol in middle of golden oak leafs in the right side. Berets are worn by Mongolian Police since 1994. Police berets are deferent from the army beret in color and in shape, while it is pushed to the left while army berets are pushed to the right.

Alternative text

Mongolian army soldiers in dark green beret

  • Dark green - All branches of Armed forces
  • Red - Internal troops.
  • Dark blue - National emergency troops (rescuers)
  • Black - Police unit (pushed to the left)
  • Light blue - UN peacekeepers (pushed to the right)

Morocco[edit | edit source]

  • Green - Armed Forces

Nepal[edit | edit source]

Netherlands[edit | edit source]

When the Royal Netherlands Armed Forces acquired new modernised uniforms (designed by the Dutch couturier Frans Molenaar) in 2000, the berets changed as well. Since 2004, soldiers of the Royal Netherlands Army have worn a petrol (blue-green) beret, whereas previously they wore brown.

The following colours are also used (before and after the modernisation):



Note: The only Dutch military unit that do not wear a beret are the Gele Rijders (Horse Artillery), who wear a blue garrison cap with yellow trimming. Air Force:

Military Police:


  • UN blue — All military members of the United Nations
  • Brick red — All military members of the Multinational Force and Observers
  • Dark blue — 1(GE/NL)Corps (Eerste Duits-Nederlandse Legerkorps)

All regiments and services have their own distinctive colours. There are quite a lot, but the number of colours in the logistic services was reduced in 2001. This colour is shown in a patch of cloth behind the beret flash. The intendance (maroon), transport troops (blue), military administration (pink; hence the nickname 'Pink Mafia'), technical service (black), and medical troops and service (green) lost their colours and all now wear yellow patches. In 2010, the components recovered their color, except the administration they got the crimson color.

  • Infantry — Red, except:
    • Grenadier Guards — Red with blue border
    • Rifle Guards — Green with yellow border
    • Fusilier Guards — Orange with blue border
    • Regiment van Heutsz — Black with orange border
    • Limburg Rifles Regiment — Green with maroon border
  • Korps Commandotroepen — Black with dark green border
  • Cavalry (Armour) — Blue with white, red or orange border
  • Cavalry (Reconnaissance) — Blue with black border
  • Artillery — Black with red border
  • Engineers — Brown
  • Signals — Blue with white border
  • Logistics — Yellow
  • Legal Affairs — Black with white border
  • Psychological and Sociological Service — Red
  • Protestant Chaplains — Black
  • Catholic Chaplains — Blue
  • Jewish Chaplains — Black
  • Humanist Society Chaplains — Bright green
  • Hindu Chaplains — Bright blue
  • Troops in Initial Training — Red
  • Royal Military Academy Cadets — Red with yellow border
  • Physical Training Instructors — Blue
  • Technical Staff — Maroon

New Zealand[edit | edit source]

Personnel of the Royal New Zealand Navy wear dark navy blue. Since 1999 all units in the New Zealand Army have worn a universal rifle green beret, except for the Special Air Service, who wear sand colour. Royal New Zealand Air Force personnel do not wear berets.

Nicaragua[edit | edit source]

The Nicaraguan Armed Forces wear berets in the following colours:

Berets in Nicaraguan Army:

  • Green — Special Forces (COE)
  • Black - Generals of Staff´s Protection VIP

Berets in Nicaraguan Navy:

  • Dark Blue — Special Naval Forces

Nigiria[edit | edit source]

  • Dark Green — Army

Norway[edit | edit source]

Norwegian soldier wearing an olive green beret

The Norwegian armed forces use the beret as a garrison cap, but some units (mostly armored vehicle personnel) also use it in the field. The Norwegian beret and all other headwear except those of the Navy and His Majesty The King's Guard always have the current king's cipher as a badge in gold (most of the army) or silver (the air force); currently this is a numeral 5 inside an H, for "Harald V". The navy has a crowned gold anchor for their enlisted personnel, a crowned gold anchor surrounded by a circle of rope for their petty officers, and a crowned golden anchor surrounded by leaved branches for officers. The colours used are:

The special operations units of the Navy wear the same berets as the rest of the navy. However they have a coloured patch behind the cap badge, the colour of which determines the unit:

Pakistan[edit | edit source]

  • Dark Blue - Worn by the General Staff officers (rank of Colonel and above) irrespective of their Regimental association.

