Military beret

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US Army Private wearing black beret with Distinctive Unit Insignia on the US Army beret flash

Berets have been a component of the uniforms of many armed forces throughout the world since the mid-20th century. Military berets are usually pushed to the right to free the shoulder that bears the rifle on most soldiers, but the armies of some countries, mostly Europe, South America and Iran have influenced the push to the left.

Berets are in some countries particularly associated with elite units, who often wear berets in more unusual colours. Examples include the grey of the Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps and of the new Polish GROM, maroon of Commonwealth parachute troops and the Danish Jægerkorpset, the green of the Royal Marines Commandos, Finnish Marine Commandos (Coastal Jaegers), French Commandos (Bérets verts), French Foreign Legion, Irish Army Ranger Wing, Portuguese Paratroopers (Boinas Verdes), Rhodesian Light Infantry and United States Army's Special Forces (Green Berets); the scarlet of the Royal Military Police, the Portuguese Army Commandos and the elite Soviet Internal Troops (Spetsnaz); the beige or tan of Commonwealth special forces units (SAS) and United States Army Rangers; or the wide black of French Chasseurs alpins, the first military unit to have worn berets.



Carlist forces in Spain, 1838.

The informal use of beret-like headgear by the military of Europe dates back hundreds of years, one example being the Blue Bonnet, that became a de facto symbol of Scottish Jacobite forces in the 16th and 17th centuries. As an officially required military headdress, its use dates back to the Carlist Wars of Succession for the Spanish Crown in the 1830s by order of Carlist General Tomás de Zumalacárregui who wanted a local and non-costly way to make headgear that was resistant to the mountain weather, easy to care for and could be used on formal occasions. The French Chasseurs alpins, created in the early 1880s, was the first regular unit to wear the military beret as a standard headgear. These mountain troops were issued with a uniform which included several features which were innovative for the time, notably the large and floppy blue beret which they still retain. This was so unfamiliar a fashion outside France that it had to be described in the Encyclopædia Britannica of 1911 as "a soft cap or tam o'shanter".[1]

Berets have features that make them very attractive to the military: they are cheap, easy to make in large numbers, can be manufactured in a wide range of colors, can be rolled up and stuffed into a pocket or beneath the shirt epaulette without damage, and can be worn with headphones (this is one of the reasons why early tank crews adopted the beret). The beret is not so useful in field conditions for the modern infantryman, who requires protective helmets, and non-camouflage versions are seldom seen on operations.

The beret was found particularly useful as a uniform for armored-vehicle crews, and the British Tank Corps (later Royal Tank Corps) adopted the headdress as early as 1918.

German AFV crews in the late 1930s also adopted a beret with the addition of a padded crash helmet inside. The color black became popular as a tank-crew headdress, since it did not show oil stains picked up inside the interior of a vehicle. Black berets continue to be worn by armored regiments in many armies (see details below).

An unusual form of beret is the camo beret, mostly issued to special forces. Countries that have issued camouflage berets include Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, PRC, Denmark, Ecuador, Israel, Paraguay, Panama, Philippines, Portugal, South Africa, South Korea, and Thailand.

Berets have become the default military headdress of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, just as the morion, tricorne, shako, kepi, and peaked cap were each common headgear in their own respective eras. As recorded below the beret is now worn by many military personnel of the majority of nations around the globe.

Military berets by country[edit]


Most berets are used by senior enlisted personnel and officers.


Algerian para-commandos

light green beret used by para-commandos units


In the Angola Armed Forces, the following berets are in use:

Colour Wearer
       Green Páraquedistas (Paratroopers)
Brown Army general use
Black Navy and Fuzileiros Navais (Marines)
Red Commandos
Medium blue Air Force


Berets are worn by some units in the Argentine Armed Forces,[2][3] with distinctive colors for some units or functions. The beret colours are as follows:

Berets in Argentine Army:

Berets in Argentine Navy:

Berets in Argentine Air Force:

Berets in Argentine Gendarmerie:

Berets in other services:


The Armed Forces continue to wear Soviet-style (pieced fabric) berets, which are draped to the right in most circumstances. When appearing in public on parade, the berets are draped to the left side so that the insignia shows to observing dignitaries and the public.

  • Light blue - Airborne Forces, Peacekeeping Forces
  • Black - Interior Ministry Troops
  • Wine red - Interior Ministry Special Troops
  • Bright Green - Border Guards


Berets were worn by all corps in the Australian Army, with distinctive colors for some units:.[4] The Australian Special Forces were the first known to wear green cotton berets during WW2.

From September 2010 all berets were banned for wear by the army for daily wear, except for special forces. However some units will be permitted to retain them for ceremonial occasions[5] As of 1 January 2014 this decision was reversed with commanders able to approve the wearing of berets within their units.[6]

In all cases, the beret is pushed over to the right, and a badge (a.k.a. "flash" insignia) worn above the left eye.


Austrian green beret.

Berets are common in most parts of the Army, and are usually worn for special occasions, but also regularly by certain forces.

  • Grass green — Infantry, all troops that do not wear another color
  • Olive greenJagdkommandos (formerly maroon)
  • Black — Mechanized troops, anti-tank troops, artillery, reconnaissance, combat engineers
  • Wine red — Jägerbataillon 25 (paratroopers)
  • Scarlet red — Guard of Honour
  • Coral red — Military Police
  • Yellow green — Sports Center of the Army
  • Pike grey — NBC Defence School
  • Rust brown — Signal School
  • Navy blue — Logistics School, Mission Support Command (Kdo Einsatzunterstützung)
  • Blue — UN



  • Black - Royal Bahraini Army and Royal Bahraini Naval Force
  • Blue - Royal Bahraini Air Force
  • Red - Military Police
  • Tan - Special Forces
  • Green - Royal Guard
  • Olive Green - National Guard
  • Maroon - Public Security Forces
  • Dark Blue - Coast Guard
  • Dark Green- Harasat


  • Black — Armoured corps
  • Bangladesh Green — Infantry
  • Dull Cherry — Army Medical corps
  • Scarlet — Military police
  • Maroon — Commandos
  • Royal Blue — Engineers, Service corps
  • Dark Blue — Education corps, Electrical and mechanical engineers, Ordnance, Artillery, Signals, Army Dental corps, Naval Service
  • Scarlet Red-Cadet


Initially, the only unit of the Belgian military to wear berets were the Chasseurs Ardennais from the 1930s. Since World War II they have been adopted by all units. Berets vary in colour according to the regiment, and carry a badge (sometimes on a coloured shield-shaped patch) which is of gilt for officers, silver for non-commissioned officers and bronze for other ranks. Members of cavalry units all wear silver coloured badges.

A Belgian UN peacekeeper in Somalia, wearing a standard UN blue beret and badge, 1993.
  • Maroon — Paracommando Immediate Reaction Cell (HQ), 1 Para, 3 Para, Special Forces Group, Parachute Training Centre
  • Green — 2 Commando, Paracommando Field Artillery and the Commando Training Centre
  • Olive Green (large-brimmed, basque type with folded-in brim and wild boar's head badge ) — Chasseurs Ardennais
  • Brown — Infantry, Chasseurs à Pieds and Belgian United Nations Command (during the Korean War)
  • Black — Armoured troops, Guides (Scouts), Chasseurs à Cheval and some engineer units
  • Dark blue — Artillery and Royal Military Academy
  • Cobalt blue — Logistics and administration troops
  • Grey — Transmission troops and some engineer units
  • Bright red — Military police
  • Grey-blue — Air component
  • Light blue — former Land component Light Aviation (now part of Air Component)
  • Navy blue (no metal cap badge, but embroidered crest) — Navy component (Formerly also naval infantry with metal badge)
  • Dark green — Medical component
  • Khaki — "General service" beret with lion badge worn on training by all troops (Obsolete)


  • Black — Armoured corps.
  • Maroon — Paratroopers.
  • Green — Infantry and other Army units.
  • Dark Blue — Gendarmerie.


