What Colour Are Sas Berets? 

SAS berets are a distinctive sand/beige color, officially called “tawny”. Imagine the color of a light desert! This unique shade has been worn by SAS troopers since their founding in 1941.

Unlike some armies where beret colors differ by unit or rank, the tawny beret is the same for everyone in the SAS. This shows their close unity and shared identity, no matter their experience or job within the force.

What is the origin and evolution of SAS berets?

The SAS beret has a fascinating origin and evolution, dating back to the Special Air Service’s inception in July 1941, conceived by Lieutenant David Stirling during World War II. 

This elite unit has been actively involved in most of the United Kingdom’s wars since its establishment. 

The beret, with its complex history, originated out of necessity in northern Europe. Its roots spread in the countryside of the Basque Country, between France and Spain, and later saw industrial production between the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. 

Over time, the SAS beret has become a symbolic representation of the unit’s unique history and specialized role in military operations.

Why do military berets have different colors, and what is their significance?

Why do military berets have different colors, and what is their significance

Military berets come in a variety of colors, and the meaning behind them depends on several factors, including:

Unit Designation

Branch or Regiment: Often, different colors mark distinct branches or regiments within a military force. For example, in the US Army, maroon berets identify airborne troops, while green is worn by Special Forces.

Historical Legacy: Some colors have acquired historical significance. In the UK, the maroon beret of the Parachute Regiment traces back to World War II.

Operational Considerations

Camouflage: Some beret colors might be chosen for their camouflaged properties, especially for special forces operating in specific environments.

Visibility: In contrast, other colors might be chosen for high visibility during rescue operations or other situations where being easily spotted is desirable.

Tradition and Esprit de Corps

Distinctive Identity: Wearing a unique beret can foster a sense of pride and belonging within a particular unit, boosting morale and esprit de corps.

Symbolism: Colors can symbolize qualities associated with the unit, like the black beret of armored units representing toughness and resilience.

Here are some specific examples

Maroon: Often associated with paratroopers around the world, though exceptions exist (e.g., Russian Airborne – sky blue, Portuguese paratroopers – green).

Green: In the US, signifies Special Forces (“Green Berets”) and ranger units.

Black: Commonly worn by tank and armored units worldwide, but also adopted by some special forces for operational reasons.

Tan: Worn by US Army Rangers, replacing black berets in the 1980s.

Are there variations for different units or ranks?

The SAS (Special Air Service), a distinguished special forces unit in the British Army, is easily recognized by its beige berets. This unique color isn’t just a fashion choice; it’s a symbolic representation of the SAS’s specialized role and extraordinary capabilities within the military.

In the broader context of the UK military, beret colors play a significant role in identifying different regiments and their specific units. 

For example, the Royal Tank Regiment is linked with black berets, the Kings Royal Hussars with brown berets, and the Royal Irish Regiment with dark green berets. The Parachute Regiment, renowned for its airborne infantry operations, proudly wears maroon berets.

Adding another layer to the story, the badges attached to the berets vary based on the soldier’s rank—gilt for officers, silver for non-commissioned officers, and bronze for other ranks. 

This system not only helps in quickly identifying the regiment and rank of the wearer but also fosters a strong sense of unity and distinction within the diverse regiments of the UK military.

How Are SAS Berets Worn?

How Are SAS Berets Worn

Wearing an SAS beret is more than just putting on a hat; it’s a precise ritual that reflects the discipline and pride of this elite military unit.

Positioning: The beret should sit snugly over the right ear and just above the eyebrows, maintaining a crisp and professional look.

Tilt: It’s not a casual slouch; the beret is slightly tilted to the right. This tilt isn’t just for aesthetics—it’s a nod to tradition and a distinctive mark of SAS style.

Logo Placement: The SAS logo patch is a crucial element. It should be centered over the left eye, adding a touch of symmetry to the beret.

Back Fold: The material at the back of the beret is neatly folded, not only for a polished appearance but also as a sign of attention to detail.

Badge Placement: The regimental badge is a mark of identity. It sits about an inch above the left eye, emphasizing precision in presentation.


Did the SAS Ever Wear Red Berets?

No, the SAS has never worn red berets. Their iconic headwear is a distinctive tawny (sand/beige) color, officially called “tawny.” This unique shade has been worn by SAS troopers since their formation in 1941.

What Colour is SBS Beret?

The Special Boat Service (SBS) wears a black beret with a golden badge depicting a trident and a dolphin. This color signifies their amphibious capabilities and elite status.

What Color is Special Forces Berets?

There is no single color for Special Forces berets globally. Different countries have different traditions and color designations for their special forces units. For example, in the US, Green Berets are worn by Special Forces.

Do the SAS Wear White Berets?

No, the SAS does not wear white berets. Their only beret is the tawny one.

Who Wears GREY Berets?

Grey berets are worn by various military units worldwide, but within the UK, they are most commonly associated with the Royal Tank Regiment and armoured units.

What Beret Does the SAS Wear?

The SAS wears the tawny beret, as mentioned earlier. This distinctive color and style set them apart from other military units and signify their elite status and unique history.

Who Wears Purple Berets?

Purple berets are not commonly worn by military units. However, the Parachute Regiment of the British Army has worn a “plum purple” beret historically, though their current official beret is maroon.

Who Wears Maroon Berets?

Maroon berets are worn by paratroopers in many countries, including the UK, France, and Canada.

Final words

Forget boring old red or blue! The SAS rocks a unique sandy-beige beret, officially called “tawny”. Imagine the color of a light desert sunset. This cool shade has been with the SAS since day one, back in 1941.

While everyone in the SAS wears the same tawny beret, there’s a twist! Troopers tilt their berets to the left, like a confident wink, and place their badge above their left eye. Officers keep their berets straight, with the badge in the middle of their forehead, like a boss.

This tawny crown isn’t just a fashion statement. It’s a symbol of elite skill, bravery, and the tough missions these amazing soldiers tackle. So next time you see an SAS beret, remember: that’s not just headwear, it’s a badge of honor!