The beret is a symbol of achievement and recognition. Many elite groups within other branches of military service have adopted the beret for this same reason. No matter what the color or insignia, the beret has been the trademark that identifies a particular group as being special and apart from the average military soldier, sailor, or airman.
First to wear a dark blue beret were the Strategic Air Command Elite Guard. in 1957 General LeMay personally chose the uniform and one of the unique items was the dark blue beret. They continuously wore the blue beret until it was chosen as the primary headgear for all Security Police members.
The roots that eventually lead to the Security Police beret are often traced back to the 1041st Security Police Squadron (Test) and "Operation Safeside" during 1965-67. The mission of the Air Police was changing, and this specially trained Task Force adopted a light blue beret with a Falcon patch as their symbol. It can only be speculated as to whether the idea came from the Army Ranger beret, since the initial cadre of the 1041st SPS received it's initial training at the Army Ranger School. The 1041st SPS evolved into the 82nd Combat Security Police Wing, but was deactivated in December 1969, thus bringing an end to the light blue beret with the falcon emblem.
Although the beret was not an authorized uniform item for Security Police work, several local commanders authorized a dark blue beret for their units even though the official Security Police cover remained the white service cap. In the early 70's, Military Working Dog handlers assigned to the 6280th SPS, Takhli RTAFB, Thailand, wore a dark blue beret with no insignia. The other members of the unit wore fatigue caps and the "jungle boonie" style hat. Again, the beret was distinguishing a specific group of specialized personnel. Other Units adopted a version of the beret to distinguish their elite guards.
When Brigadier General (Major General select) Thomas Sadler was appointed Air Force Chief of Security Police and the two symbol AF/SP office was created in 1975, the Security Police had arrived. The General's task was to bring the Security Police into the mainstream of the Air Force and one of the tools for doing that was recognition—recognition of deeds as well as members of a distinctive and highly recognizable career field. The beret was one of the proposed uniform changes that had been being considered. Although there was significant opposition to the beret initially from senior colonels and MAJCOM Chiefs, the troops loved the idea, and that's what it was all about. Several months later the uniform board approved the proposal, and the beret was officially being worn world-wide in 1976.
The dark blue beret of 1976 was worn with the MAJCOM crest of the appropriate major command the unit was assigned to. It continued this way for twenty years until the forming of the Security Forces in early 1997.
In March 1997, the 82nd CSPW was reactivated and redesigned the 820th Security Forces Group. It provided worldwide "first in force protection" for Air Force contingencies. The 820th SFG also adopted the heraldry of the 82nd CSPW, thus explaining the falcon's revival as the emblem for the Security Forces, with the addition of the motto "Defensor Fortis" on the scroll.
History of the beret provided by the Security Forces Training Center