Berets in Bolivian Army:

  • Black — Paratroopers
  • Maroon — Armoured Corps
  • Green — Special Operations Forces, Commandos
  • Camouflage — Special Forces "Bolivian Condors"
  • Tan — Mountain Infantry (Satinadores de Montaña) [7]
  • Blue — Engineer units

Berets in Bolivian Air Force:

  • Royal Blue - Air Force Infantry personnel


Colour Wearer
       Olive green All other Army units
Brown Special Operations Group
Black Armoured troops, Mechanized Infantry, Military Police (Gendarmerie)
Scarlet red Students of Colégio Militar (middle and high school).
Grey Mountain Infantry
Dark blue Students of Military Formation Schools (Cadets, Officer Candidates, NCO Candidates)
Royal blue Army aviation
Wine red Paratroopers
French lizard pattern camo.jpg Camouflage Jungle Troops
Tan Air Assault Units
UN blue Personnel serving with the United Nations on international peacekeeping missions


Berets have been worn by Bulgarian military personnel since 1991. Berets vary in colour according to the military branch, and carry a crest pin (sometimes on a coloured background patch) resembling the unit's insignia.


  • Dark red - 911 Special Forces Regiment
  • Royal Purple - Military Police


  • Bataillon des Troupes Aéroportées (Airborne Battalion) - dark red/maroon
  • Bataillon Spécial Amphibie (Special Amphibious Battalion) - light green
  • Bataillon d'Intervention Rapide (Rapid Intervention Battalion) - light green
  • Fusiliers de l'Air (Air Force Infantry) - royal blue
  • Fusiliers Marins (Marine Infantry) - black
  • Garde Presidentielle (Presidential Guard) - royal purple


Main article Uniforms of the Canadian Forces#Berets

The colour of the beret is determined by the wearer's environment, branch, or mission. The beret colours listed below are the current standard:

Colour Wearer
       Air Force blue Air Force
Black Armoured, Navy
CF Green Army
UN blue Personnel serving with the United Nations on peacekeeping missions
Scarlet Military Police
Maroon Paratroopers Serving in Active Jump Companies
Blaze Orange Search-and-rescue technicians
Terracotta Personnel serving with the Multinational Force and Observers
Tan Special Operations Forces


Berets in Chilean Army:

  • Black — Special Operations Forces (Fuerzas Especiales), Comandos and Paratroopers (Paracaidistas)
  • Maroon — Armoured Corps
  • Green — Mountain troops (Tropas de Montaña)

Berets in Chilean Navy:

  • Black — Missile Craft, Submarines and SSK's crew
  • Green — Combat Diver (Navy) and Comandos Anfibio (Marine Corps Special Operations)

Berets in Chilean Air Force:

  • Dark blue — Ground troops
  • Black — Commandos and Paratroopers


Since May 5, 2000, the People's Liberation Army has adopted woolen berets for all its personnel,[8] along with the traditional peaked caps. Type 99 beret

  • Olive green — Ground Force and Second artillery force
  • Dark blue — Navy
  • Black - Marine corps
  • Blue-grey — Air Force (including Airborne troops)

Berets were not officially adopted by the CAPF, but some of the forces issued their own types NOT OFFICIAL:

  • Red—CAPF Provincial Women Special Police Corps
  • Dark blue—Public Security Police SWAT

During the 80s, camo berets were issued to some of the recon forces of PLA. It has no badge on it.

Type 07 uniform is being issued to both PLA and CAPF on August 1, 2007. Colours of 07 berets are changed to the same colours with the service uniform. And several changes in designs were made from type 99 beret. The berets were not being issued until summer of 2009 to most of the troops.

Other than colours of the berets, the most significant difference between type 99 and type 07 is the type 99 beret badge is cloth, while type 07 is plastic.


Berets are worn by all personnel of the National Army of Colombia (Ejército) and certain members of the Navy (Armada), with distinctive colors for some units or functions. The beret colors are:

  • Black — Lancero Instructors; Naval Infantry (Infantería de Marina).[9]
  • Green — Counterguerrilla Units.
  • Maroon — Air Assault Units/Special Forces (Comandos).[10]
  • Dark Brown — Counter-terrorism Units.[11]
  • Sky Blue — Airborne School Instructors.
  • Dark Blue — Special Brigade Against Narcotrafficking (Brigada Especial Contra el Narcotráfico - BRCNA).[12][13]


In the Croatian Army berets are used in special forces and guard brigades.
During Croatian War of Independence, Croatian Army consisted of seven professional brigades—guard brigades, each having its beret colour. During the army reforms number of guard brigades was cut to two, but the battalions kept the names and insignia (colour of beret also) of ex brigades.

Joint staff:

Guard brigades:

  • Armored Mechanized Guard Brigade
    • Black — 1st Mechanized Battalion "Sokolovi"
    • Brown — 2nd Mechanized Battalion "Pume"
    • Black — Tank Battalion "Kune"
  • Motorized Guard Brigade
    • Black — 1st Mechanized Battalion "Tigrovi"
    • Green — 2nd Mechanized Battalion "Gromovi"
    • Black — 1st Motorized Battalion "Vukovi"
    • Red — 2nd Motorized Battalion "Pauci"

Also dark blue beret is used in Croatian Navy.

Czech Republic[edit]

The Armed Forces of the Czech Republic use berets for both battledress and display uniform. The colour of the beret is defined by the branch of the armed forces. The beret displays the state coat of arms with two swords crossed underneath and the badge of rank of the individual.[14]


Danish Army beret. Green marks the soldier as belonging to a combat support regiment. The badge belongs to The Signal Regiment.

The Royal Danish Army first introduced berets for its armour personnel in 1958. It was later extended to the whole army, Homeguard and parts of the Navy and Airforce, replacing the standard issue Side cap.[15]

Colour Wearer
       Black Jutland Dragoons, Guard Hussars, Royal Life Guard, Army Combined Operations Training Center (HKIC), Garnisonskommandant Vordingborg and 1st Danish Artillery Battalion[16]
Green Engineers, Logistics, Army Intelligence Center, Army Home Guard, Infrastructure Home Guard
Dark Blue Royal Danish Navy; Naval Home Guard and Signal troops
Maroon Jægerkorpset (army special forces)
Red Military Police
Light Blue Grey Royal Danish Air Force; Air Force Home Guard
Light Blue (or "Mouse Grey") Army Air Corps, Disbanded
Dark brown Danish Women's Voluntarily Corp (Dansk Lottekorps), Disbanded
M84 camouflage pattern.png Camouflage Naval Infantry, Armoured Forces of Bornholm (Bornholms Værn's Marineinfantery), Disbanded
UN Blue Personnel serving with the United Nations on international peacekeeping missions


Berets are worn by all personnel of the Ecuadorian Army (Ejército) and certain members of the Navy (Armada) and Air Force (Fuerza Aérea), with distinctive colours for some units or functions. The beret colours are:

  • Black — Military Police; Naval Infantry (Infantería de Marina)
  • Red — Paratroopers and Special Operations Forces
  • Dark blue — Army Aviation (Aviación del Ejército); Air Force Aerial Infantry (Infantería Aérea)
  • Dark green — all other Army units; National Police GIR (Intervention & Rescue Unit)
  • Gray — for use with the dress uniform (4-B) for those forces using the dark green beret
  • Camouflage — IWIA (indigenous tribal members unit) forces
  • Royal blue — Air Force Security Police


  • Maroon — Paratroopers
  • Forest green — Armour
  • Dark blue — Infantry
  • Dark blue with red band — Presidential Guard
  • Black — Artillery
  • Red — Military Police
  • Green — Engineers


All personnel of the EDF or Eritrean Defense Forces wear Berets.

  • Red — Air Force Units
  • Green — Army Units
  • Blue — Naval Units
  • Purple — Border Guard


All personnel in the Estonian Military used to wear Berets in the beginning on 90's. In 2013, berets were reinstated.

  • Green — Ground Forces
  • Black — Armoured Corps, Naval Units
  • Red — Military police
  • White - Military Bands Service when not in parade dress uniform


The Finnish general Ensio Siilasvuo .

