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:


Anonymous said...

Everyone shaves the barret, never heard of burning it. What happens if it burns too fast and you can't put out the fire.
When you get out you should wash the uniform a few times in hot water and really strong detergent to make it look worn.

Reuven said...

On a complete lark, as I just have been "shaving my kumtah", I typed in a google search for "shave kumtah" and came across this posting. All I can say is....actually I can't say anything because I have been laughing too hard.
I was "in-serviced" on all of the above methods for "shaving/prepping the kumtah".
I thank the author for the clarification on the "חתול מת". The fact is that I did not understand what they were telling me when they were pointing at my shoulder and saying, as they do so well, "why, why, why, why.....". I heard something about a "חתול" when they were talking, but the point about it being dead.....I missed that.

Yoan Hermida said...

US Army berets are also shaven.

Unknown said...

I am a soldier in the Israeli Defense Force as well, But as the author said, He wishes to be in Golani, And I am in the battalion that most of the soldiers in Golani dislike, Which is Ztanchanim(Paratroopers's Battalion), I've recieved two size 50-51 EU size red army boots and a dark red beret/Kumtah, It took me mere 3 days to make it look better, Can see the spirals, I've placed 4 5.56 Caliber bullets in the laces in the back to give it some weight, And I used a perfume.

Now, Using Ax is not good since it does not have any alcohol in it, Hence it will make your beret stink as a dead cat, and it will scorch your beret's surface, I've used a perfume, It gave it a nice scent, and it hasn't given my beret any burn markings, It's still not done yet since it's got some more to shave off, but it's barely seen to the naked eye haha..