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US Navy hat bands with ship names?


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#1 Siamundo

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 03:56 PM

This might be a really basic question to ask, but when did the US Navy stop wearing hat bands, or tallies, which had the actual name of the ship embroidered on it and just wear the bands with US NAVY? Thank you for your time :)

#2 Siamundo

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 03:58 PM

And I guess for that matter, when did this practice start? I have some that I am trying to date, including one from the USS PASSAIC which was decommissioned in 1898 althought a second Passaic was commisioned in 1945 which seems to have been too late for a named band-but I might be mistaken.

#3 navyman

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 04:06 PM

I'm not positive but I think in the 1941 they stop putting the ship's names on the tallies. They did not have them on in 1945.

Jason

#4 Bob Hudson

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 04:19 PM

Besides the old monitor there was also a harbor tug with that name from 1918-1921 http://www.navsource...es/14/08020.htm

#5 Grizzly Adams

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 04:40 PM

Not sure exactly how far back the practice went, but they were used during the American Civil War.

The reason for dropping the ships name from the tallies is popularly said to be due to the war, and the need to keep ship movements a secret. I personally don't buy it. How do you hide the BB in the harbor!? :think: I suspect it was done to reduce costs. The flat hat was done away with in about 1967 (?) due to "lack of correct materials." That too was most likely about cost. IMHO

#6 navyman

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 06:32 AM

It's hard to date these flat hats and you have to go on the ship's years in service to give you a idea. In 1933 they change the style of these hats and it stay the same until they got rid of them in 1963.

Pre 1933 regulation style
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1933 regulation style
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Picture_043.jpg

Jason

#7 sigsaye

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 09:12 AM

Prior to 1866, cap ribbons were optional. They were only worn as a personal decoration on a Sailors best "get dressed up and go ashore hat". They did not have the prefix "USS". They were hand painted and various styles of lettering were used. They sometimes had extra decorations before and after the name such as stars, anchors and one I worked on had " .

OK, there were of course variations. Some Captains purchased cap ribbons for their crews (out of their own pocket) as they were not regulation, therefore nor prescribable. These were to be worn for Mustering. This is a formal formation. The Captain of USS Constellation, while in Naples Italy in 8164, had cap ribbons for his crew hand embroidered in gold thread for his crew (would love to find one of those). They were generally gold or yellow paint on black silk (I have seen two done in silver paint). I have seen one Confederate Navy cap ribbon that was on yellow silk, with black painted name preceeded by red stars.

In 1866, named cap ribbons became regulation, and the prefix "USS" was added. These again were reserved for the "Inspection/Liberty hat". with working hats remaining bare. Long hanging tails were rare, as the bow is on the side. Some appear that were one or two inches in length, but most remained short.

About 1883, cap ribbons with gold machine embroidered names began to be used. This is basically due to the technology to make them becoming available. These were some ribbons that were still hand painted, but this is most likely due to regulation ribbons not being available. I have seen one documented WW 1 ribbon that was hand painted, and it was done very well, not actually being noticable unless close up.

Cap ribbons are sewn to the hat. The bow is a seperate item attached to the hat. From 1886 to 1940, flat hats were issued with the bow attached and the ribbon was a seperate issue. They were trimmed to fit and stitched down. Many older hats have ornate stitching attaching the ribbon and it is not uncommon to find multiple ribbons one on top of the other on some hats.

In 1940, the Navy decided to drop the named cap ribbons and go with a basic "US Navy" ribbon. The "Official" reason was security. Again, it is pretty hard to discise an Air Craft Carrier in port. Much like Sailore aboard ship needing cammoflage clothing. A letter in the navy Department lays it out plainly that several reasons led to the dropping of the names. Sailors were just not bothering to change them. by the time WW 2 came around, the white hat had taken over as the most worn hat, and the flat hat was more and more reserved for formal ocassions, which got fewer and fewer as teh Navy geared up for war. Also, just the simple logistics of producing an ever increasing number of named ribbons for all the new consrtuction, shipping them to where they were needed, and then dealing with stockes of ribbons for ships that were (would be) lost. For economic and logistical reasons, it just made sense to go with one standard ribbon. I'm sure there was an intentino to go back and revive them after the war, buty that just never happened. Again, by 1945, the flat hat had fallen into a place of being reserved for formal wear. While the Navy dropped the hat in '63 due to "Lack of materials", the Coast Guard continued to wear it until 1975.

Hope that helps.

Steve Hesson


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