Campaign hat

Campaign hat
Former NPS director Mary A. Bomar in her park ranger uniform, showing the campaign hat with traditional Montana crease.
A manual citrus juicer illustrating the ribbing which gave the name "lemon-squeezer" to campaign-hats with the most prominent creases.

A campaign cover (also Montana Peak, drill instructor cover, drill sergeant hat, round brown, ranger hat, sergeant hat, Scouts hat, Smokey Bear, lemon squeezer) is a broad-brimmed felt or straw hat, with a high crown, pinched symmetrically at the four corners (the "Montana crease").

It is associated with the New Zealand Army, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the World War I ground forces of the United States Army, contemporary U.S. military drill instructors, state police forces, park rangers (and from them, their logo-cartoon and mascot Smokey Bear), Boy Scouts, and others.

Although the campaign hat is occasionally referred to as a Stetson, this is from its common manufacture in the late 19th century by that company. It should not be confused with the quite different Stetson hat type with a different brim and crease, commonly known as the cowboy hat, and which is more commonly meant by the term "Stetson" today. The campaign hat also should not be confused with a slouch hat.



The origins of the hat can be traced to the 1840s when army troops posted in the west took to wearing civilian hats which were far more practical than the shakos or kepis then in vogue with most western armies. The name started to be used after the 1872–1876 regulations which introduced a black felt hat — which could be drab after 1883 — for fatigue use derived from the types popularized during the American Civil War. During the Spanish–American War the standard central crease on the crown was found to be impractical as it tended to hold the rainwater from the frequent tropical downpours. Many soldiers reshaped the crown to form a pinched "Montana peak." The army officially adopted the peaked design in 1911. 8, Sept. 1911 Hat, Service, M1911 (Campaign Hat.)

The hat is often associated with the British officer Sir Robert Baden-Powell who picked up the hat during an African campaign in 1896, probably from an American scout Frederick Russell Burnham who first taught him woodcraft at that time, and later introduced the hat for the South African Constabulary and the Boy Scouts (see below).

Many campaign hats are in evidence among U.S. infantry troops during the Pancho Villa campaign of 1916

Through the World War I era, the campaign hat worn by American soldiers was fairly soft. Those worn by the United States Army's General officers had a golden cord around it, whereas other Commissioned officers had a golden-and-black cord around their hat. Field Clerks, as well as their post-war successors the Warrant officers, had a silver-and-black cord, while other ranks had cords in their branch-of-service colors. The United States Marine Corps had the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor badge in black at the front of their campaign hats; its officers had an additional golden-and-scarlet cord around their hat, whereas its other ranks had none.[1]

By the 1930s the felt was made very stiff with a permanently flat brim. Due to the frequent wearing of helmets in France in World War I, most troops received a copy of the French bonnet du police that became known as the overseas cap. In 1942 the campaign hat ceased to be issued generally, but it was still commonly found in the Pacific theatre for much of the war, and was the trademark of General Joseph Stilwell.

Current usage

Royal Canadian Mounted Police

An RCMP officer in Red Serge on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario. The creases are slightly different in this version of the campaign hat

In Canada the Stetson was the official dress hat of the North-West Mounted Police (later Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who retain it as part of the full dress uniform) as well as Canadian cavalry units in the First World War. The hat was phased out of military use by the service dress cap following the First World War. It is also used by members of the Ontario Provincial Police, but it is being phased out due to problems wearing them in police cruisers. Though similar to the U.S. Campaign Hat, the indentations of the Canadian style hat are somewhat deeper.

New Zealand Army

New Zealand Army, whose uniforms have historically followed the British pattern, has the campaign hat (known as the "lemon squeezer" hat) as the most visible national distinction. This was adopted by the Wellington Regiment about 1912 and became general issue for all New Zealand units during the latter stages of World War I. The different branches of service were distinguished by coloured puggarees or wide bands around the base of the crown (blue and red for artillery, green for mounted rifles, khaki and red for infantry etc.). The "lemon squeezer" was worn to a certain extent during World War II, although often replaced by more convenient forage caps or berets. After being in abeyance since the 1950s, the "lemon squeezer" has recently been reintroduced for parade dress where it is usually worn with a version of the khaki "no 2" service dress of the British Army. Officer cadets and some bands wear this headdress with a scarlet and blue full dress uniform.

United States armed forces

U.S. Marine Corps drill instructor wearing a campaign hat.

The hat worn by male United States Army drill sergeants is olive drab in color with a golden Great Seal of the United States on a disc centered on the front (infantry drill sergeants have a blue disc behind the seal); this is the same insignia as worn on their combination cover (known as a "service cap" by the Army Regulation 670-1). Male and female United States Marine Corps Drill Instructors and Primary Marksmanship Instructors wear similar covers with a matte black Eagle, Globe, and Anchor centered on the front; the same insignia is worn on their olive drab combination covers. Enlisted Marines and soldiers no longer wear cords around the covers, but U.S. Marine Corps officers who are eligible to wear the campaign cover wear a scarlet and gold cord, with generals wearing a solid gold cord. The U.S. Marine Corps had their hats authorized in 1956 by Commandant General Randolph M. Pate. The cover was issued on 20 July 1956.[2]

Male United States Air Force Military Training Instructors (MTIs) wear navy blue hats with the Great Seal of the United States within a ring, in silver color, again centered on the front; this is the same insignia as worn on their combination cover. Female MTIs wear a slouch hat. Air Force MTIs who are qualified to teach new MTIs are identified by a black cord around the hat. MTIs in the top ten percent of their career field wear a light blue cord and are more likely to be referred to as "Blue Ropes" than MTIs. U.S. Coast Guard recruit training Company Commanders (USCG-USN counterpart to drill instructors) wear a navy blue version with a black cord; the insignia worn is the same as worn with the combination cover.

