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The maroon beret is a military beret and has been an international symbol of elite airborne forces since it was chosen for British airborne forces in World War II. This distinctive head dress was officially introduced in 1942, at the direction of General Frederick Browning, commander of the British 1st Airborne Division. The colour of the beret was reportedly chosen by his wife, the novelist Daphne du Maurier. It was first worn by the men of the Parachute Regiment in action in North Africa during November 1942. Although they are coloured maroon, the beret of the British Parachute Regiment is often incorrectly called the "red beret."
- 1 Australian Army
- 2 Azerbaijan Army
- 3 Bangladesh Army
- 4 Belgian Army
- 5 Brazilian Army
- 6 British Army
- 7 Canadian Army
- 8 Chilean Army
- 9 Czech Army
- 10 Danish Army Special Forces
- 11 French Army
- 12 Finnish Army
- 13 German Army
- 14 Greek Army
- 15 Guatemalan Army
- 16 India
- 17 Indonesia
- 18 Israeli Army
- 19 Italian Army
- 20 Malaysian Army and Police
- 21 Mexican Army
- 22 Namibian Army
- 23 Netherlands Army
- 24 Norwegian Army
- 25 Pakistan
- 26 Polish Army
- 27 Portuguese Armed Forces
- 28 Russian Armed Forces
- 29 Military of Serbia
- 30 Singapore Armed Forces Commandos
- 31 South African Special Forces and Paratroops
- 32 Spanish Army
- 33 Sri Lanka Army
- 34 Swedish Army
- 35 Royal Thai Army
- 36 Turkey
- 37 Ukraine
- 38 United States
- 39 Venezuelan National Guard
- 40 Footnotes
- 41 See also
- 42 References
Maroon (also referred to as Dull Cherry) berets were worn by parachute qualified members of the 3 RAR Parachute Battalion Group from 1985 - 2012, when the parachute role was performed by 3 RAR. In addition to the battalion, the Group included A Field Battery, Parachute Surgical Team, and Engineer and Signals elements. The beret was worn with the Royal Australian Regiment Badge by Infantrymen at the battalion, and individual Corps badges for other Corps members as appropriate. 2nd Commando Regiment now effectively perform the parachuting function formerly held by 3 RAR; they wear a Green Beret with a Commando Badge.
Qualified parachutists posted to Parachute Training School (PTS) wore the beret (or their Special Air Service or Commando Regt beret as appropriate) with individual Corps / Regimental Badges until a few years ago.
The beret was previously also worn by the Airborne Platoon Royal Australian Regiment 1951–1974, then the Australian Special Air Service Company (with the Royal Australian Infantry Corps Badge). When the Special Air Service Regiment was formed this was replaced by the tan beret (sometimes referred to as the sandy beret) with SASR Badge.
The Republic of Azerbaijan special forces wear a maroon beret.
All members of the Bangladesh Army special forces para commando battalions wear Maroon Berets with para commando cap badge. Besides all members of the Army Medical Corps, Army Dental Corps and Armed Forces Nursing Services of Bangladesh Army wear Maroon Berets with respective cap badges.
The Paracommando Brigade (Belgium) wear the maroon beret with various types of cap badges.
In the Brazilian Army, the use of maroon berets and brown boots is restricted to the members of the Airborne Infantry Brigade (Brigada de Infantaria Paraquedista) one of the elite brigades of the Brazilian Armed Forces.
Members of the Parachute Regiment and other arms in 16th Air Assault Brigade are permitted to wear the maroon beret irrespective of qualification, having qualified as military parachutists. The beret is often called the "red beret" and the Parachute Regiment is known as the "red berets" or (within the Army) the "maroon machine".
Jump-qualified personnel in parachute units of the Canadian Army wear the maroon, provided they are in a designated parachute position. These are as follows:
- Z Battery, 1st Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery
- E and Y Batteries, 2nd Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery
- 5 Troop, 24 Field Squadron, 2 Combat Engineer Regiment
- 5 Troop, 53 Field Squadron, 5 Combat Engineer Regiment
- M Company, 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment
- C Company, 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry
- A Company, 3rd Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment
- Instructors, packer/riggers and jump-slotted members of the Canadian Army Advanced Warfare Centre at CFB Trenton
- Parachute Company, The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada
Since the creation of the Armored Cavalry in the Army, all personnel who serve in the Armored Cavalry unit wear maroon berets, using the same badges regardless of each member's speciality. Specialists in Armored Cavalry are trained in the Escuela de Caballería Blindada del Ejército (Armored Cavalry School of Army), and currently it is only branch of service whose members all wear berets; the other berets used in the Chilean Army distinguished only specialists (mountain troops, paratroopers, or special forces) and, in the last years, the combined branch of service regiment, called Regimientos Reforzados.
