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NPS Associated


Arrowhead Patch
Cap Insignia
Collar Ornaments
Hatband & Straps
Law Enforcement Insignia
Length-of-Service Insignia
Sleeve Brassards
Tie Ornaments & Pins





Wearing the standard hat was inconvenient for those rangers assigned to motorcycle duty. So the soft, or "English" army officer, cap was authorized in 1928 for rangers assigned to that function. This was expanded to include "hot summer" parks in the east. The initial authorization did not include any decoration on the cap, but this was changed by Office Order No. 204, revised, in 1932. This order specified that a "modified form of the National Park Service band" was to be worn with the cap. This consisted of a chin strap, with some of the same elements found on the hat band impressed on it. It also had USNPS tooled on the front center. It was held at the sides by two sterling silver Sequoia cones, like those used on the hatband. Although subsequent uniform regulations still specified the cap to be the "English Army Officer" style, the design was changed sometime soon after its introduction to that used by police officers. (faceted rim)

Even though no ornament was specified for the front of the cap, photographs show several rangers sporting what looks like a large eagle on the front of their caps. There had been some discussion concerning this back in the late 1920s, when the cap was initially proposed, but the matter of the ornament had been dropped at that time. There are photographs showing Tex Worley, of Yellowstone, wearing his ranger badge on the front of his cap.

Sequoia rangers
Rangers from Sequoia National Park, 1930s. Hines is dressed for motorcycle duty and is wearing a large eagle on his cap, along with his Sam Browne belt. NPSHPC/HFC#86-243

Left to right: Hines, Cook. (?), Spigelmyre, Parkes, (?), Hamilton

The 1938 superintendents' conference had recommended an aluminum-colored pith helmet, with a large sterling silver Sequoia cone ornament. But when Office Order No. 350, revised, was issued on April 19, 1939, the color of the helmet was changed to forestry green and there was no mention of an ornament. This was cleared up in a memorandum from Acting Director Demaray on July 27, 1939. "It was found that aluminum colored helmets could not be purchased and no satisfactory sequoia cone has been devised for use on the helmet," he stated. "Consequently the color of the helmet was changed to forestry green and the core ornament eliminated."

motorcyle messenger
Motorcycle messenger at South gate, Yellowstone National Park, 1932. He is wearing his badge on his cap. NPSHPC/YELL#130,141/FONT>

The 1940 uniform regulations changed the color of the helmet again. This time it was to be of a "sand tan color." And apparently, because of availability, the sterling silver Sequoia cone was reinstated, but this time it was to be the same size as those worn on the hatband. On September 18, 1953, the sun helmet was eliminated from the uniform regulations and the Sequoia cone reverted to being used solely on the standard hat and cap.

The 1940 regulations also introduced a new uniform for those rangers, or boatmen, that worked on boats of the National Park Service. The wording is somewhat odd. It states, "...the following articles of uniform are prescribed for wear by the boat captain, engineer purser or other employees [italics added] of the boats." This could be construed to mean everyone working the boat, unless of course the hands were simply assigned from the ranger force by the parks.

National Park Service pith helmet, 1940. This drawing shows the large Sequoia cone originally authorized for the helmet. NPSA/RG55Y/1940 NPS Uniform Regulations Manual

National Park Service Boatman's hat, 1940. These were designed after the U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer's hat. NPSA/RG 55Y/1940 NPS Uniform Regulations Manual

3 Boatmen from Isle Royale National Park wearing the new boatman's uniform, 1940.

Left to right: Edwin C. Johnson, Charles R. Greenleaf, George T. White NPSHPC/ISRO#40-342

John G. Lewis
John G. Lewis, superintendent, Isle Royale National Park, 1958. Lewis, probably better known by his alter ego. "Onelick Evergreen", is wearing the 1936 pattern ski cap with the embroidered USNPS on the front. Also note the 20 year Length-of-Service patch on his sleeve. NPSHPC/ISRO#

The uniform was to be Navy blue, including the cap, which was modeled after those worn by Chief Petty Officers in the U.S. Navy. The regulations do not address the issue, but this uniform was probably intended strictly for the Service's deep water "Navy", like the boatmen that crewed RANGER's II and III on Lake Superior for Isle Royale National Park, since this is the only location that apparently received them. The 1947 uniform regulations authorized a summer uniform of white duck. The style and decoration were to be the same.

The cap was to have a distinctive ornament on the front. It consisted of an 1-1/2" circle with crossed anchors in the center. All embroidery was to be gold thread on navy-blue cloth.

Although the uniform remained in the regulations until 1961, it apparently wasn't too popular since few photographs exist showing it being worn. There are no extant examples known.