The Finnish Defence Force uses berets with cap badges for the Army, Navy and the Air Force. The berets are worn in "clean" garrison duties such as roll calls and with the walking-out uniform, but not with the battle dress. Until the mid-1990s, the beret was reserved for troops with special status, such as the armoured troops, coastal jägers and the parachute jägers, but is nowadays used by all units. In the winter, berets are replaced by winter headgear.

Berets are also used by the Finnish Border Guard, which is a military organization under the aegis of Ministry of Interior during peacetime.

  • Olive drab (Badge: Silver lion's head) — Army
  • Olive drab (Badge: Golden lion's head with a crown) — Finnish Rapid Deployment Force and units abroad
  • Blue (Badge: Air Force insignia) — Air Force
  • Blue (Badge: Silver griffin) — Army aviation
  • Blue (Badge: Harp and sword) — Military bands
  • Dark blue (Badge: Anchor and Lion) — Navy, including coastal troops, but with the exception of coastal jägers
  • Black (Badge: Gothic helmet) — Armoured Brigade
  • Dark green (Badge: Golden sea eagle's head) — Coastal jägers
  • Maroon (Badge: Arrow and parachute) — Airborne Jägers and Special Jägers of Utti Jäger Regiment
  • Olive drab (Badge: Golden bear's head, sword and fir tree twig) — Border Jägers
  • Brown (Badge: Golden bear's head, sword and fir tree twig) — Special Border Jägers


French marines paratroopers in Rwanda.

The military beret originated in the French Army, in the form of the wide and floppy headdress worn by the Chasseurs Alpins (mountain light infantry) from their foundation in the early 1880s. The practical uses of the beret were soon known Army-wide : the entire Expeditionnary Force sent in China in 1900 used beret as headwear[17] A tight-fitting version was subsequently adopted by French armoured troops towards the end of World War I. Between the wars, special fortress units raised to garrison the Maginot Line wore khaki berets as did the 13th DBLE of the French Foreign Legion when it was created in 1940. The Vichy Milice of the War period wore a blue beret.

The beret in red, blue or green was a distinction of the Metropolitan, Colonial and Foreign Legion paratroop units during the Indochina and Algerian wars. After 1962 the beret in either light khaki or the colours specified above became the standard French Army headdress for ordinary use.

With the exception of the Naval Commandos (Commandos Marine) and the Naval Infantry (Fusiliers Marins) whose berets are worn pulled to the right, all other French military berets (Army, Airforce & Gendarmerie) are pulled to the left with the badge worn over the right eye or temple. Gendarmerie personnel serving with the European Gendarmerie Force - an EU crisis response & intervention force - wear the standard EUROGENDFOR royal blue beret & badge when so assigned.

Colour Wearer
       Wide dark blue Chasseurs Alpins (the wide beret's nickname is the tarte (pie)) also worn with a white cover (winter dress).
Dark blue Fusiliers Commandos de l'Air; Troupes de Marine & all other Army troops; Gendarmerie Provost; Naval Fusiliers (badge on left)
Green French Foreign Legion (badge on right); Naval Commandos (badge on left)
Red (called amarante) Paratroopers wear red beret (except paratroopers of the Foreign Legion who wear Legion green)
Azure blue Army Light Aviation
Black Armoured regiments (Regiments de Chars de Combat); Gendarmerie GIGN anti-terrorist unit
UN blue Personnel serving with the United Nations on international peacekeeping missions


Berets in Gabonese Army:

  • Dark red/rouge— Paratroopers
  • Light grey — Armoured troops
  • Green — Republican Guard
  • Green — Commandos Marine
  • Dark red — Army Medical Corps
  • Dark blue — other Army units


First Sergeant of the Panzerjäger with black beret 1989

The German Heer uses berets with different badges for every branch of service. The Luftwaffe and the Marine issue dark blue berets only to their ground or land combat units (called Luftwaffensicherungstruppe and Marineschutzkräfte) respectively. Berets are usually worn at special ceremonies and roll calls, although units with a special esprit de corps, especially armoured and mechanized infantry (Panzergrenadiere) battalions, wear their berets all the time. German berets are always pulled to the right, with the badge visible over the left temple.

  • Black — armoured units, including armoured reconnaissance
  • Maroon — airborne units (or units with substantial airborne components), including paratroopers, army aviation, Airmobile Operations Division (DLO; Division Luftbewegliche Operationen), and Division Special Operations (DSO; Division Spezielle Operationen), including the KSK (Kommando Spezialkräfte)
  • Red — support units, including artillery, engineers, intelligence, psychological operations (Operative Information), anti-aircraft, supply, NBC protection, signals, electronic warfare, transport, topography, and military police (Feldjäger), 'Instandssetzung' Vehicle Maintenance
  • Moss green — infantry units, including Jägertruppe (light infantry), Panzergrenadiere (armoured infantry), army ceremonial guards (Wachbataillon des Heeres) and the now disbanded Panzerjäger (armoured anti-tank);
  • Blue — medical units
  • Dark blue — Luftwaffe (Air Force) and Marine (Navy) infantry and ceremonial guards; Offizieranwärterbataillon (Officer Candidate Battalions of the Army) multinational units (e.g. Eurocorps)
  • Light Blue — Troops in UN units

Military bands wear the beret colour of their respective division (e.g. black in the 1. Panzerdivision).

Note: The Panzerjäger started off with black berets but were moved into the Panzergrenadier branch. The last Panzerjägers wore green berets.


The beret colours worn by the Ghana Army are as follows:

  • Black — Armoured Corps
  • Dark Green — Airborne Force (ABF)
  • Red — Military Police
  • Dark Blue — All other Arms and Corps


The beret colours worn by the Hellenic Army are as follows:

  • Light blue — Presidential Guard
  • Black — Armoured Corps
  • Green — Special Forces (including Commandos, Marines and Parachute despatchers/riggers)
  • Dark red/maroon — Army Aviation
  • Bright red/scarlet — Airborne troops
  • Dark Blue — All other Arms and Corps when in number 8a 8b and 8c Service Dress.

When in camouflage fatigues, the camouflaged cap is worn instead of the dark blue beret. The beret colours worn by the Hellenic Air Force are:

  • Blue-grey (same colours as RAF) — Air Force Underwater Operations Squadron
  • Dark red/Maroon — Air Force Special Operations Squadron


  • Black - Parachute Brigade (Brigada Paracaidista)
  • Maroon - Kaibiles (Special Forces)


History: the first beret-type cap (khaki colour, with black ribbon and "eagle" badge) was issued for Air Force enlisted personnel in 1930, but berets became popular in the 1970s, when reconnaissance troops (paratroopers) were issued with rifle green (or grass green) berets. Previously maroon beret was also experimented and even reversible (green to camo) "multi-purpose" berets were produced, but the standardization started on the 1975 military parade. In 1982 military secondary school students were issued with green berets too, while in 1987 River Force troopers received dark blue beret. After the collapse of the communism the beret as "mark of the elite trooper" received more and more popularity among soldiers.

Berets currently in Hungarian military:

  • Black (with tank troops' badge) — Armoured Units
  • Black (with anchor badge) — personnel of the river boats
  • Scarlet (with MP badge) — Military Police
  • Scarlet(with artillery or AA badge) — Artillery, Anti-Aircraft Artillery
  • Grass Green (with paratroops badge)— Paratroopers
  • Grass Green (with engineer's badge)— Engineers
  • Grass Green (with infantry badge) — Infantry (only in foreign missions)

Except these official versions different unofficial beret types, colours and badges are worn, for example Dark Blue berets by Signal Corps cadets etc.


Icelandic armed services commonly use berets.