Danish Army Special Forces
Danish Army Special Forces, Jægerkorpset wears the Maroon Beret with a brass emblem depicting a hunter's bugle on a black felt liner. The beret is issued after completion of 16 weeks of SF training. However, not before 1 year of additional satisfactory service in JGK is the wearer issued the shoulder patch "JÆGER" and may call himself by this name.
Since the 1957, almost all French Army paratroopers wear an amarante (dark red) beret. Exceptions include the Légionnaires and Naval Commandos who retain their green berets; and the Air Parachute Commandos who wear a dark blue beret.
Maroon berets are worn by members of the 1st Army Aviation Brigade.
Maroon berets are worn by Kaibiles, Guatemala's special forces.
The Indian Army's 50th (Independent) Parachute Brigade, including the minor/support units of the formation, the President's BodyGuard, a ceremonial guard unit with their operational role as the pathfinder company of the parachute brigade, and the special forces units wear the maroon beret.
Indian Air Force's special operations force, Garud Commando Force, also wears the maroon beret and are parachute trained, with some personnel even freefall qualified, though their operational role is still questionable, limited to guarding the air force top brass and show of strength at various public events like the Aero India, the annual air show held at Bangalore, Karnataka, India.
The Special Frontier Force of the Home Ministry are parachute trained and wear the maroon beret.
The specially trained part of the Central Industrial Security Force for the protection of airports and other vital installations take the cue from the Army's Special Forces and have adopted the Maroon Beret as their headgear, though they are not parachute trained, thus diluting the airborne ethos.
Maroon beret is the official headgear of Army Aviation Center. This beret is worn by all its personnels. Established on March 23, 2007, the beret replaced all the berets previously used by the personnels.
In the Italian Armed Forces, maroon berets are worn only by paratroopers: the army units Folgore Parachute Brigade, Carabinieri Regiment "Tuscania" and Gruppo di intervento speciale, and the police elite unit Nucleo operativo centrale di sicurezza.
Malaysian Army and Police
The Royal Malaysia Police has a two units wearing the maroon berets. The unit is:
- The Pasukan Gerakan Khas A-Detachment or Special Actions Unit has worn the maroon beret with black hackle after formed in 1 January 1975.
Both of maroon berets for the two units is bestowed by the British SAS.
The maroon berets are worn by Mexico's Parachute Rifle Brigade called the Brigada de Fusileros Paracaidistas created in 1969 as a rapid response team.
The maroon beret is worn by Namibian Special Forces specifically the Commandos and Paratroopers.
The Dutch Army's Air Mobile Force/Light infantry, 11 Luchtmobiele Brigade, which translates to 11Air Mobile Brigade, wear "The Maroon Berets" (aka the Red Beret) as a sign of their status upon completion of their training.
The Norwegian Army special forces has worn the maroon beret since its establishment in 1981.
The Special Service Group (SSG) wears a maroon beret with a silver SSG badge on a sky blue flash. Line infantry regiments which were parachute trained wore their own regiments' berets till airborne role was taken away from infantry and assigned to SSG which became the army's only airborne outfit from 1964 onwards. In addition to SSG, Army Aviation and Air Defence, Army medical corps wear maroon berets
Navy's Special Service Group, SSG(N) wear maroon berets
PAF's elite Special Service Wing (SSW) wears maroons berets
Maroon beret is worn by paratroops, for its colour called in Polish Czerwone Berety, and also: air cavalry and special forces. The beret is always decorated with embroidered White Eagle (Polish coat of arms) and rank insignia. It is used as well with ceremonial uniform and field uniform.
