Marine Corps Contemplating Cap Change

Online fashion critics lead the Marine Corps Uniform Board to consider unisex service cap

In an effort to streamline uniform rules for men and women, the Marine Corps is contemplating a unisex service cap. If approved the change would be the first change in headwear or “cover” since 1922. The Marine Corps Uniform Board, comprised of non-commissioned officers and officers, is also exploring whether to have women wear a modified version male Marines cover instead of the “bucket cap” they wear now. Female Marines have worn distinctive caps, also known as “bucket covers,” since 1952.

Of the 195,000 Marines currently in active duty, approximately 6 percent are women. A survey that will be tallied on Friday was emailed to all reserve and active duty Marines earlier in the week to get their input on the change. The board plans to meet again next week with the survey results to determine if a change is necessary. Gen. James Amos, the Marine Corps Commandant will have to approve any recommendation they make.

The proposed unisex hat is a throwback to the type of hat used prior to 1922 called the “Dan Daly.” It was named after a two-time Medal of Honor recipient that served in the Marine Corps at the turn of the last century. Preliminary responses indicate it has not been popular within the ranks, according to a Department of Defense official. Opponents to the change say, “it looked like a ‘porter’s’ cap.”

Having female Marines wear a male version of the cap would save the Defense Department about $600,000. However, the switch to a new unisex Marine cap would carry an extra cost of almost $7 million. Vocal criticism online sparked the possibility of a headgear change as reported on Thursday.

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