So Long Goofy Looking Beret


The Army announced yesterday that starting soon Soldiers can wear the patrol cap (or, as I accidentally called it once, the “Army baseball cap thing”) instead of that goofy looking black beret.

Yes, I said “goofy looking.”

I vividly remember the first time I saw my husband wearing his beret. Specifically I remember trying not to laugh. While I knew very little about the Army at the time I felt one thing was for sure – the beret has no point.

Think about it this way: does it keep the sun out of their eyes? No. Is it easy to put on? No. Does it tend to look at little dirty and disheveled? Totally.  Surely I’m not the only Army spouse who feels this way.

But it seems someone out there heard my silent pleas for “hat” sanity. The patrol cap will be the cover of choice during normal duty hours as well as in the field and the black wool beret will go mostly bye-bye. Whew. This would’ve been done so much sooner if I ruled the world.

(My husband insists that “the beret looks good if it’s done right.” And that “wool farmers are going to be really upset about this.” Leave it to a guy who used to raise sheep to think of that).

There’s also another important change coming that will impact Army Spousedome. Rather than rely on Velcro, Soldiers will soon have the option of getting their nametapes and various other insignia sewn onto their uniforms.

Brace yourselves for sewing machine duty – or (as it will be in this house) being tasked with a trip to the alteration shop.

(Update: my husband has just informed me that since I insisted on buying a sewing machine last year an alteration shop will not be necessary. I disagree).

About the Author

Amy Bushatz
Amy is the editor in chief of’s spouse and family blog A journalist by trade, Amy also covers spouse and family news for where she is the managing editor of spouse and family content. An Army wife and mother of two, Amy has been featured as a subject matter expert on, NPR, Fox News, NBC, CBS, ABC and BBC as well as in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. Follow her on twitter @amybushatz.

12 Comments on "So Long Goofy Looking Beret"

  1. Sewing the stuff on uniforms is a pain! I sew all the stuff on my husband's NWUs… I'm getting better at it (especially once I got a needle that can actually make it through the thick material), but sometimes I'd rather just go drop stuff off at the alteration shop. If only my husband didn't always until the absolute last minute to remember he needs something sewed on ;)

  2. Definitely a trip to the alteration shop. Even if I had a machine and knew how to sew, they're saying that they're leaving the velcro and you can just sew over it. Let the alteration shop break their needles trying to do that.

  3. There's still one problem with the "no velcro" change. Until they improve the quality of the ACUs, they will still quickly fade in the washing machine, and the name tapes and other sewn-on items will be dull like the cr@ppy ACUs.

  4. I remember when they added the berets to the uniform–everyone was so excited except the green berets who were insulted that the Army would give away one of their markers of their expanded training (trying to be diplomatic here). Personally, I thought it was one of those "everyone gets a trophy just for trying!" moments, and fashion-wise a relative disaster, so I'm glad to see it go!

  5. Steve Beying | June 12, 2011 at 2:28 pm |

    I was miffed when they allowed the beret to be worn by regular forces. If the elite forces want to wear them, great. Myself being a veteran, when I was serving, I wouldn't have wanted to wear anything that was related to France!

  6. SemperSteen | June 12, 2011 at 2:56 pm |

    Whenever my husband would gripe about rolling his sleeves on his camis I'd remind him, "Hey, at least you don't have to wear a beret to work." ;) I have a few friends in the army and they are not fans of the beret, to put it mildly, so this is good news.

  7. dutchican | June 12, 2011 at 3:05 pm |

    It certainly took them long enough! I remember how much my husband hated it when they went to the beret, it seems to be a widespread sentiment.

    And Amy, the solution to having to sew patches on is to not be oh-so-exact while doing so (he used to ask me to do the 11th hour patch sew-ons too). If your hubby is anything like mine, the fact that you don't make it exactly 1/4" from here, 1/2" from there will drive him batty. You can then kindly direct him to the nearest alteration shop ;) This strategy was also effective back when you had to iron uniforms. Oh man, I feel old.

  8. During 11th hour sewing the time my husband got promoted right before a deployment, I sewed straight through my finger. Oy. No sewing for me, thanks!

  9. functional art | June 15, 2011 at 7:50 pm |

    Am I really the only one who enjoys sewing on patches? I like to see this not as a job but a service I can do for my spouse. Sewing on patches before this current deployment every stitch was made with love, good intentions and hope for a safe return–my own personal kitchen magic.

  10. My husband couldn't get to the garage fast enough to find his soft cap!

  11. H. Landis | June 21, 2011 at 1:43 pm |

    I was in and out of the military in the '60's. When the beret was chosen for standard wear for the entire army, I was less than pleased. The berets were something that was earned; the Special Forces had their green beret, the rangers had the black beret, and eventually all the airborne outfits followed suit with their red or maroon berets. The beret was a symbol of achievement, and as silly as some of you think they look, they were worn proudly by those who EARNED them. I'd be happier now if they not only got rid of them for the duty uniform, but went back to the old system, and only let the elite troops wear them.

    Incidently—– RANGERS LEAD THE WAY!

  12. As a Vietnam vet, I remember when only the SF wore berets; it was a sign of earned distinction. When the Army started handing them out as standard issue, I saw it as a bad joke, a PR move intended to support the whole "Army of One" marketing slogan. In other words, it was intended to suggest that everyione in the Army was a tough cookie, a "hero" in thre making, sort of like Obama's Nobel Prize when he hadn't done anything yet. Then, to top it off, the Army people bent the beret out of shape so it hung over one ear, sometimes below, like a deranged shower cap. As a USAF flier, I wore a black baseball cap, and it was the best head cover: not hot, sticky wool, had a sun visor, soaked up sweat on the rare occasions I broke a sweat. I can't imagine anybody but a newbie going home on leave for the first time wantinmg to wear one of those beret beanies.

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