The 1961 Uniform Regulations changed the Boatmen's dress back to the standard ranger uniform, less badge, including standard hat when ashore. However, when on board the boat, officers were to wear die Chief Petty Officers style cap, only now it was to be forest green. same as the uniform, with the emblem being gold thread. The hands were to wear the standard service cap.

A photograph of Charles R. Greenleaf, captain of the Ranger, shows the emblem on his hat to be larger and more ornate than that previously used. It is still the crossed anchors, but mow they are "fouled." Even though the regulations now specify that only the crews out of Isle Royale were to wear the Petty Officer cap, there is a photograph of Gene F. Gatzke from Lake Mead Recreation Area wearing one with this emblem. In addition to the patch, he has what appears to be a small round metal disc with NPS on it fastened at the top between the anchors.

Regulations must not have been too strict, later photographs show Greenleaf wearing caps with various emblems on them. Even occasionally the service cap.

Camille Elias
Camille Elias, 1963. Elias is wearing the 1961 pattern uniform. Her pillbox hat has a patch with the USNPS embroidered on it. NPSHFC#WASOG.337A

A ski cap was introduced in 1936. [47] This was the first of a series of caps bearing an embroidered USNPS. The letters were to be gold and 3/4-inch high. The 1961 regulations specified that women's "airline stewardess" hats were to have USNPS embroidered on them in 1/2-inch gold letters. The letters were either embroidered directly on the hat or on a piece of material matching the hat. However, prior to these regulations becoming effective, the color was changed to silver to be consistent with the collar insignia and badge. [48]

The National Park Service History Collection has an example of the USNPS embroidered on a piece of uniform material for the women's hat. But since it is gold instead of silver, it can be assumed to be a sample made before the color change. Since most of the photographs from this period are black and white, the color cannot be identified. There is, however, a color photograph from Everglades National Park showing 3 women wearing hats with white USNPS on the front which confirms that, at least in their case, white was used in place of gold. The embroidered USNPS on the women's hat was replaced in 1962 by the "reduced" size (2-1/2-inch) arrowhead patch.

As in the case of the women's hat, when the new style ski cap, now called a service cap, was adopted in the 1961 regulations, it was specified to have USNPS embroidered on the front, like the previous cap, but this was also changed to silver in 1960. Now, though, the USNPS was embroidered on a piece of the cap material, all on one line, and sewn to the front of the cap. Sometime prior to 1969, at which time it was eliminated in favor of the arrowhead, the USNPS began to be embroidered in 2 lines on a two inch square forestry green patch with a silver (white) border and sewn to the cap. No evidence has uncovered as to when these patches were authorized.

Irwin Wente
Irwin Wente, maintenance, Everglades National Park, 1969. Wente is wearing the service cap with the white 1960 USNPS cap patch. NPSHPC/HFC#69-308-80

Olive Johnson
Olive "Johnny" Johnson, Guide/Nurse, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, 1947. Johnson is wearing the 1947 "WAAC" style uniform with a USNPS collar ornament on her "Overseas" cap. NPSHPC/CACA#86CAR

Prior to the adoption of the "stewardess" hat, uniformed women employees had been wearing a uniform copied from the Women's Army AuxilIary Corps (WAAC), complete with overseas cap. Although not covered in the regulations, a USNPS collar ornament was usually attached to the front of this cap. There is photographic evidence that this hat began to be worn during World War II.

The small arrowhead patch was officially removed from the women's hat in 1969 but continued to be worn until the uniform change of 1970. At that time, it replaced the USNPS patch on the men's service caps. Since 1974, the arrowhead has seen service on many different types of hats, either as a patch or a decal. It was used on baseball caps, "Black Watch style" (ski) caps, and mouton-trimmed caps, to name a few. When the soft cap worn by the motorcycle patrol rangers gave way to the safer hard helmets, arrowhead decals were affixed to them to denote the wearer's status.

Miss E. Elaine Clark
Miss E. Elaine (Russell) Clark, park guide, Andrew Johnson National Monument, 1963. Clark updated her 1961 pattern hat to 1962 standards by applying the arrowhead on the front. NPSHPC/HFC#63-3164

Jim Randall
Jim Randall, Rocky Mountain National Park, 1971. Randall is wearing a ski cap with the USNPS patch. NPSHPC-Ben Butterfield Photo-HFC#71-187-2

drawing of cap ornament
Drawing proposed by Superintendent William M. Robinson, Colonial National Monument, for the park's summer ranger uniform cap, 1932. Robinson had suggested that Colonial's rangers wear a white uniform in the summer, but this was turned down. National Archives RG 79

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Last Modified: Fri, Jan 17 2003 07:08:48 am PDT

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