Sunday, November 9, 2008
Army Beret - Shaving The Kumta
The easiest way to spot a greenhorn is an army green beret (kumta). You receive your first beret when you are inducted, and then you're sent to your actual unit, and then later on from the unit you receive that division's specific color beret. So, the paratroopers have red berets. Tanks have black berets. Golani, the unit I want, gets a brown beret. But, as I said, before you get the specific beret for your brigade (חטיבה), you are stuck at the bottom of the totem pole with the stock green Israeli Army beret.
The second way to spot a new soldier by their beret is whether or not it is shaved. Yes, you read that correctly. You actually shave your kumta. The unshaven kumta is, as you can see in the above picture, large, inflexible, and puffy. It sits on your shoulder like a dead cat, as they say in Hebrew (חתול מת). The dead cat is a dead giveaway that you have absolutely no standing in the army. It's only slightly more embarrassing than not having any pins or unit identification or anything on your uniform.
Some people put Ax Body Spray on the kumta and light it on fire very briefly to burn some fluff off. I put it in a cup in the freezer over night to get the leather band that fits around your head to be more flexible.
It's really pretty comical to me. Ah, the joys of being a green soldier. Here's the fluff that I shaved off, and I could have shaved even more.
And the finished product - not quite as 'green' as before: