Hatband & Straps
Law Enforcement Insignia
Tie Ornaments & Pins
of the NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
ORNAMENTATION: Cap Insignia
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.
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.
Left to right: Hines, Cook. (?), Spigelmyre, Parkes, (?),
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."
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
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
3 Boatmen from Isle Royale
National Park wearing the new boatman's uniform,
Left to right: Edwin C. Johnson, Charles
R. Greenleaf, George T. White NPSHPC/ISRO#40-342
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
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, 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.  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. 
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, maintenance,
Everglades National Park, 1969. Wente is wearing the service
cap with the white 1960 USNPS cap patch.
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 (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, Rocky Mountain
National Park, 1971. Randall is wearing a ski cap with the
USNPS patch. NPSHPC-Ben Butterfield Photo-HFC#71-187-2
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