The beret is the standard headgear for the Indian Army. Berets are worn by officers and other ranks, apart from Sikhs, who wear turbans. The beret colours worn by the Indian Army are as follows:

  • Green — Infantry regiments and Military Intelligence
  • Dark (rifle) green — National Cadet Corps and rifle regiments and some light infantry regiments including the Mechanised Infantry Regiment.
  • Maroon — The Parachute Regiment and Special Forces
  • Black — Armoured Corps and the National Security Guards
  • Grey — Army Aviation Corps and the Indian Air Force
  • Scarlet — Corps of Military Police
  • Navy blue — The Regt of Artillery, Arms and services, Indian Navy
  • Sand — Marine Commandos
  • Light Blue — All personnel serving with the United Nations forces irrespective of unit, arm or service
  • Dark Blue- Corps of Engineers and Corps of Signals
  • Red-Corps of Military Police
  • Dark Green - worn by the commandos of one of the deadliest jungle warfare force of the world . i.e. COBRA Commandos .


The beret is the headgear of ground forces and military police in the Indonesian Armed Forces. In Military Services (Army, Navy and Air Force), the berets are dragged to the right (the insignia are worn on the left side), while in National Police Service and Military Police units, the berets are dragged to the left (the insignia are worn on the right side). Military Services:


  • Dark Blue - Iranian Marines
  • Black - Sepah-I-Pasdaran (Revolutionary Guard Special Forces), and Police
  • Green - NOHED Special Forces (Iranian Rangers), Iranian Marines Special Forces
  • Tan - Special Ground Forces


Iraqi Maroon Beret

The beret colour system used for the different branches of the Iraqi military and security forces changed after the fall of Saddam Hussein. Berets currently worn by Iraqi forces:

  • Maroon — Army (formerly Commandos and Paratroops)
  • Khaki (olive green) — no longer used (formerly Iraqi Army)
  • Green — Special Forces (formerly Thunder Paratroops)
  • Bright Red — Military Police
  • Black — Police (formerly Republican Guards)
  • Blue — Air Force


All Army personnel wear a common capbadge, a sunburst insignia with the letters "FF" inscribed above the left eye of the beret. The Irish Defence Forces cap badge for Officers in the Army has a more subdued appearance. Air Corps and Naval Service personnel wear their own cap badge on berets.

Irish troops wear UN blue berets while serving with UNIFIL in Lebanon.

Uii The beret colours worn by the Irish Defence Forces are as follows:

Colour Wearer
       Black Army, Air Corps and Naval Service - Army personnel wear red patch behind cap badge
Red Military Police
Dark green Army Ranger Wing (special forces)
UN blue Personnel serving with the United Nations on international peacekeeping missions

The beret colours worn by the Reserve Defence Forces are as follows:

Colour Wearer
       Light green Army Reserve - worn with dark green patch behind cap badge
Red Reserve Military Police - worn with dark green patch behind cap badge
Black Naval Service Reserve


Soldiers of the Nahal Brigade wearing light green berets

Israeli Defense Forces soldiers wear berets only on formal occasions, such as ceremonies and roll calls, and in disciplinary situations such as courts martial and imprisonments. While they are not on formal occasions, they must place the beret beneath the left epaulette. The Border Police, which are a unit of the civil police rather than the military IDF, wear their berets at most times. The beret colors are as follows:

Corps Color
Air Force
Air Force  
Infantry Corps
Golani Brigade  
Paratroopers Brigade and SF units  
Nahal Brigade  
Givati Brigade  
Kfir Brigade Camouflage.svg
Armor Corps
Armor Corps  
Artillery Corps
Artillery Corps  
Combat Intelligence Corps
Combat Intelligence Corps  
Engineering Corps
Engineering Corps  
Directorate of Military Intelligence  
Military Police
Military Police  
Border Police
Border Police  
Home Front
Home Front Command  
General Corps  
Sea Corps  


Italian Carabinieri parachutists in a military parade
A female soldier of the Italian Folgore Brigade.

Italian Army personnel used to wear a garrison cap alongside the combination cap, until the early 1970s when the garrison cap was replaced by the beret. Until the early 1980s the general Army colour for the beret was drab khaki, the black being reserved to armoured units. The colours presently used by the Italian Army are as follows:

  • Maroon — Paratroopers, Folgore Airborne Brigade; Army Incursori Special Operations Forces
  • Light blue — Army Aviation, 66th Airmobile Infantry Regiment
  • Black — all other Army units (the Bersaglieri light infantry have royal blue beret strings, instead of black ones like the rest of the Italian Military)
  • Green - The Lagunari Serenissima amphibious infantry Regiment received 'Lagoon green' berets in 2011 after service in Afghanistan

The Italian Navy uses the following berets:

The Italian Air Force uses the following berets:

Other Italian services that use berets:


All members in the Ground Self-Defense Force are authorized to wear wool rifle green berets - referred to as the "ベレー帽" (ベレーボウ or bereebou) - as an optional head covering for dress, working and camouflage uniforms since 1992. However, it is normally considered a special dress item, worn for public relations events or parades. An embroidered goldwork cap badge representing the JGSDF logo identical to the one used on the service dress peaked cap is required by regulation to be affixed to the beret.


The beret colours worn by the Jordanian Army are as follows:

  • Olive green - Infantry
  • Maroon — Special Forces
  • Black — Armoured Corps
  • Green — Royal Guards
  • Dark Blue - Artillery
  • Sky-blue - Engineers
  • Red — Military police
  • Grey Blue - Air Force
  • Dark Blue - Navy


The beret colours worn by the Kenya Armed Forces are as follows:

  • Black — Armoured Corps
  • Green — Airborne Battalion
  • Red — Military police
  • Dark Blue - All other Arms and Corps including naval service
  • Blue Grey - Air Force


  • Green — National Guard
  • Commando Green - Special Forces (formerly Commandos)
  • Black — Army Ground forces
  • Red — Military Police
  • Maroon — Emiri Guard
  • Dark Blue - Air Force and Naval Forces


The beret colours worn by the Latvian Army are as follows:

  • Olive-green — Parliament and President's Security Service Unit
  • Red — Military police
  • Black - All other Arms and Corps


All units, in the Lebanese Armed Forces wear berets when not in combat mode (Helmet), training camp (cap) or formal uniform (formal hat).

The Lebanese Army, unlike most militaries, wears the beret slanted (pulled down) on the left side as the Army embelm is positioned to the right aligned with the right eyebrow.

  • Pigment Green - The Fast Intervention Battalions (SF)(5)
  • Brown - Airborne Battalion (SF)
  • Red - Military Police
  • Black - Republican Guard Brigade (Presidential Guard), Anti-terrorism Unit MOKAFAHA (SF)
  • Bordeaux red/Maroon - Rangers Battalion (SF), Navy Rangers Battalion (SF)
  • Dark Blue — The 11 Bregades, Cadets and the rest of the Army.


  • Maroon — National Defence Volunteer Forces
  • Scarlet — Military Police
  • Green — Military Land Force
  • Green — Iron Wolf Mechanised Infantry Brigade
  • Grey — (SOP- Specialiųjų operacijų pajėgos) SOF- Special operations force


Female RMN personnels with dark blue coloured beret
The PASKAL personnel wearing the reddish purple or magenta coloured beret while GGK (right) wearing the sherwood green coloured beret.

The beret is the headgear of ground forces, air aviations and special forces in the Malaysian Armed Forces. The colours presently used are:

  1. Rifle Green — Royal Malay Regiment (Infantry)
  2. Dark Blue With Black Hackle — Royal Ranger Regiment (Infantry)
  3. Maroon10 Paratrooper Brigade (Paratroopers)
  4. Sherwood Green — Grup Gerak Khas (Special Forces)
  5. Cypress Green — Royal Intelligence Corps
  6. Cambridge Blue — Army Air Corps
  7. BlackRoyal Armoured Corps
  8. Scarlet RedRoyal Military Police Corps
  9. Dark Blue — other Army branches
  1. Dark Blue — Regular and reserve force personnel
  2. Reddish Purple (Magenta) — PASKAL (English: Naval Special Warfare Team) commandos
  1. Sky Blue — PASKAU (English: Air Force Special Air Service) commandos and regular aviation
  2. Dark Blue — RMAF regiment personnels, reserve force and RMAF provosts personnels


The beret colours worn by the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) are as follows:

  • Maroon — Special Forces
  • Red — Military Police
  • Green — Marines and other support units
  • Black — Parade Beret


The beret colours worn by the Malian Armed Forces are as follows:

  • Maroon — Paratroopers.
  • Brown — Republican Guard.
  • Green — Infantry and other army units.
  • Dark blue — Air Force


In the Mexican Army, the beret is worn by:

  • Green - Special Forces
  • Maroon — Paratroopers (formerly purple, circa 1980s)
  • Black — Presidential Guards Corps
  • Steel Grey — Armor
  • Brown - Airmobile Units

In the Mexican Navy:

  • Black — Paratroopers, Navy Special Forces.
Alternative text
Mongolian army soldiers in dark green beret


In 2002, new army uniforms were introduced to the Mongolian armed forces and along with new uniform design, dark green berets were issued to all personnel. According to the rules, all military berets are pushed to the right and displays "Soyombo" symbol in middle of golden oak leaves in the right side.

