Mar 15 2001

SHELBY QUESTIONS DECISION TO ISSUE BLACK BERET TO ALL ARMY SOLDIERS

Senator Encourages Defense Secretary Rumsfeld to Reverse Army's Decision

 U.S. Senator Richard C. Shelby (R-AL) today questioned the Army's decision to issue the black beret to all Army soldiers as standard uniform headgear. In a letter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Senator Shelby urged asked that the decision be reviewed and reversed, and also questioned the Army's decision to purchase berets manufactured in China.

"I am concerned with the Army's morale," said Shelby. "The unintended consequence of the beret order is that it belittles the symbol of the elite Army Rangers. These soldiers have earned the right to wear the black beret by virtue of their willingness to volunteer and to succeed in one of the military's most rigorous training programs. This sign of achievement and tradition should not be devalued or denigrated. These actions slowly corrode morale."

"It disturbs me that the Army believed it was in such dire need of black berets that they could justify purchasing them from Communist China," added Shelby. "I believe this sends the wrong message to American soldiers and the hard working people they are charged with defending."