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The beret is a symbol of achievement and recognition in the United States military services. Many elite groups within all branches of military service have adopted the beret for this same reason. No matter what the color or insignia, the beret has been the trademark that identifies a particular group as being special and apart from the average military soldier, sailor, or airman. Within the Air Force the beret signifies those specialties having unique skills ensuring the ability to recover protect and operate airfields in austere environments; conduct operations with joint forces and provide unique force protection skills saving lives and property. USAF Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technicians possess these unique skills and specialties in the performance of their duties and the Airmen in the EOD career field deserve the recognition that is symbolized by the beret. Berets worn by USAF Airmen: The USAF Security Forces Royal Blue beret originated as a tool of esprit de corps. Today it is an essential part of the Defender uniform. The Maroon beret is worn by Pararescue Airmen as a symbol of their elite status. Other berets being worn in the USAF by Airmen in specialties having unique skills and achievements deserving of recognition are:

Black - Tactical Air Control Party (TACP), Air Liaison Officers (ALO), and Air Mobility Liaison Officers (AMLO) Red (scarlet) - Combat Controllers Grey - Combat Weather Sea Foam Green - SERE

USAF Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technicians possess the unique skills key to life saving actions and ensure combat capabilities to our airfields while engaging the enemy in the most austere conditions. At no other time in history have military EOD technicians been called on so frequently to defeat and disarm improvised explosive devices (IED) and other unexploded explosive ordnance (UXO) saving lives and ensuring joint and coalition forces can operate and perform their missions with success. Daily, EOD technicians are on the front lines with coalition and sister service maneuver forces defeating the insurgents number one weapon of choice, the IED. This new threat and the unique skills, mental and physical strength, and fortitude required to defeat this threat warrant the distinction and recognition the beret brings to a career field and should be authorized for USAF EOD forces.

We propose the tan beret and specially designed EOD flash to be authorized and worn by U.S. Air Force EOD operators.

The Tan colored beret will provide EOD Airmen serving around the world the recognition they deserve building esprit de corps while developing strong ties within the EOD AFSC. Adoption will enhance the pride, morale, and team work essential to the EOD operator. The symbolic tan color is selected and recommended as a tribute to honor the 14 fallen EOD Airmen lost during Operations IRAQI and ENDURING FREEDOM. These operations have altered the USAF EOD operational concepts and will forever be recognized as the time when the EOD operators engaged in hostile operations far reaching outside of the bounds of the air base perimeter. The bravery and sacrifices of these Airmen in todays conflicts warrant the recognition a beret brings to a particular specialty and other elite groups.

The wear of this beret with the proposed EOD flash will recognize these specialized Airmen and increase the personal prestige, honor and continuity worldwide.

1. The proposed cloth flash designed to symbolize the EOD career field. The proposed cloth flash will be attached to the EOD beret with the goal of providing distinction while honoring the history of the personnel performing this unique, difficult and demanding job.

2. The Heraldry of the proposed cloth flash is as follows: a. The Red Bomb is a reflection of honor to EOD heritage. Similar to the design of the World War II Bomb Disposal Badge, the bomb represents the historic and major objective of the EOD attack, the unexploded bomb. The three fins represent the major areas of nuclear, conventional, and chemical/biological interest. The color red is for respect to the bloodshed given by those that gave the ultimate sacrifice while conducting EOD operations and the explosive danger of the unexploded ordnance. b. The Golden border symbolizes the potential destructive power of the unexploded bomb and the courage and professionalism of the EOD operator while executing the life threatening efforts to reduce hazards and render harmless the explosive device. c. The AF Force Ultramarine-blue shield represents the mission of an Air Force EOD operator; prevent a detonation and protect the surrounding personnel, area and property to the utmost. Serving with integrity, service, and excellence in all we do.

Additional Beret Justification and EOD History

Todays IED threat, which is proliferating across the world, has similar parallels to the early beginnings of ordnance with delay fuzing targeting civilian populations and EOD. The IED threat we have today casts fear and anxiety among the civilian population and creates significant challenges for all nations forces operating in those environments because of the enemys ability to camouflage these deadly devices. This new and emerging IED threat places EOD technicians directly on the front lines of combat, locating and disarming these deadly devices in an effort to secure and protect the local population and allow freedom of movement for joint and coalition forces. Modern EOD technicians across the world trace their heritage to the extensive bombing raids by Nazi Germany on England during WWII. In addition to conventional air raids, UXO also took their toll on population and morale, paralyzing vital services and communications. Bombs fitted with delayed-action fuzes provoked fear and uncertainty in the civilian population. The problem of UXO continued to be complicated as countries began fitting munitions with anti-handling devices and anti-removal bomb fuzes. Bomb fuzes incorporating anti-handling devices were specifically designed to kill bomb disposal personnel. This new threat caused friendly Nations scientists and technical staff to develop methods and equipment to render safe these new emerging threats. 1 EODs motto of Initial Success or Total Failure signifies the strength of these Airmen to accomplish the mission against all obstacles. The AF EOD career field has paid a high price of protecting our Nations forces from the deadly effects of IEDs. Our USAF EOD career field has experienced the loss of 14 dedicated professional Airmen. Another seven have lost limbs or more with another 66 awarded Purple Hearts for their bravery while disarming/dismantling over 20,000 IEDs. As a result of direct combat operation numerous EOD Airmen have be awarded the Air Force Combat Action Medal for their actions directly engaging the enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bravery and sacrifices of these Airmen in todays conflicts warrant the recognition a beret brings to a particular specialty or other elite groups.