The United States Navy is the only U.S. armed force not to use the campaign hat. Their Recruit Division Commanders wear normal prescribed covers for their uniforms.

ROTC cadets of the Texas A&M University Corps of Cadets can wear dark green Campaign Covers in place of Garrison Caps or BDU/ACU covers. The Campaign Cover is adorned with the gold "Corps Stack" insignia and a colored cord (dark blue, light blue, red or green) indicating which graduating class the cadet is part of. Senior year cadet officers wear a gold cord with their Campaign Cover.

Park Rangers and Smokey Bear

Smokey Bear derives his hat from the traditional campaign hat of park rangers

Campaign hats are still worn by U.S. park rangers of the National Park Service. Many states' fish and game wardens, and state park police wear campaign hats. Rangers of many local parks departments wear the campaign hat, such as the New York City Parks Enforcement Patrol. Since the federal troops sent to protect the resources of the first national parks were cavalry troopers, including the 9th Cavalry's Black "Buffalo Soldiers," it was natural that the park system and its rangers would adopt the cavalry soldier's campaign hat as a symbol of authority.

The evolution of the campaign hat can be seen in this 1905 photo of Buffalo Soldiers in Yosemite. Although the hat would not become Army standard until 6 years later, some in the photo have re-creased their hats into the Montana Peak, probably during their service in Cuba or the Philippines during the 1898 Spanish-American War.[3]

The animal logo-mascot of the U.S. Forest Service, Smokey Bear, wears the campaign hat. Smokey's debut poster was released on August 9, 1944, which is considered his birthday. Overseen by the Cooperative Forest Fire Prevention Campaign, the first poster was illustrated by Albert Staehle. In it, Smokey was depicted wearing jeans and a "forest ranger's hat" [4] (a campaign hat), pouring a bucket of water on a campfire. The message underneath reads, "Smokey says – Care will prevent 9 out of 10 forest fires!" (An official real-animal-mascot, a black bear cub named Smokey, was saved from a forest fire in 1950, but of course is not associated with a hat. The cartoon Smokey character precedes him).

Law enforcement

Several U.S. state police services (for example, the Utah Highway Patrol) wear campaign hats. These state troopers are responsible for state and interstate highway safety, and in this capacity are variously referred to in different states as State Police, Highway Patrol, State Patrol, and State Highway Patrol. So common is use of the campaign hat among state highway police that they are sometimes referred to as "smokey bears" or "smokeys," after Smokey Bear the famous logo-character of the U.S. Forest Service. The only State Police agencies that do not employ the “smokey bear hat”, are the New York State Police, Connecticut State Police, New Jersey State Police, Texas Highway Patrol, Maryland State Police, New Mexico State Police, and the Michigan State Police. There is no direct association between the cartoon bear and the Highway Patrol; they both derive their hat styles ultimately from the U.S. Cavalry.

Many other police agencies, including numerous county sheriffs' services, use campaign hats. Some local police use it for particular duties or divisions; for example, officers of the Los Angeles Police Department's and Chicago Police Department's mounted units employ the hat, and deputy sheriffs assigned as cadre of the Cook County Sheriff's Boot Camp wear campaign hats.

Boy Scouts

Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Scouting movement for boys, wearing a British uniform and American Stetson campaign hat
American scout Frederick Russell Burnham wearing a campaign hat in 1902 after the Second Boer War. He introduced scouting and American woodcraft to Baden-Powell in 1896.
Burnham in Africa (middle) in 1893, three years before meeting Baden-Powell. At this time he is not wearing a peaked campaign-type hat, but this comrade Maurice Gifford (right) is.

The campaign hat was worn by and associated with Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Scouting movement, and is still available for wear by Boy Scouts of the Boy Scouts of America. Because this style of hat is also so traditionally associated with Scouting, campaign hats are often used as presentation items by troops and local councils for adult Scouters and community and business leaders being honored for their service to the Scouting movement.

Baden-Powell was British, but picked up the habit of wearing a Stetson campaign hat and neckerchief for the first time in 1896 in Africa during the Second Matabele War.[5] It was during this time that Baden-Powell, already a cavalryman, was befriended by the celebrated American scout Frederick Russell Burnham, who favored the campaign hat. In the African hills it was Burnham who first introduced Baden-Powell to the ways and methods of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, and taught him woodcraft (better known today as scoutcraft).[6] When Baden-Powell first re-wrote his Army handbook "Aids to Scouting" into "Scouting For Boys" he included sketches of boys as "scouts" wearing the campaign hat.

See also


  1. ^ National Geographic Magazine, October 1917
  2. ^ Evolution of the MTI and Air Force Basic Training
  3. ^ National Park Service photo
  4. ^ Accessed March 13, 2010. The story of the creation of Smokey Bear, told by the late Albert Staehle's wife
  5. ^ Jeal, Tim (1989). Baden-Powell. London: Hutchinson. ISBN 0-09-170670-X. 
  6. ^ Baden-Powell, Robert (1908). Scouting for Boys: A Handbook for Instruction in Good Citizenship. London: H. Cox. xxiv. ISBN 0-486457-19-2. 

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

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