Portuguese Armed Forces
Russian Armed Forces
The maroon beret is worn by members of elite Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) Spetsnaz units, although it is referred to as krapoviy meaning crimson. In a contrast to the Western style, Russian troops wear the badge on the beret over the right eye. In the Soviet era, paratroopers wore a maroon beret until the late 1960s when General Vasily Filipovich Margelov decided that a maroon beret for paratroopers was a Western idea and introduced a cornflower blue beret. This may have been influenced by the cornflower blue of the Soviet Air Force and the cornflower blue helmets worn by Soviet paratroopers during the Great Patriotic War.
Military of Serbia
Singapore Armed Forces Commandos
The Maroon Beret or Red Beret is worn by the elite commandos of the Singapore Armed Forces depicting their status as an elite airborne and special forces unit.
South African Special Forces and Paratroops
The 1st King's Immemorial Infantry Regiment of AHQ, the oldest military unit in the world, wears the maroon beret.
The Regimiento de Inteligencia 1 (Intelligence Regiment 1) based in Valencia wears the maroon beret, as do all units belonging to the Cuartel General Terrestre de Alta disponibilidad (GTAD). Spanish airborne forces have traditionally worn a black beret.
Sri Lanka Army
A maroon beret is worn by Fallskärmsjägarna (or Fallskärmsjägarkåren: Parachute Ranger Corps), a jump qualified Swedish Army special operations unit. This is an airborne commando unit focused on intelligence gathering and squad level combat deep behind enemy lines.
Royal Thai Army
The Royal Thai Army Special Operations Force and paratroopers in the 31st Infantry Regiment (Royal Guard) wear the maroon beret.
Worn by soldiers of the National Guard of Ukraine.
United States Air Force
Pararescuemen (PJs) are among the most highly trained emergency trauma specialists in the U.S. military and the only ones in the Department of Defense specifically trained and equipped to conduct conventional and unconventional rescue processes, making them the ideal force to handle personnel recovery and combat search and rescue operations. In early 1966, General John P. McConnell, then Air Force Chief of Staff, approved the wearing of the maroon beret. The beret symbolizes the blood sacrificed by Pararescuemen and the blood willing to be sacrificed should the need come as well as their devotion to duty by aiding others in distress. To Pararescuemen, living up to their motto, "That Others May Live," is a daily reality.
United States Army
In 1943, during the Second World War, Lieutenant-General Sir Frederick Browning, commander of the British 1st Airborne Corps, granted a battalion of the US Army's 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment honorary membership in the British Parachute Regiment and authorized them to wear British-style maroon berets. US Army advisers to Vietnamese airborne forces wore the Vietnamese French-style red beret during the Vietnam War.
Headquarters, Department of the Army (HQDA) policy from 1973 through 1979 permitted local commanders to encourage morale-enhancing distinctions. Airborne forces chose to wear the maroon international parachute beret as a mark of distinction. However due to the variety to headgear utilized at unit level, such as the Stetson being used in cavalry units, this permission was rescinded in 1979 when the army introduced a policy of standardized headgear. Exceptions were allowed for the continued wearing of the black beret (changed to tan in 2001) for the 75th Ranger Regiment & Ranger Training Brigade, and the green beret for Special Forces. On 28 November 1980 permission was given for airborne organizations to resume wearing the maroon beret. Most American paratroopers refer to it as a red beret, which history and tradition mandates, out of respect for their World War II British allies.
Venezuelan National Guard
|This section may be confusing or unclear to readers. (March 2010)|
The Venezuelan National Guard is the fourth component of Venezuelan Army Force (Army, Navy, Air Force and National Guard), responsible for all military operations (Land, Air, Sea) that secure the public order including antidrug operation, administrative police (customs police and cooperation with SENIAT), external security of jail, public security, citizen security, environment police, and the cooperation with the army, navy and air force for military operations in the defense of the nation. They account to one Unit of Special Forces (Grupo Acciones de Comando) involving many military special operations such as Assault, Recon.
- Army Black Beret: A Short History of the Use of Berets in the U.S. Army
- "The Salisbury review". 21-22. The Salisbury Group. 2002. p. 55.
- "The Paras: The Maroon Machine". BBC. 26 Jul 1984.
- "USAF PARARESCUE: Overview". Retrieved 18 May 2011.
- DA Approves Ranger’s New Headgear
Other military berets by colour:
- Army Black Beret: A Short History of the Use of Berets in the US Army on the US Army website.