Paraguay[edit | edit source]

The Paraguayan Armed Forces wear berets in the following colours:[6]

Berets in Paraguayan Army:

  • Green — Paratroopers
  • Dark Blue - Presidential Guard[7]

Berets in Paraguayan Navy:

Berets in Paraguayan Air Force:

  • Red - Air Force Infantry personnel

Panama[edit | edit source]

Berets were widely worn by many units in the Panamanian Defense Force (PDF) under Manuel Noriega. The PDF was abolished in February 1990, and with it all of the old military units stood down. Unique beret insignia were never approved, so units authorized to wear berets wore a combination of the approved shoulder insignia, as well as rank and qualification insignia (e.g. parachutist wings) on the berets. The following were being worn at the time of the 1989 invasion:

  • Black - 7th Infantry Company "Macho de Monte"; Comando Operacional de Fuerzas Expeciales (COFFEE - Special Forces Command)
  • Maroon - Battalion 2000; 2nd Airborne Infantry Company "Puma"; 3rd Infantry Company "Diablo Rojo"
  • Lime Green - 4th Infantry Company "Urraca"
  • Camouflage - 7th Infantry Company "Macho de Monte"; Comando Operacional de Fuerzas Expeciales (Cadre)

Philippines[edit | edit source]

Philippine Army

Philippine Air Force

  • Dark blue with PAF seal - Philippine Air Force base security personnel
  • Camouflage with PAF seal- Philippine Air Force pararescue
  • Black with SPOW flash - Philippine Air Force 710th Special Operations Wing
  • Black with PSG flash - Philippine Air Force units assigned to the Presidential Security Group
  • UN blue - AFP personnel assigned to UN Peacekeeping Operations and cadets of the Peacekeeping Operations Center

Poland[edit | edit source]

Black berets were introduced before World War II for tank and armoured car crews. During World War II, berets were widely adopted in the Polish Army on the Western Front, armored troops - black, airborne - grey, commando - green. After the war in the communist era, berets were worn only by armoured units (black), navy for field and work uniform (black), paratroopers (maroon), and marines (light blue). After 1990, the beret became the standard headgear in the Armed Forces of Republic of Poland. Around the year 2000 the design of the Polish Army Beret changed, the beret sewn together from three pieces of material with four air holes, two at each side was changed to a smaller beret molded from one piece of material with no air holes. The following colours are in use:

Berets in other units

  • Light Green — Border Guards (discontinued, replaced by camouflage field cap)
  • Black - Border Guards naval units
  • Steel grey - Border Guards air units
  • Navy Blue — Police anti terrorist units
  • Green — Strzelec paramilitary units
  • Sapphire Blue — Government Protection Bureau and disbanded Vistula Troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs

The black beret is also the distinctive headgear of World War II veterans, particularly Armia Krajowa veterans.

The dress code of the Polish armed forces states than when not worn on the head or kept in a locker the beret should be placed under the left shoulder loop.

Portugal[edit | edit source]

In the Portuguese Armed Forces, the following berets are in use:

Until 1975, the following berets were also in use:

Rhodesia[edit | edit source]

Acting Lieutenant Nigel John Theron of 2 Commando, Rhodesian Light Infantry receives the Bronze Cross of Rhodesia in 1976

Until the reconstitution Rhodesia as Zimbabwe ended their existence in 1980, the Rhodesian Security Forces wore the beret as the primary working dress and service dress headgear. Berets were coloured according to unit or service branch, with a distinctive regimental cap badge pinned above the left eye. The Rhodesian Security Forces were integrated into the new Zimbabwe Defence Forces in 1980.

