DUKE FIELD, FL – After decades of distinguished service, the Combat Aviation Advisor community donned the newly minted brown beret as their symbol of distinction during a ceremony held here Jan. 6.
Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, Commander, Air Force Special Operations Command, presided over the ceremony and shared his perspective on the significance of the event.
“Today, CAAs, you’re being granted the honor and privilege of your own Combat Aviation Advisor beret. It’s an important cultural symbol,” said Webb.
“I can tell you what I expect when I see a brown beret. I expect to see a cultural expert–one that has a complete understanding of a host nation’s customs, culture and way of life. I expect to see a joint warfare expert…an expert in our way of warfare and expert in understanding our partner nation’s way of warfare. I expect [our members] to have the maturity to know how to blend those two together.”
Combat Aviation Advisors have a long and storied history of special operations, working alongside their joint service counterparts to conduct activities by, with and through foreign aviation forces.
The CAAs history of dedicated service was highlighted in the ceremony which served as a visual display of a recent ruling authorizing wear the beret on Air Force Special Operations Command installations by the AFSOC commander.
President John F. Kennedy awarded the Green Beret to the U.S. Army Special Forces before it was officially authorized. The Combat Aviation Advisors community had the honor of presenting the first brown beret prototype to the current Command in Chief, President Donald J. Trump, thus paying homage to the tradition of this distinctive headgear.
“You’re being granted the honor and privilege of your own Combat Aviation Advisor beret.” Webb told the CAAs in the crowd.
The wearer of the charcoal brown beret is accountable to be professional, mature, trustworthy, a trade expert, and most importantly, a team player committed to mission accomplishment. The color signifies fertile soil and reminds the wearer daily to look for potential where others see barrenness. It signifies grit, hard work and commitment to transform potential into capability by, with and through our foreign partners…”Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere.”
Also present at the ceremony was the man considered as the “Godfather of the CAA community,” retired Lt. Col. Jerome Klingaman, who addressed the crowd and his fellow CAAs.
“The team is the alpha and omega,” said Klingaman. ”It is the beginning and the end of everything you stand for as Combat Aviation Advisors. It’s what this beret is all about for the Combat Aviation Advisor and it puts you on the same ground as Army [Special Forces] and Seals with the mission.”
Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Myers, 6th Special Operations Squadron, spoke for the CAA community saying, “To all prior CAAs, thank you for laying such a strong foundation for us to build upon. To you we guarantee we will not waste any opportunity to build, and build smartly. We will be hard on ourselves and we will approach this mission and capability with an attitude of stewardship. We will serve our joint force, partner force and one another in such a way as to honor the legacy that you leave us to carry.”