Berets are worn by Mongolian Police since 1994. Police berets are deferent from the army beret in color and in shape, while it is pushed to the left while army berets are pushed to the right.

  • Dark green - All branches of Armed forces
  • Red - Internal troops.
  • Dark blue - National emergency troops (rescuers)
  • Black - Police unit (pushed to the left)
  • Light blue - UN peacekeepers (pushed to the right)


The Moroccan military Uniform is inspired from the French Uniform, the berets are usually pulled to the left with the badge worn over the right eye or temple.

  • Lime Green - Armed Forces (Les Forces armees royales), including Paratroopers
  • Red - Royal Guard (La garde royale)
  • Blue - Royal Moroccan air force
  • Dark BLue - The Air Force and Security Forces
  • UN Blue - Moroccan-United Nations troops Personnel serving with the United Nations on international peacekeeping missions
  • Brown - Moroccan Auxiliary troops


Presently, the following berets are in use by the Defense Armed Forces of Mozambique:

  • Brown — Army general use
  • Red — Commandos
  • Olive Green - Forcas Especiais (Special Forces)
  • Navy blue — Fuzileiros (Marines)



When the Royal Netherlands Armed Forces acquired new modernised uniforms (designed by the Dutch couturier Frans Molenaar) in 2000, the berets changed as well. Since 2004, soldiers of the Royal Netherlands Army have worn a petrol (blue-green) beret, whereas previously they wore brown.

The following colours are also used (before and after the modernisation):



Note: The only Dutch military unit that do not wear a beret are the Gele Rijders (Horse Artillery), who wear a blue garrison cap with yellow trimming. Air Force:

Military Police:


All regiments and services have their own distinctive colours. There are quite a lot, but the number of colours in the logistic services was reduced in 2001. This colour is shown in a patch of cloth behind the beret flash. The intendance (maroon), transport troops (blue), military administration (pink; hence the nickname 'Pink Mafia'), technical service (black), and medical troops and service (green) lost their colours and all now wear yellow patches. In 2010, the components recovered their color, except the administration they got the crimson color.

  • Infantry — Red, except:
    • Grenadier Guards — Red with blue border
    • Rifle Guards — Green with yellow border
    • Fusilier Guards — Orange with blue border
    • Regiment van Heutsz — Black with orange border
    • Limburg Rifles Regiment — Green with maroon border
  • Korps Commandotroepen — Black with dark green border
  • Cavalry (Armour) — Blue with white, red or orange border
  • Cavalry (Reconnaissance) — Blue with black border
  • Artillery — Black with red border
  • Engineers — Brown
  • Signals — Blue with white border
  • Logistics — Yellow
  • Legal Affairs — Black with white border
  • Psychological and Sociological Service — Red
  • Protestant Chaplains — Black
  • Catholic Chaplains — Blue
  • Jewish Chaplains — Black
  • Humanist Society Chaplains — Bright green
  • Hindu Chaplains — Bright blue
  • Troops in Initial Training — Red
  • Royal Military Academy Cadets — Red with yellow border
  • Physical Training Instructors — Blue
  • Technical Staff — Maroon

New Zealand[edit]

Personnel of the Royal New Zealand Navy and New Zealand Defence Force Military Police wear dark navy blue. Since 1999 all units in the New Zealand Army have worn a universal rifle green beret, except for the Special Air Service, who wear sand colour . Royal New Zealand Air Force personnel do not wear berets.


The Nicaraguan Armed Forces wear berets in the following colours:

Berets in Nicaraguan Army:

  • Green — Special Forces (COE)
  • Black - Generals of Staff´s Protection VIP

Berets in Nicaraguan Navy:

  • Dark Blue — Special Naval Forces


  • Dark Green — Army


Norwegian soldier wearing an olive green beret

The Norwegian armed forces use the beret as a garrison cap, but some units (mostly armored vehicle personnel) also use it in the field. The Norwegian beret and all other headwear except those of the Navy and His Majesty The King's Guard always have the current king's cipher as a badge in gold (most of the army) or silver (the air force); currently this is a numeral 5 inside an H, for "Harald V". The navy has a crowned gold anchor for their enlisted personnel, a crowned gold anchor surrounded by a circle of rope for their petty officers, and a crowned golden anchor surrounded by leaved branches for officers. The colours used are:

The special operations units of the Navy wear the same berets as the rest of the navy. However they have a coloured patch behind the cap badge, the colour of which determines the unit:


  • Dark Blue - Worn by the General Staff officers (rank of Colonel and above) irrespective of their Regimental association.


The Paraguayan Armed Forces wear berets in the following colours:[18]

Berets in Paraguayan Army:

  • Green — Paratroopers
  • Dark Blue - Presidential Guard[19]

Berets in Paraguayan Navy:

Berets in Paraguayan Air Force:

  • Red - Air Force Infantry and Airborne personnel


Berets were widely worn by many units in the Panamanian Defense Force (PDF) under Manuel Noriega. The PDF was abolished in February 1990, and with it all of the old military units stood down. Unique beret insignia were never approved, so units authorized to wear berets wore a combination of the approved shoulder insignia, as well as rank and qualification insignia (e.g. parachutist wings) on the berets. The following were being worn at the time of the 1989 invasion:

  • Black - 7th Infantry Company "Macho de Monte"; Comando Operacional de Fuerzas Expeciales (COFFEE - Special Forces Command)
  • Maroon - Battalion 2000; 2nd Airborne Infantry Company "Puma"; 3rd Infantry Company "Diablo Rojo"
  • Lime Green - 4th Infantry Company "Urraca"
  • Camouflage - 7th Infantry Company "Macho de Monte"; Comando Operacional de Fuerzas Expeciales (Cadre)


Philippine Army

Philippine Air Force

  • Dark blue with PAF seal - Philippine Air Force base security personnel
  • Camouflage with PAF seal- Philippine Air Force pararescue
  • Black with SPOW flash - Philippine Air Force 710th Special Operations Wing
  • Black with PSG flash - Philippine Air Force units assigned to the Presidential Security Group
  • UN blue - AFP personnel assigned to UN Peacekeeping Operations and cadets of the Peacekeeping Operations Center


Black berets were introduced before World War II for tank and armoured car crews. During World War II, berets were widely adopted in the Polish Army on the Western Front, armored troops - black, airborne - grey, commando - green. After the war in the communist era, berets were worn only by armoured units (black), navy for field and work uniform (black), paratroopers (maroon), and marines (light blue). After 1990, the beret became the standard headgear in the Armed Forces of Republic of Poland. Around the year 2000 the design of the Polish Army Beret changed, the beret sewn together from three pieces of material with four air holes, two at each side was changed to a smaller beret molded from one piece of material with no air holes. The following colours are in use:

Berets in other units

  • Light Green — Border Guards (discontinued, replaced by camouflage field cap)
  • Black - Border Guards naval units
  • Steel grey - Border Guards air units
  • Navy Blue — Police anti terrorist units
  • Green — Strzelec paramilitary units
  • Sapphire BlueGovernment Protection Bureau and disbanded Vistula Troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs

The black beret is also the distinctive headgear of World War II veterans, particularly Armia Krajowa veterans.

