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US Navy flat hat..... real deal or repro?


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Here’s a US Navy flat hat that I picked up at the Wings Over Houston Airshow in 1996. I was a sophomore is high school and a Civil Air Patrol cadet. I believe it was my first purchase as a military uniform collector. I have always thought it was WWII but never knew for sure. Have a look. Real deal or repro? 

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R. Patterson

Boatswains Mate

USCG 1998-2010

“The Boatswain’s Mate and Coxswain is A JACK OF ALL TRADES AND A MASTER OF THEM ALL.”- 1944 edition of the BM2c training course material. 
“They gave us an engine that first went up and down. With some more technology, the engine went around. We know of steam and diesel, but what’s a main yard for? A sailor ain’t a sailor, ain’t a sailor anymore!”- The Last Shanty

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I was always amazed that these antiquated caps were still made, and wondered why they were.

 

I guess a couple of questions I have.

 

Were these actually issued as part of the initial issue post WWII for Boots, or were they required to acquire them at a latter date?

 

Were they actually worn, either by regulation when ordered to do so or as ships order, or by individuals say if they were on leave if they so wanted?

 

 

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The answer to your questions is yes. They were issued in boot camp as part of the initial issue. They were issued (IIRC), through 1963. They were required to be maintained and tended to be worn on full dress occasions when officers and CPOs wore blue covers on their combination caps. They were rarely prescribed as part of the uniform of the day, or uniform for Liberty. My dad liked the cap. Others that I know, who were issued it, liked it also. Just had very little occasion to wear it. 

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3 hours ago, sigsaye said:

The answer to your questions is yes. They were issued in boot camp as part of the initial issue. They were issued (IIRC), through 1963. They were required to be maintained and tended to be worn on full dress occasions when officers and CPOs wore blue covers on their combination caps. They were rarely prescribed as part of the uniform of the day, or uniform for Liberty. My dad liked the cap. Others that I know, who were issued it, liked it also. Just had very little occasion to wear it. 

Thanks Steve, would love to see photos of it worn post 1945.

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11 hours ago, patches said:

Thanks Steve, would love to see photos of it worn post 1945.

I think my sister has my dads boot camp graduation photo from 1947. His company is wearing them. I’ve seen a Change of Command photo from the ‘50s, where they are being worn and a buddy of mine who was in the last recruit company to be issued them in 1963. His graduation photo has him wearing his. But, I don’t have access to any of those 

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My dad was issued one of these when he was a boot in 1956. He said he never even put it on his head.

 

Allan

Never under-estimate the power of prayer.

 

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Both of my grandfathers were USCG boatswains mates in WWII. My mother’s dad wore his flat hat in the wedding photos in 1944. He wore his way back on his head.  You could hardly see the tally. 

R. Patterson

Boatswains Mate

USCG 1998-2010

“The Boatswain’s Mate and Coxswain is A JACK OF ALL TRADES AND A MASTER OF THEM ALL.”- 1944 edition of the BM2c training course material. 
“They gave us an engine that first went up and down. With some more technology, the engine went around. We know of steam and diesel, but what’s a main yard for? A sailor ain’t a sailor, ain’t a sailor anymore!”- The Last Shanty

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The USCG wore a white version in the late sixties. I have a vivid memory of watching one of my cousins walk up the gangway to his ship wearing his pea coat and flat hat, sea bag over his shoulder, on their way to Vietnam. It was like a scene from WW2.

 

Steve

What dreams he made for us to dream

Spanish skies Egyptian sands

The world was ours we marched upon

Our little corporal's command

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3 minutes ago, ottodog8 said:

The USCG wore a white version in the late sixties. I have a vivid memory of watching one of my cousins walk up the gangway to his ship wearing his pea coat and flat hat, sea bag over his shoulder, on their way to Vietnam. It was like a scene from WW2.

 

Steve

Coast Guard wore the “Flat Hat”, (White at least), until 1975

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16 hours ago, patches said:

Thanks Steve, would love to see photos of it worn post 1945.

 

You can find a lot of post-WW2 boot camp photos with it here:

https://militaryyearbookproject.com/platoon-photos/us-navy-recruit-training-center-rtc-photos/great-lakes-il-naval-training-center?page=4

 

After recruit training it's a lot more scarce. Both uncles I had who joined in the '50s said they never wore it after boot camp.