Russian Federation[edit | edit source]

In 2011, the Russian Defence Ministry issued berets to all non-naval military personnel for field uniforms. However, just a few months after they were issued, they were withdrawn from service in favor of the field cap and the traditional parade visor cap. Berets have been implemented on a smaller scale as parade headgear for troops who parade in field uniforms. These too have been dropped. Units that currently wear the beret are the paratroopers, marines (naval infantry), troops of the MVD special forces, and Ministry for Emergency Situations, and certain special forces units of the GRU and other branches of the armed forces. All other units wear the visor cap on parade and the field cap in the field and on exercise. As of the former 2011 regulations, each branch had a color for their beret.

Romania[edit | edit source]

  • Red — Infantry
  • Black — Anti-air Artillery and Missiles, Artillery, Military Automobile Troops (automobilişti militari), Tanks, Communication and Informatics structures, Engineers, Nuclear Biological and Chemical (NBC) Defense and Naval Forces
  • Green — Mountain Troops (or Mountain Hunters, Vânători de Munte)
  • Maroon — Paratroopers
  • Light blue — Air Force and Radar Troops (radiolocaţie)
  • Gray — Military Police
  • Violet — Military Logistics, or administration (intendenţă)
  • Dark red (bordeaux red) — Military Medicine
  • Red — Military Music
  • Dark blue — Military Justice

Saudi Arabia[edit | edit source]

  • Olive Green — Army Force
  • Black — Naval Force
  • Blue — Air Force
  • Dark Green — Air Defense Force
  • Maroon Red — Special Forces
  • Red — Military Police
  • Tan — Public Security
  • Yellow — Passports
  • Dark Blue — College Security
  • Orange — Civil Defence Fire and Rescue
  • terracotta — prison
  • Purple — Anti-drug
  • Gray — Border Guard
  • Blue light — Coast Guard
  • Brown — National Guard
  • Green — Royal Guard

Serbia[edit | edit source]

The Serbian Armed Forces was wearing berets in the following colours:

  • Green — Army
  • Black — Military Police
  • Maroon — Special Forces
  • Steel blue — Air Force
  • Navy blue — Navy

With introduction of new M10 uniform and new regulations, berets are being replaced with garrison caps, remaining only with some branches worn in the following colours:

  • Black — Military Police and Counter-terrorist units
  • Maroon — Special Forces
  • Light blue - Guard

Singapore[edit | edit source]

The Singapore Armed and Police Forces adopts the beret as their standard headgear. The different color divisions are as follows:

The berets are all adorned with the Singapore Armed Forces coat of arms, with the exception of the Air Force beret, Military Police beret, navy beret and police beret which are adorned with their respective cap-badge. Officers in the navy have a different cap-badge from the enlisted men. Officers of the rank of colonel and above have a different cap-badge.

  • National Cadet Corps (Land)- Green
  • National Cadet Corps (Air)- Blue
  • National Cadet Corps (Sea)- Black
  • National Police Cadet Corps- Dark Blue

All berets have the National Cadet Corps or National Police Cadet Corps crest on the front.

Slovakia[edit | edit source]

  • Black - tank forces, army air defense
  • Dark green - units of high readiness, immediately reaction battalion
  • Maroon - paratrooper units,5.regiment of special assignment(airborne)
  • Dark blue - military police
  • Light blue - united nation peace keeping forces, training unit for peace keeping mission

Slovenia[edit | edit source]

  • Black — armour
  • Rifle Green - Special forces
  • Green — Military Police
  • Black - Armour units
  • Maroon - motorised infantry/Paratroopers
  • Dark blue — Navy units
  • Light blue — Air force
  • Grey - Mountain units
  • Sand - NBC units
  • Red - Guard unit

South Africa[edit | edit source]

The South African Army wears the beret as its standard headgear. The different color divisions are as follows:

  • Dark Green — infantry
  • Black — Armour, Intelligence, Technical Services Corps
  • Orange — Military Police
  • Dark Maroon (Plum) — 44 Parachute Regiment, Special Forces Regiment
  • Dark blue — Artillery, Engineers
  • Light blue — Logistical Corps
  • Light Orange — Personnel, Legal Service
  • Beige - SA Corps of Signals

The berets are all adorned with the unit's insignia. Some of the traditional units wear other headgear - for example, the Cape Town Highlanders Regiment and the band of the South African Military Health Service.

