Leadership: December 7, 2000


The Army's Institute of Heraldry is scrambling to design "flashes" (the special patches worn on berets). One plan is to assign flashes based on the division or other major unit the soldier is in. These would be vastly simplified versions of the division patches; most would be a plain color with a different-colored border following the colors of the division patch. For example, the 1st Infantry would have a red patch with a green border. Other divisions would get a slightly more elaborate patch; the red X on a blue patch for the 10th Mountain Division would mirror its crossed red bayonets. Another option is to give each soldier the flash of his affiliated regiment, but this could mean that a group of soldiers from the same large unit might all have different flashes. The Rangers, who have worn black berets for years, remain furious and show little interest in the Army's offer to pick another color for their berets.--Stephen V Cole


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