Thanks for the link, Justin. The NAVADMIN is quite clear. Too bad the Navy's online manual very often is not.
In a summary of changes dated November 2016, it says:
2. Chapter 4, Rank/Rate Insignia, Section 3, Headgear Insignia, Officers Headgear,
“a. Combination Cap. Insignia on combination caps consists of a cap device, chin strap,and retaining buttons. An embroidered visor/hat band is worn by officers of the rank of Commander and above. Female officers, 0-5 and above, do not wear the gold chin strap.”
Then, just two months later (February 2017) the Summary of Changes reads this way (I won't bother repeating the Chapter and article number stuff):
“a. Combination Cap. Insignia on combination caps consists of a cap device, chin strap,and retaining buttons. An embroidered visor/hat band is worn by officers of the rank of Commander and above. Female officers, O-5 and above, do not wear the gold chin strap.”
This is the way it appears in the current version of the online manual, which leads me to ask: Are female Commanders and higher going to wear the same Combination Cap as their male counterparts, but with a black chin strap instead of gold? Or will females just remove the chin strap and wear the cap without it? After all, the manual doesn't go on to say that they replace the gold chin strap with a different kind, does it?
In any case, if this is the case it's truly rich--the Navy goes to all this trouble to make everyone look the same, then gives female officers a NOTICEABLY DIFFERENT "insignia component?"
Sorry to go on, but it seems like I run into confusing verbiage like this on every other page of the USN Uniform regs...
The Alternate Combination Cover is an updated design, with more of an oval band instead of circular for a better fit. It originated in trials to replace the female bucket cap, but is authorized for both males and females. Despite the "and" wording, I think the intent is that both types of cap will be interchangeable in future regulations.