Outside of Army, the South African Military Health Service wear red berets. The South African Special Forces Brigade which is a separate entity, not part of the army, also wear the Maroon beret which is traditional for elite units in the western world.

South Korea[edit | edit source]

Berets are mostly limited to the elite units of the South Korean Military, including:

Other than these units, several secret commando units (mostly disbanded in the mid-1990s, among them the "Unit 684" which became infamous for its mutiny) formed to infiltrate North Korea during the Cold War days wore black berets and adorned them with the badges of individual units. Korean liaison soldiers serving in the U.S. Eighth Army (KATUSA) have also been wearing black berets along with American uniforms since that beret became a standard headgear of the U.S. Army in 2001.

As of 2006, there have been several proposals within the Korean Ministry of Defense to replace the current field cap with a dark-coloured beret as the standard army headgear.

South Vietnam[edit | edit source]

American advisers assigned to these units wore the berets.[8]

  • Red — paratroopers,
  • Green — marines, LLDB
  • Maroon — rangers
  • Black — Navy Junk Force
  • Black — palace guards
  • Tan — political officers

Spain[edit | edit source]

The beret is used in the various armed forces of Spain. The colours used are:[9]

  • Maroon - 1st King's Immemorial Infantry Regiment of AHQ.
  • Red - General Military Academy.
  • Black - Airborne Brigade (BRIPAC), Mechanized Division "Brunete", Air Force Police.
  • Dark Green - Special Operations units (MOE, UOE, EZAPAC).
  • Green - Mountain Brigade (Jefatura de Tropas de Montaña).
  • Olive - Spanish Army general issue berets.
  • Mustard - Military Emergencies Unit (UME).
  • Royal Blue - Royal Guard, Army Helicopters (FAMET).
  • Grey - BRILAT (Brigada de Infantería Ligera Galicia VII).
  • Tan - BRILCAN (Brigada de Infantería Ligera Canarias XVI)

Sri Lanka[edit | edit source]

Sweden[edit | edit source]

The beret is used in the various armed forces of Sweden. The colours used are:[10]

  • Dark blue — Generals in the army and amphibious corps, all other military untis not assigned another beret color, except for the navy.
  • Black — Life Guard regiment infantry, armoured/mechanised units, Land Warfare Center.
  • Rifle green — Life Guard regiment cavalry, Airmobile Battalion, ISTAR Battalion, Army Ranger Battalion, Lapland Ranger Unit, Armed forces intelligence and security center, military police. Also worn by the Airforce Rangers.
  • Commando green - Amphibious Corps
  • Maroon — Parachute Ranger company
  • Khaki — Home Guard
  • Scarlet — Life guard regiment musicians
  • Bright blue — Helicopter Flotillia (helicopters)
  • Olive green - Special Operations Group (SOG. Special Forces)
  • Light blue - Military personnel in UN-service.
  • Yellow - EU monitors etcetera.

Sudan[edit | edit source]

The beret is worn by all police and military personal.

  • Maroon - Paratroops
  • pink - special police

Switzerland[edit | edit source]

Since 1995, when it replaced the grey side cap, the beret is worn with the dress uniform and with the personally issued battle dress uniform by all Swiss soldiers. In training, a camouflage-colored field cap is worn instead.

The colours used are:[11]

  • Black — armoured and mechanised units; signals and headquarters troops; NBC specialists; intelligence, military justice and general staff personnel
  • Green — infantry, musicians
  • Red — artillery
  • Deep blue — Air Force (including paratroopers)
  • Blue — medical personnel
  • Dark red — logistics troops
  • Grey — military police
  • Light blue — troops on UN missions
  • pink - special police

Thailand[edit | edit source]

The beret is used in the various armed forces of Thailand. The colours used are:

The black beret is also worn by ordinary police in certain situations.

