Green Beret stripped of Special Forces tab after using issued gear

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash.—U.S. Special Forces Command has announced Sgt. First Class Clifford Randall has been stripped of his Special Forces tab and Bronze Star as a result of an investigation surrounding his use of issued equipment during a 2017 deployment. Randall, a Special Forces soldier since 2005, lost all of his awards and accolades as a result of using the gear he was issued, and only that gear.

An unidentified complainant filed an allegation with the Inspector General (IG) Office that Randall routinely refused to incorporate nonstandard and civilian gear as part of his load out gear while assigned to 3rd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group in Firebase Shaddadi, Syria, in 2017.

“We had all the best kit available from North Face, Crye Precision, and a host of others,” said Master Sgt. Dieter Thurmann, the operations sergeant for 3rd Battalion. “I mean, seriously, if we’re just wearing issued kit you can get from any CIF, we might as well be the 101st.”

Sources reported multiple witnesses testified Randall refused to cut his uniform tops into short-sleeved shirts, insisted on wearing name tapes, and even used issued desert boots instead of expensive Danners or Salomon hiking shoes. Others claimed Randall shaved his face multiple times a week while serving in Syria.

“We’re SF,” said one bearded operator. “We’re the elite. If we just dress and act like the conventional forces downrange, no one knows who we are, and we become mission ineffective. Look, if you went to your bank and your banker showed up in jeans and flip flops, would you feel safe leaving your money there? This is exactly the same thing. Dress for success.”

Randall's boss, the commander of 1st Special Forces Group, Col. Malachi “Malice” Willis, ruled there was substantiated evidence of Randall’s unfavorable character of service and declared Randall no longer fit to serve in Special Operations. Randall is to be reassigned to a conventional unit and will no longer be authorized to wear his Special Forces tab.

“I just can’t have this kind of cavalier attitude in my ranks because, left unchecked, it spreads like a virus,” said Willis. “Anyway, it’s one of the SOF Truths that looking cool is as important as lethality or mobility or whatever. This soldier went rogue and that cannot be tolerated.”