Thursday, December 08, 2005

Special operations pioneer Yarborough dies

Rest in Peace,Warrior!

Retired Lt. Gen. William P. Yarborough, who helped develop Army parachuting and prompted President Kennedy to approve the green beret for Special Forces, died Tuesday in Pinehurst. He was 93.

“He was the original All American hero in my book,” retired Gen. James J. Lindsay said. “He was a pioneer in the airborne community, designed the jump wings, the jump boots and the original jump uniform.”
As a one-star general, Yarborough had his men appear before Kennedy in the forbidden green berets on Oct. 12, 1961, at McKellars Pond on Fort Bragg. The president endorsed the headgear for Special Forces soldiers.

In a 1995 interview, Yarborough said, ‘‘I felt if the president was with me, who could stand against me? But I was repeatedly, in sometimes veiled terms, warned about the fact that someday I would have to come back to the Army, and I would be held to account for the excesses that I had presided over here.’’

In the following decades, berets were authorized for airborne soldiers and Rangers. Forty years later, the Army adopted the beret as its standard headgear.

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