Togo[edit | edit source]

The beret colours worn by the Togolese Army are as follows:

  • Black — Armoured Corps.
  • Maroon — Para-Commando Regiment.
  • Green — Presidential Guard Commando Regiment.
  • Dark Blue - All other Arms and Corps

Turkey[edit | edit source]

United Kingdom[edit | edit source]


The British Army beret dates back to 1918 when the French 70th Chasseurs alpins were training with the British Tank Corps. The Chasseurs alpins wore a distinctive large beret (see above) and Major-General Sir Hugh Elles, the TC's Colonel, realised this style of headdress would be a practical option for his tank crews, forced to work in a reduced space. He thought, however, that the Chasseur beret was "too sloppy" and the Basque-style beret of the French tank crews was "too skimpy", so a compromise based on the Scottish tam o'shanter was designed and submitted for the approval of George V in November 1923. It was adopted in March 1924.

During the Second World War the beret was also adopted by the Commandos and Parachute Regiment. Later in the war, a rather baggier beret-like hat, called a General Service Cap, was issued to all ranks of the British Army (with RAC, parachute, commando, Scottish and Irish units excepted), to replace the earlier Field Service Cap. The GS Cap was not popular, and after the war was replaced with a true beret.[12]

Today, every British military unit wears a beret, with the exception of the Royal Regiment of Scotland and Royal Irish Regiment, who wear the tam o'shanter and the caubeen respectively (the Scots Guards and Irish Guards, however, wear berets, as frequently do the Royal Irish Regiment on operations). Many of these berets are in distinctive colours and all are worn with the cap badge of the service, regiment or corps. The cap badge for all services in the UK is usually worn directly over the left eye.

Beret Colours[edit | edit source]

The colours are as follows:

Royal Military Police, 1984

General rule for wearing a British Army berets taught at training depots is to shape the head dress back and to the right for the matereal and to have the leather band level around the head with the cap badge two fingers above the left eye. Scottish Infantry have different rules for the Tamo'shanter with the cap badge worn on the left side of the head.

Other Adornments[edit | edit source]

Some Regiments and Corps wear a coloured backing behind the capbadge. These include:

The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, the only remaining independent fusilier regiment, wears a feather hackle on the beret. Other ranks of the Royal Welsh also wear hackles.

Members of the Royal Tank Regiment, 4/73 (Sphinx) Special OP Battery Royal Artillery,[16] Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, Army Air Corps, Parachute Regiment, SAS and Intelligence Corps wear berets in Nos 1, 2, 3 and 6, Dress. Other English and Welsh Regiments and Corps wear peaked caps in these orders of dress.[17] Troops from other services, regiments or corps on attachment to units with distinctive coloured berets often wear those berets (with their own cap badge). Colonels, brigadiers and generals usually continue to wear the beret of the regiment or corps to which they used to belong with the cap badge distinctive to their rank.

Old Units[edit | edit source]

Former regiments and corps, now amalgamated:

United States[edit | edit source]

US Army[edit | edit source]

Army Special Forces with Green Berets

Army Ranger with tan beret

Army Airborne General with Maroon beret

Berets were originally worn by select forces in the United States Army. The first were worn during World War II, when a battalion of the 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment were presented maroon berets by their British counterparts.[18] Though unofficial at first, the green beret of the US Army Special Forces was formally adopted in 1961. Maroon airborne and black US Army Ranger berets were formally authorized in the 1970s.

"D" Troop 17th Cavalry were authorised a maroon beret in Vietnam.[19]

In the post-Vietnam era, morale in the US Army waned. In response, from 1973 through 1979 HQDA permitted local commanders to encourage morale-enhancing uniform distinctions. Consequently, many units embraced various colored berets, for example Armor and Armored Cavalry units often adopted the black beret. Similarly many other units embraced various colored berets in an attempt to improve dwindling morale. In particular, the First Cavalry Division assigned various colored berets to it's three pronged TRICAP approach. In this implementation, Armored Cavalry, Airmobile Infantry units, Air Cavalry units, Division Artillery units, and Division Support units all wore different colored berets, including black, light blue, kelly green, and red.

