77th SFG's Commanding Officer, Col. Edson Duncan Raff II
Wanted something to enhance the twaining Esprit
Chosen from CPT Miguel (Mike) de la Pena's Beret Collection
Rifle green in the tradition of the famous British Royal Marine Commando Units was Chosen
CPT Frank Dallas found a source for berets.
The first version of the beret was sold for a few months by the Ft. Bragg Exchange for something less than two dollars.
The 77th SFG's first really public appearance of the new beret was participating with a large contingent in the retirement review for Lt. Gen. Joseph P Cleland.
Trend was skepticism - even opposition - to the beret by "higher headquarters" who understandably wanted to know who authorized the wearing of "those tams".
Col. Raff, never short on courage, stood up to the new XVIII Airborne Corps (ABC) commander, Lt. Gen. Paul D. Adams, who demanded to know the authority for adopting the beret. By this time, Col. Raff had succeeded to the command of the Psychological Warfare Center which included the PSY War Board. Col. Raff designated the beret as a troop-test item and we blithely continued to wear it in spite of the XVIIIth ABC.
The CO and other members of the 10th SFG, while at a conference at Ft. Bragg in 1955, had seen the beret and also adopted it. Stationed at Bad Tolz, Germany, the 10th was out of reach of the counterpressures at Ft. Bragg and withstood whatever local opposition it encountered.
When The 82d Airborne Division's request to DA for red berets was turned down, they presented the argument that SF was wearing berets.
DA countered - the 77th was ordered to give up the beret.
The DA order fell over the 77th
in midsummer 1956
The beret was kept alive in Germany by the 10th
And on Okinawa by the newly formed 1st SFG and it remained close to the hearts in the states.
The quest for authorization was long and difficult. Men such as Col. Raff and General Yarborough stood up under heavy pressures and sacrificed promotion and career to enable the present generation to have this symbol.
John F. Kennedy
It was President Kennedy who
encouraged the wearing of the Green Beret by the Special Forces.
Preparing for an October 12, 1961 visit to
Special Warfare Center at Fort Bragg, North
the President sent word to the center's
Brigadier General William P. Yarborough,
for all Special Forces soldiers to wear the Beret
as part of their uniform event.
The President felt that since they had a special
Special Forces should have something to set them apart
from the rest.
In 1962, he called the green
"A Symbol of Excellence,
A Badge of Courage,
A Mark of Distinction
In the Fight for Freedom."
We have the original photos and other things donated by
General Yarborough and will have up as soon as possible..
stands with Original
Photo from 1961 with
Airborne Special Operations
Museum, Fayetteville, NC
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