 

Inspection on USS Grady DE-445, 1950:

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Three of my first cousins were in the Coast Guard from the mid 60's to the mid 70's. Two of them did tours in Vietnam. The last one to get out did so in 1974 or '75. The tipping point for him was the new uniform, said he wanted to look like a sailor, not a milk man.

 

Steve

What dreams he made for us to dream

Spanish skies Egyptian sands

The world was ours we marched upon

Our little corporal's command

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The USN goes through a lot of useless uniforms that we are required to have but seldom if ever wear. I made CPO in 1985. I bought the Service Dress White Coat, (Choker Whites). By the time I retired in 1999, I had worn I 3 times. All for Summer Change of Commands, requiring Full Dress White. I knew guys who never bothered to get one. If they needed one, they would go to the exchange, buy one, wear it for whatever event required it, then take it back to the exchange and get their money back. 
 

The Flat hat fell into that category. By the 1950s, it was reserved for formal dress occasions. It was decided that it was an expensive item to issue out when it was seldom if ever worn. When they were dropped, every kid in the neighborhood had one, ( I lived in Navy housing). 

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On 10/3/2020 at 3:16 PM, TheCrustyBosun said:

Here’s a US Navy flat hat that I picked up at the Wings Over Houston Airshow in 1996. I was a sophomore is high school and a Civil Air Patrol cadet. I believe it was my first purchase as a military uniform collector. I have always thought it was WWII but never knew for sure. Have a look. Real deal or repro? 

 

So to answer your original question, it's real but not WW2 issue. 

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If I may add this, this from a 2009 posting from member hhbooker2, that shows the Donald Duck Cap as standard in a 1949 French Armed Forces Allied Uniform Guide Connaissez Vos Allies (Know Your Allies).

 

This is from the section on uniforms etc worn by the U.S. Navy in 1949, note one and all that the familiar White Cap isn't depicted, just the Flat Cap.

 

 

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I’m not sure if the Navy had a white flat hat. I’ve only seen them in the Coast Guard. I have a copy of a CG press release about the introduction of the “new” white flat cap sometime in the 60’s. I’ll dig it up. 

R. Patterson

Boatswains Mate

USCG 1998-2010

“The Boatswain’s Mate and Coxswain is A JACK OF ALL TRADES AND A MASTER OF THEM ALL.”- 1944 edition of the BM2c training course material. 
“They gave us an engine that first went up and down. With some more technology, the engine went around. We know of steam and diesel, but what’s a main yard for? A sailor ain’t a sailor, ain’t a sailor anymore!”- The Last Shanty

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35 minutes ago, TheCrustyBosun said:

I’m not sure if the Navy had a white flat hat. I’ve only seen them in the Coast Guard. I have a copy of a CG press release about the introduction of the “new” white flat cap sometime in the 60’s. I’ll dig it up. 

No I was referring to the Dixie Cup cap commonly worn if not exclusively worn.

 

But much to my surprise we discovered that the Navy in the late 19th Century did indeed wear at times a White Flat Hat, a White Cover to the Navy Blue one.

 

See this at page 5 of this big topic on Navy Landing Parties.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, TheCrustyBosun said:

I’m not sure if the Navy had a white flat hat. I’ve only seen them in the Coast Guard. I have a copy of a CG press release about the introduction of the “new” white flat cap sometime in the 60’s. I’ll dig it up. 

No, USN did not have a white version of the Flat Hat, like the USCG. 

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1 hour ago, patches said:

No I was referring to the Dixie Cup cap commonly worn if not exclusively worn.

 

But much to my surprise we discovered that the Navy in the late 19th Century did indeed wear at times a White Flat Hat, a White Cover to the Navy Blue one.

 

See this at page 5 of this big topic on Navy Landing Parties.

 

 

 

The white covers were adopted about 1859(ish). They were dropped about the mid 1880s. At about the time the white cap cover was dropped, the “White Hat”, (“Dixie cup”) , was adopted. When originally adopted, the White Hat, was only for summer, working uniform, at sea. It eventually replaces the flat hat as the most used hat/cap 

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