In 1975 all female soldiers of the Women's Army Corps were authorized to wear a black beret variant as standard headgear for the service uniform.[20]

In 1975 the 172nd light Infantry Brg. out of Ft. Richarderson, Alaska were wearing the Black Berets.

In 2001, Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki ordered the black beret worn as standard headgear army-wide, a controversial decision because it was previously reserved for the Rangers. Although once the standard head gear of the United States Army, in June 2011, Army Secretary John McHugh, acting on the recommendations made by Chief of Staff Martin Dempsey and Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond F. Chandler proposed that the Army ditch the Black Beret in favor of the traditional Patrol Cap to be worn with the ACU. The original decision in 2001 to allow non-specialized troops to wear the coveted beret was implemented in hopes of boosting morale among regular units. This backfired however, when regular troops began complaining that the new Black Beret, taken from the US Army Rangers, was too difficult to put on with one hand, and caused excessive heat.

United States Army berets now use the following distinctive colors:

Special Forces, Ranger, and Airborne unit berets sport distinctive organizational flashes. All other units use a standard pale blue flash bordered with 13 white stars. Officers wear their rank insignia within the flash, while enlisted ranks wear their distinctive unit insignia.

US Navy[edit | edit source]

In the United States Navy, female servicemembers may wear a black beret (of a different style than most military berets) instead of a combination hat or garrison cap while in service uniforms.

During the Vietnam War, the US Navy created special boat teams, unofficially dubbed the brown-water navy, to patrol coastlines, estuaries and rivers. Naval personnel assigned to these teams wore Republic of Vietnam Navy black berets as part of their uniform, as portrayed in the movie "Apocalypse Now".[22] US Navy SEAL teams serving in Vietnam wore camouflage berets in the field, the only beret somewhat standardized in the SEALs.

US Air Force[edit | edit source]

Uruguay[edit | edit source]

  • Grey - Army 14th Parachute Battalion
  • Black - Police Coraceros Regiment
  • Green - Army 13th Armor Battalion (Combined Arms)

Vatican State[edit | edit source]

Members of the Pontifical Swiss Guard at the Bronze Door in Vatican City

The Pontifical Swiss Guard wears large black berets.

Venezuela[edit | edit source]

Berets are worn by some units in the Venezuelan National Armed Forces, with distinctive colors for some units or functions. The beret colours are as follows:

Berets in Venezuelan Army:

Colour Wearer
       black Venezuelan Army general issue berets; included, the comandos (Army special forces units).
green Army Counter-insurgency troops (caribes).
red 311th Infantry Battalion "Simon Bolivar" (Army). Wears the red beret as the first and oldest active infantry battalion of the Army.
red 42nd Airborne Brigade (Army).
dark blue Army Headquarters and Security Group (Lieutenant General Daniel Florencio O´Leary Headquarters Battalion).

Berets in Venezuelan Navy:

Colour Wearer
       black Venezuelan Marine Corps general issue berets (since 2009).

Berets in Venezuelan Air Force:

Colour Wearer
       blue Venezuelan Air Force Infantry units (Infantería Aérea) and Air Force Police personnel.

Berets in Venezuelan National Guard:

Colour Wearer
       maroon Venezuelan National Guard general issue berets.

Berets in inter-service units:

Colour Wearer
       red Presidential Honor Guard Brigade (armed forces joint unit).
red Armed Forces General Headquarters (Minister Of Defence troops (Caracas Battalion), armed forces joint unit).

Note: Before the conversion to the red berets, the Caracas Battalion wore dark blue berets similar to those used by the O'Leary Battalion.

Vietnam[edit | edit source]

Berets used by Vietnam Marine Police, Blue Berets are the troops used in military uniform field. Black Berets was the commanding officer to use the military uniform.

