I work with Veterans and Homeless Veterans in my capacity as Executive Director of my nonprofit: The Lighthouse for Recovery Ministries. I am a Veteran of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command and I have a terrible pet peeve, as do the men and women who serve and have served this nation with mind, body, and soul under the flag of freedom.
If you are offended or take offense, please do not read any further but I take infuriating offense at survivalists, mockers, singers and individuals who parade around in our military uniforms, fatigues and wear our medals designated for each branches special forces units for music videos, parades and as a marketing tool for their business operations.
Because Army clothing is inexpensive, easy to obtain, and most suitable for wear in the elements, anyone who spent a great deal of his time outdoors makes it a point to visit the local surplus sales store for his clothing needs. Hunters, fishermen, construction workers, and other classes of outside workers took on the appearance of soldiers equipped for field duty.
We of Special Forces, known better as the Green Berets, consider the beret and uniform as a symbol of our becoming members of an elite group of soldiers. As do we of Airborne troops with our maroon berets and the Rangers who had been wearing black berets since at least 1979.
Many of us elite soldiers feel that having civilians, using the uniform to gain attention and to wear a beret, diminish and disgrace the work and training we have gone through to earn the right to wear our berets with ownership and pride. When we put on the uniform, we knowingly sacrifice our time and possibly our lives, in order to protect all rights held sacred by our Constitution.
Army Regulation 670-1, paragraph 1-4 states:
d. In accordance with chapter 45, section 771, title 10, United States Code (10 USC 771),
no person except a member of the U.S. Army may wear the uniform, or a distinctive part of the uniform of the U.S. Army unless otherwise authorized by law.
Additionally, no person except a member of the U.S. Army may wear a uniform, any part of which is similar to a distinctive part of the U.S. Army uniform.
This includes the distinctive uniforms and uniform items listed in paragraph 1–12 of this regulation.
Paragraph 1–12 goes on to define "Distinctive uniforms and uniform items
:" a. The following uniform items are distinctive and will not be sold to or worn by unauthorized personnel:
I volunteered for the past four years at Project Homeless Reconnect that offers services to homeless civilians and veterans once a year. God’s Army has a booth at this event and has had for at least the past four years, handing out pamphlets and preaching to the masses.
What I get very angry with this group is that they wear the PT fatigue uniform of the US Army (camouflage pants, jump boots, and T-shirt) and a BERET. Even going as far as some wearing our hard earned, real medals on their clothing for show.
Hell no! Being a straightforward, blunt and having no problem expounding my viewpoints when necessary on individuals, I took umbrage at the sight of young men and women and older men who were wearing our sacred uniform, having never served a day in the military.
So being me, I let them have it with both barrels and the military personnel there representing the military recruitment centers of the US Army joined in.
I realize that common sense is NOT a common virtue amongst society, but the realization for what ANY U.S. military uniform, as well as any assets which are distinctive and/or associated TO them are meant to be worn by those who have EARNED them.
Veterans as well as prior-service members have EVERY right to wear their uniform-in good taste and within the regulations. That fact will NEVER change.
Civilians who use the excuse 'I want to 'honor' our military' can do so LEGALLY in CIVILIAN attire with the emblems/names/branches/etc. on t-shirts, baseball hats, etc. Wearing distinctive or similar items, which may even remotely be associated to or with the uniform of a military branch is completely unacceptable.
These uniforms are EARNED. They stand for something not a single civilian will ever be able to comprehend. Until the draft returns or serving is made mandatory, NO ONE should be able to wear ANY part of ANY uniform unless they have earned the right to do so.