The dress code of the Polish armed forces states than when not worn on the head or kept in a locker the beret should be placed under the left shoulder loop.


The beret was first introduced in the Portuguese Armed Forces in 1956, when the Air Force Paratroopers adopted the green beret. The Portuguese Army adopted the brown beret for its Caçadores Especiais special forces in 1960, generalizing its wear to all units in 1962.

The following colors of berets were or are still worn by the Portuguese Military and Paramilitary forces:

Colour Wearer
       Green Paratroopers
Brown Caçadores Especiais in 1960-1962, Army general use since 1962
Black Cavalry branch (except Cavalry Paratroopers and including Military Police) since 1962, Angola Provincial Organization of Volunteers and Civil Defense until 1975
Red Commandos (worn unofficially by some units since 1966 and officially since 1974)
Moss green Special Operations Forces
Blue Navy general use
Dark blue Marines, Republican National Guard (GNR) Infantry Regiment until 2013 (with a green stripe below)
Medium blue Air Force Police
Dark green Republican National Guard (GNR) general use since 2013
Yellow Special Groups of Mozambique until 1975
Maroon Paratrooper Special Groups until 1975
French lizard pattern camo.jpg Camouflage Guinea 3rd and 5th Commando companies (unofficial) in 1966-1968, Flechas until 1975
White Volunteer Aerial Formations until 1975
Tan GIPS (GNR rescue unit) until 2013 (still worn unofficially since then)
UN blue Personnel serving with the United Nations on international peacekeeping missions


Acting Lieutenant Nigel John Theron of 2 Commando, Rhodesian Light Infantry receives the Bronze Cross of Rhodesia in 1976

Until the reconstitution Rhodesia as Zimbabwe ended their existence in 1980, the Rhodesian Security Forces wore the beret as the primary working dress and service dress headgear. Berets were coloured according to unit or service branch, with a distinctive regimental cap badge pinned above the left eye. The Rhodesian Security Forces were integrated into the new Zimbabwe Defence Forces in 1980.


  • Brown — Infantry
  • Black — Anti-air Artillery and Missiles, Artillery, Military Automobile Troops (automobilişti militari), Tanks, Communication and Informatics structures, Engineers, Nuclear Biological and Chemical (NBC) Defense and Naval Forces
  • Green — Mountain Troops (or Mountain Hunters, Vânători de Munte), Special Operations Forces
  • Maroon — Paratroopers
  • Light blue — Air Force and Radar Troops (radiolocaţie)
  • Gray — Military Police
  • Violet — Military Logistics, or administration (intendenţă)
  • Dark red (bordeaux red) — Military Medicine
  • Red — Military Music
  • Dark blue — Military Justice, Romanian Gendarmerie (Jandarmeria Română)

Russian Federation[edit]

In 2011, the Russian Defence Ministry issued berets to all non-naval military personnel for field uniforms.

Saudi Arabia[edit]

Armed Forces of Saudi Arabia

Saudi military police
Colour Worn by[20]
Saudi Arabian Army Berets.png
Olive Green Royal Saudi Land Forces.
Royal Saudi Air Force Berets.png
Blue Royal Saudi Air Force.
Royal Saudi Navy Berets.png
Black Royal Saudi Navy.
Royal Saudi Air Defense Berets.png
Dark Green Royal Saudi Air Defense.
Military Police Saudi Arabian Berets.png
Red Military Police Armed Forces of Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Special Forces And Paratroopers Berets.png
Maroon And units of paratroopers and Special Security Forces.


  • Tan/sand - Bataillon de Parachutistes (Army Parachute Battalion)
  • Brown - Bataillon de Commandos (Army Commando Battalion)
  • Black - Detachment Forces Speciales (Special Forces Detachment)
  • Orange - Groupement Mobil d'Intervention (Mobile Intervention Group)
  • Blue - Legion de Gendarmerie d'Intervention (Gendarmerie Intervention Unit)
  • Green - Compagnie Fusilier de Marine Comandos (COFUMACO)(Navy Marine Comandos)


The Serbian Armed Forces was wearing berets in the following colours:

  • Green — Army
  • Black — Military Police
  • Maroon — Special Forces
  • Steel blue — Air Force
  • Navy blue — Navy

With introduction of new M10 uniform and new regulations, berets are being replaced with garrison caps, remaining only with some branches worn in the following colours:

  • Black — Military Police and Counter-terrorist units
  • Maroon — Special Forces
  • Light blue - Guard


The Singapore Armed and Police Forces adopts the beret as their standard headgear. The different color divisions are as follows:

The berets are all adorned with the Singapore Armed Forces coat of arms, with the exception of the Air Force beret, Military Police beret, navy beret and police beret which are adorned with their respective cap-badge. Officers in the navy have a different cap-badge from the enlisted men. Officers of the rank of colonel and above have a different cap-badge.

  • National Cadet Corps (Land)- Green
  • National Cadet Corps (Air)- Blue
  • National Cadet Corps (Sea)- Black
  • National Police Cadet Corps- Dark Blue

All berets have the National Cadet Corps or National Police Cadet Corps crest on the front.


  • Black - tank forces, army air defense
  • Dark green - units of high readiness, immediately reaction battalion
  • Maroon - paratrooper units,5.regiment of special assignment(airborne)
  • Dark blue - military police
  • Light blue - united nation peace keeping forces, training unit for peace keeping mission


  • Rifle Green - Special forces
  • Green — Military Police
  • Olive green - Signal units
  • Black - Armour units
  • Maroon - motorised infantry/Paratroopers
  • Dark blue — Navy units
  • Light blue — Air force
  • Grey - Mountain units
  • Sand - NBC units
  • Red - Guard unit

South Africa[edit]

The South African Army wears the beret as its standard headgear. The different color divisions are as follows:

  • Dark Green — infantry
  • Black — Armour, Intelligence, Technical Services Corps
  • Orange — Military Police
  • Dark Maroon (Plum) — 44 Parachute Regiment, Special Forces Regiment
  • Dark blue — Artillery, Engineers
  • Light blue — Logistical Corps
  • Light Orange — Personnel, Legal Service
  • Beige - SA Corps of Signals

The berets are all adorned with the unit's insignia. Some of the traditional units wear other headgear - for example, the Cape Town Highlanders Regiment and the band of the South African Military Health Service.

Outside of Army, the South African Military Health Service wear red berets. The South African Special Forces Brigade which is a separate entity, not part of the army, also wear the Maroon beret which is traditional for elite units in the western world.

South Korea[edit]

Berets are mostly limited to the elite units of the South Korean Military, including:

Other than these units, several secret commando units (mostly disbanded in the mid-1990s, among them the "Unit 684" which became infamous for its mutiny) formed to infiltrate North Korea during the Cold War days wore black berets and adorned them with the badges of individual units. Korean liaison soldiers serving in the U.S. Eighth Army (KATUSA) have also been wearing black berets along with American uniforms since that beret became a standard headgear of the U.S. Army in 2001.

As of 2006, there have been several proposals within the Korean Ministry of Defense to replace the current field cap with a dark-coloured beret as the standard army headgear.

