FORT BENNING, Ga. — Following the death of music legend Prince, Army Airborne has admitted that a long suspected myth about their maroon berets is true: the berets are actually raspberry colored.
“They are, in fact, raspberry berets,” said Lt. Col. Korey Brown, Commander of 1st Battalion, 507th Airborne. “The 1-507th Airborne School was reactivated in 1985, the same year Raspberry Beret was released. Prince was winning Grammys, and with Gorbachev stirring the pot we were preparing to win wars. It made perfect sense.”
The color of the berets, worn by elite airborne forces around the world, was adjusted by three shades to reach a more raspberry tone and the school’s leaders continued looking to the artist for inspiration as the fledgling battalion grew.
“Prince’s band was called Revolution and that’s what we were having in the eighties,” said Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, Commander of the Army's XVIII Airborne Corps. “New Airborne school, fresh command, updated technologies.”
“And if we wanted increased student numbers we needed to show that with us, you didn’t have to be rich to get the girls," Townsend said. "You didn’t have to be cool to patrol our world. We had particular skills you’d be compatible with; we just wanted your extra time and your kiss. I mean kits. Jump kits. We needed you to use our jump kits.”
Noted for the ability to deploy anywhere in the world with little warning and drop in behind enemy lines, Airborne has a proud history, but some say it’s time to shift gears. A February Army Times article questioned if the program is now too impractical and disconnected from modern war to be effective. Townsend says these critiques, combined with the passing of Prince, have encouraged him to step forward about the raspberry berets.
“If you mix the red, white and blue of our flag’s colors together it makes purple," he said. "And when our paratroopers come soaring down from the skies to enforce freedom and justice, guess what? That’s purple rain."
"And just like Prince, the legends of Airborne will go on forever no matter what the future holds.”