The black beret is a type of headgear commonly worn by armoured forces around the world including the British Army's Royal Tank Regiment (RTR), The Canadian Forces's Royal Canadian Armoured Corps (RCAC), and The Australian Army's Royal Australian Armoured Corps (RAAC) among others. Notable non armoured units to wear the black beret include the Russian Naval Infantry (and formerly Soviet) and some Russian Spetsnaz units, the United States Air Force (USAF) Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) members and Canadian Forces Maritime Command (Canadian Navy) ("navy blue"). Black berets are also worn over hoods by members of ETA.
In the United States military, the beret was unofficially worn by a variety of special operations units during and following World War II. In the spring of 1951, the 10th and 11th Ranger Companies wore black berets during their training at Camp Carson, Colorado before their deployment to Japan. In 1973, permission was granted to local commanders to encourage distinctive, morale-enhancing uniform items and the black beret was adopted by Armor and Armored Cavalry units in Europe. Later on January 30th, 1975 it was officially assigned as part of the uniform of the United States Army Rangers, who had worn it unofficially during the Vietnam War. In 1979 the Army Chief of Staff ruled that the black beret was restricted to just Ranger and Airborne units (the latter receiving their distinctive maroon berets on November 28th, 1980). However, since November 28th, 2001 the black beret is worn by all United States Army troops unless the soldier is approved to wear a different distinctive beret. The Rangers now wear tan berets, a homage to the buckskins worn by Rogers' Rangers.
The most famous Commonwealth wearer of the black beret was Field Marshal Montgomery who wore a Royal Tank Regiment (RTR) beret complete with cap badge, presented to him by the Regiment, to which he added his own General's (later Field Marshal's) rank insignia.
In the Danish Army, the black beret was originally used by all combat regiments, but now it is worn by the two royal regiments and the armored regiment, the Royal Guards (Den Kongelige Livgarde), the Hussars (Gardehusarregimentet), and the Dragoons (Jyske Dragon Regiment).
In the Chilean Army,the black beret is worn by the paras and the special forces.
In the Spanish Army, the black beret is worn by the Mechanized Brigades and the Parachutist brigade.
In the Belgian Army, the black beret is worn by armoured and engineer troops.
In the Dutch Army, the black beret is worn by cavalry battalions.
In the pre-2003 Iraqi Army, the black beret was the most commonly worn head gear and continues to be worn by both army and police personnel of the new Iraqi Army.
In the Malaysian Army, the members of the Royal Armor Corps wear the black berets.
In the Singapore Armed Forces, members of the Armour formation wear black berets.
In the Indian Army, all Cavalry and Armoured Corps wear black berets.
In the Pakistan Army, the Armoured Corps wears black berets.
In the Bangladesh Army, all units of the Armoured, Cavalry and Lancer Corps wear black berets.
In the Swedish Army, all armour and mechanized units wear black berets.
In the Irish Army the majority of the members of the Permanent Defence Forces wear black berets except for certain combat support units such as MP's, Cavalry etc.
Members of Serbian Military Police wear black berets.
The Finnish Panssarijääkäri (panzerjaegers) and members of the Armored Brigade also wear black berets.
The Argentine Navy's Batallón de Infantería de Marina 5 (5th Marine Battalion), of Falklands War Mount Tumbledown fame (1982), wears a black beret. This was introduced by (then) Commander Manuel Tomé around 1977, and the beret was awarded on completion of a Cold Weather and Mountain Warfare Course. Today, all units of the Southern Marine Force of the Argentine Marine Corps wear black berets with unit badges.
In the Canadian Army, black berets are worn by armoured troops.
In the Greek Army, black berets are worn by the Armoured branch.
In the Austrian Bundesheer all armoured units (Armoured Battalions, Mechanized Infantry Battalions, Artillery Battalions and Mechanized Headquarter Battalions), wear the black beret.
Lucky Vanous, a former Black Beret whom some of us remember as the Fabio of '94 (the year he made a Diet Coke commercial that snagged him a "Most Beautiful" nod from People), is opening a string of Lucky Devil restaurants.(Small Bites)
Feb 01, 2006; Lucky Various, a former Black Beret whom some of us remember as the Fabio of '94 (the year he made a Diet Coke commercial that...