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National Park Service Uniforms
Badges and Insignia 1894-1991
Number 1


Possibly because the coat was usually worn with the uniform, belts do not appear as an article covered by the regulations until 1936. Earlier photographs confirm the prior absence of any standard belt or buckle. Probably the only thing covering belts was the stipulation that all leather would be of a cordovan color.

In Office Order No. 324, National Park Service Uniform Regulations, April 13, 1936, a web belt was stipulated. In 1938, Office Order No. 350 added a leather belt. That order states:


Forestry green, web-waist belt, 1-1/8 inches wide, with buckle approved by the Director, is prescribed for wear when breeches are worn with or without coat.


Forestry green, 1-1/4 inches wide, with nickel-plated buckle approved by the Director, is prescribed for wear only when coat is worn.

Apparently the original order did not contain the above description of the leather belt, because on November 10, 1938, Office Order 350 was amended to include a description and a sketch of the leather belt. The drawing shows a plain belt with a line tooled all around, approximately 1/8-inch from the edge. It has two retaining loops, or cinches, for the end of the belt. The buckle was a simple open-frame, single loop style. The web belt probably utilized the standard military type of buckle.

Office Order 350 was again revised on April 19, 1939. This time the web-waist belt was eliminated and the color of the leather belt changed to the standard cordovan color of the Park Service leather goods. The width was also increased to 1-1/2 inches.

The 1940 uniform regulations brought with them two additional optional belts. Besides the standard belt, rangers could now wear a 1/8-inch-thick by 1-1/2-inch-wide belt embossed with a design similar to the hat band. This belt was of the "western gun holster" style, which has a secondary narrow belt sewn on top of the wider main belt. The narrow belt is used to secure the larger belt. In addition, Service employees required to wear side arms could wear a belt with a strap over the shoulder to support the weight of the weapon if they desired. This style belt, known as a Sam Browne, was copied from the British military and used by the U.S. Army as well as law enforcement agencies. Both of these belts were to be cordovan.

The 1961 uniform regulations changed the embossed belt. It remained 1-1/2 inches wide, but now the buckle was the full width of the belt and the "USNPS" was eliminated. This became the standard belt of the National Park Service and continues to this day.

Watch fob and belt buckle design suggested by Natt N. Dodge, naturalist, Southwestern National Monuments. - NPS Bulletin, Nov.-Dec. 1940, Vol. X, No.6, p.11

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Last Modified: Thurs, Jul 28 2000 07:08:48 am PDT

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