South Vietnam[edit]

American advisers assigned to these units wore the berets.[21]

  • Red — Paratroopers
  • Green — Marines, LLDB
  • Maroon — Rangers
  • Black — Navy Junk Force
  • Black — Palace guards
  • Tan — political officers


The beret is used in the various armed forces of Spain. The colours used are:[22]

  • Maroon - 1st King's Immemorial Infantry Regiment of AHQ.
  • Red - General Military Academy.
  • Black - Airborne Brigade (BRIPAC), Mechanized Division "Brunete", Air Force Police.
  • Dark Green - Special Operations units (MOE, UOE, EZAPAC).
  • Green - Mountain Brigade (Jefatura de Tropas de Montaña).
  • Olive - Spanish Army general issue berets.
  • Brown - Military Police
  • Mustard - Military Emergencies Unit (UME).
  • Royal Blue - Royal Guard, Army Helicopters (FAMET).
  • Grey - BRILAT (Brigada de Infantería Ligera Galicia VII).
  • Tan - BRILCAN (Brigada de Infantería Ligera Canarias XVI)

Sri Lanka[edit]


Swedish amphibious corps soldier with green beret

The beret is used in the various armed forces of Sweden. The colours used are:[23]

  • Dark blue — Generals in the army and amphibious corps, all other military units not assigned another beret color, except for the navy.
  • Black — Life Guard regiment infantry, armoured/mechanised units, Land Warfare Center.
  • Rifle green — Life Guard regiment cavalry, Airmobile Battalion, ISTAR Battalion, Army Ranger Battalion, Lapland Ranger Unit, Armed forces intelligence and security center, military police. Also worn by the Airforce Rangers.
  • Commando green - Amphibious Corps
  • Maroon — Parachute Ranger company
  • Khaki — Home Guard
  • Scarlet — Life guard regiment musicians
  • Bright blue — Helicopter Flotillia (helicopters)
  • Olive green - Special Operations Group (SOG. Special Forces)
  • Light blue - Military personnel in UN-service.
  • Yellow - EU monitors etcetera.


The beret is worn by all police and military personal.

  • Maroon - Paratroops
  • Pink - special police


Since 1995, when it replaced the grey side cap, the beret is worn with the dress uniform and with the personally issued battle dress uniform by all Swiss soldiers. In training, a camouflage-colored field cap is worn instead.

The colours used are:[24]

  • Black — armoured and mechanised units; signals and headquarters troops; NBC specialists; intelligence, military justice and general staff personnel
  • Green — infantry, musicians
  • Red — artillery
  • Deep blue — Air Force (including paratroopers)
  • Blue — medical personnel
  • Dark red — logistics troops
  • Grey — military police
  • Light blue — troops on UN missions


The beret is used in the various armed forces of Thailand. The colours used are:

The black beret is also worn by ordinary police in certain situations.


The beret colours worn by the Togolese Army are as follows:

  • Black — Armoured Corps.
  • Maroon — Para-Commando Regiment.
  • Green — Presidential Guard Commando Regiment.
  • Dark Blue - All other Arms and Corps


Colour Worn by[25]
       Black Armoured Corps of Turkish Land Forces.
Blue Commando Brigades of Turkish Land Forces.
Bluish-Green Personnel of Police Special Operations Department.
Green Personnel of Gendarmerie General Command.
Maroon Personnel of Special Forces Command.
UN Blue Personnel serving with the United Nations on international peacekeeping missions.

United Kingdom[edit]

Bermuda Regiment recruits wear generic dark blue berets.

The British Army beret dates back to 1918 when the French 70th Chasseurs alpins were training with the British Tank Corps. The Chasseurs alpins wore a distinctive large beret (see above) and Major-General Sir Hugh Elles, the TC's Colonel, realised this style of headdress would be a practical option for his tank crews, forced to work in a reduced space. He thought, however, that the Chasseur beret was "too sloppy" and the Basque-style beret of the French tank crews was "too skimpy", so a compromise based on the Scottish tam o'shanter was designed and submitted for the approval of George V in November 1923. It was adopted in March 1924.

During the Second World War, the use of the black beret was extended to all the regiments of the Royal Armoured Corps in 1940. The maroon beret was adopted by the Parachute Regiment in 1941 and the green beret by the Commandos in late 1942. A khaki beret was worn by the Reconnaissance Corps from 1941 until 1944,[26] and the Royal Air Force Regiment adopted a blue-grey beret in 1943.[27] Later in the war, a rather baggier beret-like hat, called a General Service Cap, was issued to all ranks of the British Army (with RAC, parachute, commando, Scottish and Irish units excepted), to replace the earlier Field Service Cap. The GS Cap was not popular, and after the war was replaced with a true beret.[28]

Today, every British military unit wears a beret, with the exception of the Royal Regiment of Scotland and Royal Irish Regiment, who wear the tam o'shanter and the caubeen respectively (the Scots Guards and Irish Guards, however, wear berets, as frequently do the Royal Irish Regiment on operations). Many of these berets are in distinctive colours and all are worn with the cap badge of the service, regiment or corps. The cap badge for all services in the UK is usually worn directly over the left eye.

Royal Military Police, 1984

Beret Colours

The colours are as follows:

General rule for wearing a British Army berets taught at training depots is to shape the head dress back and to the right for the material and to have the leather band level around the head with the cap badge two fingers above the left eye. Scottish Infantry have different rules for the Tamo'shanter with the cap badge worn on the left side of the head.

Other Adornments

Some Regiments and Corps wear a coloured backing behind the capbadge. These include:

The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, the only remaining independent fusilier regiment, wears a feather hackle on the beret. Other ranks of the Royal Welsh also wear hackles.

Members of the Royal Tank Regiment, 4/73 (Sphinx) Special OP Battery Royal Artillery,[32] Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, Army Air Corps, Parachute Regiment, SAS and Intelligence Corps wear berets in Nos 1, 2, 3 and 6, Dress. Other English and Welsh Regiments and Corps wear peaked caps in these orders of dress.[33] Troops from other services, regiments or corps on attachment to units with distinctive coloured berets often wear those berets (with their own cap badge). Colonels, brigadiers and generals usually continue to wear the beret of the regiment or corps to which they used to belong with the cap badge distinctive to their rank.

Old Units

Former regiments and corps, now amalgamated:

United States[edit]

The US Army[edit]

Army Special Forces wearing green berets (The flashes on each beret represent a specific Special Forces Group to which they belong.)
COL Richard Clarke official portrait
Army Ranger with tan beret
1st Lt. Alexander Woody with the 82nd Airborne Division
Army Paratrooper with maroon beret
Air Force Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) Instructor with sage green beret
Air Force Security Forces guard with dark blue beret

Berets were originally worn by select forces in the United States Army. The first were worn during World War II, when a battalion of the 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment were presented maroon berets by their British counterparts.[34] Though unofficial at first, the green beret of the US Army Special Forces was formally adopted in 1961. Maroon airborne and black US Army Ranger berets were formally authorized in the 1970s.

"D" Troop 17th Cavalry were authorised a maroon beret in Vietnam.[35]

In the post-Vietnam era, morale in the US Army waned. In response, from 1973 through 1979 HQDA permitted local commanders to encourage morale-enhancing uniform distinctions, however these distinctions were only allowed to be worn on the post. Consequently, many units embraced various colored berets, for example Armor and Armored Cavalry units often adopted the black beret. Similarly many other units embraced various colored berets in an attempt to improve dwindling morale. In particular, the First Cavalry Division assigned various colored berets to its three pronged TRICAP approach. In this implementation, Armored Cavalry, Airmobile Infantry units, Air Cavalry units, Division Artillery units, and Division Support units all wore different colored berets, including black, light blue, kelly green, and red. The 101st Airborne Division was authorised a dark blue beret.

In 1975 all female soldiers of the Women's Army Corps were authorized to wear a black beret variant as standard headgear for the service uniform.[36]

In 1975 the 172nd light Infantry Brg. out of Ft. Richarderson, Alaska were wearing the Olive Drab Berets.

In 2001, Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki ordered the black beret worn as standard headgear army-wide, a controversial decision because it was previously reserved for the Rangers. The Rangers were then authorized to wear a tan beret, exclusive to them. The decision was implemented in hopes of boosting morale among conventional units. However, many soldiers began complaining that the new black beret was not practical with the utility uniform. In June 2011, Army Secretary John McHugh, acting on the recommendations made by Chief of Staff Martin Dempsey and Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond F. Chandler, once again chose the traditional patrol cap to be worn with the utility uniform. The black beret may be authorized with utility uniforms at commander's discretion for special ceremonies. The beret remains part of the Army's dress uniform for all units.

United States Army berets now use the following distinctive colors:

Special Forces, Ranger, and Airborne unit berets sport distinctive organizational flashes. All other units use a standard pale blue flash bordered with 13 white stars. Officers wear their rank insignia within the flash, while enlisted ranks wear their distinctive unit insignia.

