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Army beret to be dumped in favor of more practical caps

Army beret: Those who tend to confuse US Army soldiers with beatniks will soon have one less excuse. The Army is ditching the black beret in favor of a more practical patrol cap.

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In this undated photo, US Army Sgt. 1st Class Jeff Myhre stoically tolerates an uncomfortable and impractical beret atop his head. The Army announced that it is abandoning the beret after a failed 10-year experiment. The traditional Basque hat, which proved deeply unpopular with American soldiers, will be replaced by a patrol cap for everyday wear.

AFP/US Army/Newscom/File

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If you tend to confuse American soldiers with beatniks, you will soon have one less excuse: The US Army has announced that it will be replacing the black beret as the default headwear for its standard combat uniform.

In its place will be the patrol cap, a soft baseball-cap-like head covering with a flat top and a rounded visor.

Introduced a decade ago as part of the standard Army Combat Uniform, the black wool beret was almost universally despised by US soldiers. It lacks a visor to shield the eyes from the sun. It's hot and doesn't absorb sweat. You can't carry it in a pocket. You need two hands to put it on.

I hate wearing a wet sock on my head," Chief Warrant Officer Mark Vino of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., wrote in to the Army Times newspaper. "Plus it makes my head/skin break out.”

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