Zambia[edit | edit source]

  • Black - Armoured troops
  • Green – Zambia rifles (Infantry)
  • Maroon - Paracommando
  • Scarlet - Military police
  • Dark Blue - worn by all other Army units
  • Khaki - colonels and general officers with combat uniform
  • Grey-blue - Air Force personnel
  • Green – Zambia National Service personnel

Zimbabwe[edit | edit source]

  • Green — Infantry
  • Black — Armoured Regiment
  • Maroon — Parachute Battalion
  • Tartan Green - Commando Battalion
  • Tan - Special Air Service
  • Yellow — Presidential Guard
  • Cherry Red — Military Police
  • Blue-gray — Zimbabwe Air Force
  • Dark Blue — All other units

International forces[edit | edit source]

United Nations
Multinational Force and Observers
African Union
  • Lime or Light Green – African Union (AU) peacekeeping forces wear a lime or light green beret. AU troops were recently seen wearing the green berets in Sudan but only for a short while. The AU peacekeeping forces were later turned over to UN administration and swapped out their green berets for UN light blue ones.[23]

See also[edit | edit source]

  • Uniform beret, for the use of berets as uniform headgear outside the military

Military berets by color:

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Uniforms", page 587, Volume XXVII Encyclopædia Britannica, 1911 Edition
  2. Australian Army Standing Orders for Dress
  3. "Soldiers rebel against loss of cherished beret". The Sydney Morning Herald. August 20, 2010. http://www.smh.com.au/national/soldiers-rebel-against-loss-of-cherished-beret-20100819-12s4b.html. 
  4. PLA Caps and decorations
  5. Edict about military uniforms (in Czech)
  6. http://www.yluux.com/2011/05/16/bicentenario-paraguayo-desfile-militar
  7. http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/Paraguay-s-Lugo-changes-tack-ahead-of-summit-3664139.php
  8. http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1817&dat=19670212&id=NyUeAAAAIBAJ&sjid=JZsEAAAAIBAJ&pg=5384,1639494
  9. http://www.uniforminsignia.org/?option=com_insigniasearch&Itemid=53&result=2677
  10. http://www.forsvarsmakten.se/upload/dokumentfiler/uniformer/8_Tjanstetecken.pdf
  11. Kommunikation Verteidigung (2009). Schweizer Armee. p. 356. ISBN 978-3-7193-1515-3. 
  12. Gordon, David. Uniforms of the World War II Tommy (Pictorial Histories Publishing Company, Missoula, MT, 2005). ISBN 1-57510-122-X
  13. "Yorkshire Gunners honoured for Service in Iraq and Afghanistan". Ministry of Defence. http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/DefenceNews/HistoryAndHonour/YorkshireGunnersHonouredForServiceInIraqAndAfghanistan.htm. "Earlier in the day, in what marks a historic change in the history of one of the Batteries from the Regiment - 4/73 (Sphinx) Battery, the traditional dark blue beret of the Royal Artillery was replaced with a khaki-coloured beret. The change came about as a result of the Battery working closely, in times of war, with the Honourable Artillery Company" 
  14. BBC website on British headdress
  15. http://rafpolicehistory.blogspot.com/
  16. "Yorkshire Gunners honoured for Service in Iraq and Afghanistan". Ministry of Defence. http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/Templates/LargeImageTemplate.aspx?img=/NR/rdonlyres/06FEC709-D17A-4376-B6D6-562D5580C330/0/yorksgunners.jpg&alt=Soldiers%20from%205th%20Regiment%20Royal%20Artillery%20'The%20Yorkshire%20Gunners'. 
  17. http://www.ams.mod.uk/content/docs/jsp336/3rd_ed/vol12/pt3/pam15/s5aa.doc
  18. http://usmilitary.about.com/cs/generalinfo/a/berethistory.htm
  19. http://www.vhpamuseum.org/17thcav/3rdsquad/3rdsquaddtroop.shtml
  20. p.223 Stanton, Shelby US Army Uniforms of the Cold War 194-1973 1994 Stackpole Books
  21. [1]
  22. http://www.specwarnet.net/americas/sbu.htm
  23. http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=25181&Cr=sudan&Cr1

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