The US Navy[edit]

In the United States Navy, female servicemembers may wear a black beret (of a different style than most military berets) instead of a combination hat or garrison cap while in service uniforms.

During the Vietnam War, the US Navy created special boat teams, unofficially dubbed the brown-water navy, to patrol coastlines, estuaries and rivers. Naval personnel assigned to these teams wore black berets as part of their uniform, as portrayed in the movie "Apocalypse Now".[38] US Navy SEAL teams serving in Vietnam wore camouflage berets in the field, the only beret somewhat standardized in the SEALs.

The US Air Force[edit]


  • Grey - Army 14th Parachute Battalion
  • Black - Police Coraceros Regiment
  • Green - Army 13th Armor Battalion (Combined Arms)
A member of the Pontifical Swiss Guard with beret and halberd

Vatican State[edit]

The Pontifical Swiss Guard wears large black berets.


Berets are worn by some units in the Venezuelan National Armed Forces, with distinctive colors for some units or functions. The beret colours are as follows:

Berets in Venezuelan Army:

Colour Wearer
       black Venezuelan Army general issue berets; included, the comandos (Army special forces units).
green Army Counter-insurgency troops (caribes).
red 311th Infantry Battalion "Simon Bolivar" (Army). Wears the red beret as the first and oldest active infantry battalion of the Army.
red 42nd Airborne Brigade (Army).
dark blue Army Headquarters and Security Group (Lieutenant General Daniel Florencio O´Leary Headquarters Battalion).

Berets in Venezuelan Navy:

Colour Wearer
       black Venezuelan Marine Corps general issue berets (since 2009).

Berets in Venezuelan Air Force:

Colour Wearer
       blue Venezuelan Air Force Infantry units (Infantería Aérea) and Air Force Police personnel.

Berets in Venezuelan National Guard:

Colour Wearer
       maroon Venezuelan National Guard general issue berets.

Berets in inter-service units:

Colour Wearer
       red Presidential Honor Guard Brigade (armed forces joint unit).
red Armed Forces General Headquarters (Minister Of Defence troops (Caracas Battalion), armed forces joint unit).

Note: Before the conversion to the red berets, the Caracas Battalion wore dark blue berets similar to those used by the O'Leary Battalion.


Berets used by the Vietnam Coast Guard are:

  • Blue - Service personnel in working uniform
  • Black - Officers

During the preparation for the celebration of the fall of Saigon, the People's Army of Vietnam presented new models of berets: - Green berets were worn by Infantry Reconnaissance soldiers. - Red berets were worn by Commando Ranger personnel.

Dark blue berets are worn by the Naval Infantry and special forces personnel of the Vietnam People's Navy.


  • Black - Armoured troops
  • Green – Zambia rifles (Infantry)
  • Maroon - Paracommando
  • Scarlet - Military police
  • Dark Blue - worn by all other Army units
  • Khaki - colonels and general officers with combat uniform
  • Grey-blue - Air Force personnel
  • Khaki-Black – Zambia National Service personnel


  • Green — Infantry
  • Black — Armoured Regiment
  • Maroon — Parachute Battalion
  • Tartan Green - Commando Battalion
  • Tan - Special Air Service
  • Yellow — Presidential Guard
  • Cherry Red — Military Police
  • Blue-gray — Zimbabwe Air Force
  • Dark Blue — All other units

International forces[edit]

United Nations[edit]

Multinational Force and Observers[edit]

African Union[edit]

  • Lime or Light Green – African Union (AU) peacekeeping forces wear a lime or light green beret. AU troops were recently seen wearing the green berets in Sudan but only for a short while. The AU peacekeeping forces were later turned over to UN administration and swapped out their green berets for UN light blue ones.[39]

Camouflage berets[edit]

A camouflage beret is a beret intended for use in the battlefield when wearing combat fatigues. They are mostly issued to the likes of special forces, particularly in jungle warfare operations.


Camouflage berets possibly originate from the General Service cap "Cap, General Service" issued to the British Army in a Khaki material before the introduction of Berets. It was first introduced under "Army Council Instruction 1407" of September 1943. This cap was designed to replace the "Field Service cap" or "FS Cap" that had been worn since the outbreak of war. These caps were issued in priority to units serving overseas. UK based units got theirs later on. It was at first unpopular due to its over large appearance. This cap was not a beret. It was made from several pieces of drab cloth material, whereas a beret was a one piece item. It was based on the Scottish balmoral bonnet in design. First issues were made from the same gaberdine cloth as the old "FS" cap. Badges worn on it were the conventional Officers bronze, and OR's badges in both plastic and metal. Units which had special distinctions could still wear these on the "GS" cap. The General Service cap was worn by regulation one inch above the eyebrows, with badge over the left eye and the cap pulled down to the right. But many wartime photos will show it worn pushed back on the head, which seemed to be a fashion with many soldiers late in the War.

Officers could only obtain the cap upon repayment to the RAOC. They were not allowed to buy the cap until their unit had been issued with it wholesale. Higher ranking Officers often got away with wearing a Khaki beret, which was against regulations. Fashion conscious OR's would also risk punishment from NCO's/officers buying one of these for "walking out".

Not exactly camouflage but an early example is the Jungle Beret issued to the Australian Army during WW2.[40][41][42]


  •  Argentina - Jungle Troops (Cazadores del Monte)
  •  Bolivia - Special Forces "Bolivian Condors"
  •  Brazil - Jungle Troops
  •  China - During the 80s, camo berets were issued to some of the recon forces of PLA. It has no cap badge on it.
  •  Denmark - Naval Infantry, Armoured forces of Bornholm (Bornholms Værn's Marineinfantery) Disbanded
  •  Ecuador - IWIA (indigenous tribal members unit) forces
  •  Israel - Kfir Brigade (Urban Combat)
  •  Paraguay - Special Naval Forces
  •  Panama - 7th Infantry Company "Macho de Monte"; Comando Operacional de Fuerzas Expeciales (Cadre)
  •  Philippines - Philippine Air Force pararescue
  •  Portugal - "Flechas" and Guinea 3rd Commando Company
  •  South Africa - 32 Buffalo Battalion
  •  South Korea - Army armoured units
  •  Thailand - Royal Thai Marine Corps and Navy SEALs

See also[edit]

  • Uniform beret, for the use of berets as uniform headgear outside the military

Military berets by color:


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  2. ^ Pictures of the Argentine Armed Forces
  3. ^ Pictures of the Argentine Armed Forces
  4. ^ Australian Army Standing Orders for Dress
  5. ^ "Soldiers rebel against loss of cherished beret". The Sydney Morning Herald. August 20, 2010. 
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  8. ^ PLA Caps and decorations
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  16. ^ "Nye myndigheder, nye baretmærker og farver". Forsvaret (in Danish). 
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  27. ^ Oliver, Kingsley M (1997), Through Adversity: History of the Royal Air Force Regiment, Forces & Corporate Publishing Ltd, ISBN 978-0952959700 (p. 49)
  28. ^ Gordon, David. Uniforms of the World War II Tommy (Pictorial Histories Publishing Company, Missoula, MT, 2005). ISBN 1-57510-122-X
  29. ^ "Yorkshire Gunners honoured for Service in Iraq and Afghanistan". Ministry of Defence. Earlier in the day, in what marks a historic change in the history of one of the Batteries from the Regiment - 4/73 (Sphinx) Battery, the traditional dark blue beret of the Royal Artillery was replaced with a khaki-coloured beret. The change came about as a result of the Battery working closely, in times of war, with the Honourable Artillery Company 
  30. ^ BBC website on British headdress
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  32. ^ "Yorkshire Gunners honoured for Service in Iraq and Afghanistan". Ministry of Defence. 
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  36. ^ p.223 Stanton, Shelby US Army Uniforms of the Cold War 194-1973 1994 Stackpole Books
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  40. ^ The Australian Army in World War II - Page 57 Mark Johnson ISBN 1472805224
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