This post is in response to a thread started by forum member patrick-usmc who was seeking information on Army issued campaign hats as used by the Marine Corps during the early 20th century. Because my mental acumen regarding pre 1911 USMC and Army uniforms is less than impressive, anyone with a deeper knowledge on the early campaign hats worn by either the U.S. Army or the USMC is more than welcome to chime in … World War I Nerd
Link to the above mentioned post:
Army Issued USMC Field Hats
1899 to 1917
When the Marines landed on the island of Cuba during the War with Spain in 1898, they did so wearing the Corps traditional blue wool field uniform and short-brimmed service cap. In order to protect Marines from the intense tropical sun, broad brimmed, felt Service Hats of the 1899 pattern were obtained from the U.S. Army. Officially known as a “Service Hat” by Army Quartermaster personnel and as a “Campaign Hat” by Army enlisted men; because that hat was worn with the Field Uniform, U.S. Marines called their recently appropriated head covering a “Field Hat”.
Despite its obvious practicality, the Marine Corps failed to adopt a Field Hat of its own until 1912. As a result, American Marines utilized as many as four, or possibly five, different specifications of the Army issued campaign hat while serving in far flung locations like Cuba, China, the Philippines, Mexico, and possibly even in France. However, to ensure that no one mistook them for God forbid - a soldier in the U.S. Army, the ‘Soldiers of the Sea’, as the Marines were called, almost always prominently displayed the USMC’s distinctive Eagle, Globe, and Anchor (EGA) cap badge on the front of the Army issued ‘cover’. Initially the distinctive emblem was worn on the left side of the hat, but it was later moved to a more visible location at the hat’s front.
Photo No. 01: When looking at the USMC 1896 Field Cap worn by these fleet Marines, it’s easy to see why that hat’s less than brawny brim caused Marine Corps commanders in Cuba to upgrade to a broader brimmed Army style campaign hat which was much better suited for both the sun and rain encountered in the tropics.