Tan berets have been authorized for wear by Army Rangers since June 2001, when they replaced the black berets that had been the official organizational beret since 1975. The switch was made following Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki’s decision to make the black berets standard headgear with both the Army Service and Army Combat uniforms.

According to Colonel P.K. Keen, Ranger Regimental Commander at the time of the change, the color tan was chosen because it “reinvigorates the historical and spiritual linkage throughout the history of the American Ranger.” In a press release announcing the new tan berets, Keen said the color was that of the “buckskin uniforms and animal skin hats of Roger’s Rangers,” and pointed out several historical examples of Rangers wearing butternut or khaki uniforms. He also noted that tan was the “color of the sand of Grenada, Panama, Iraq, and Mogadishu.”

But while the color of the Ranger beret may have changed, the qualifications for wearing it are as strict as ever. To wear the Ranger tan beret, Soldiers must be currently assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment or the Ranger Training Brigade, or be Ranger-qualified former members of 75th Ranger Regiment serving in Special Operations commands (USSOC, USASOC, USSOC Joint Task Force, and Theater Special Operations Command).

Regulations stipulate that the beret is worn so that the headband is positioned in a straight line across the forehead, one inch above the eyebrows. The beret flash should be over the left eye, with excess hat materials draped to the right and extending to at least the top of the ear (but no lower than the middle of the ear).

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