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The Developing Years




Appendix A

Appendix B

current topic Appendix C

National Park Service Uniforms
The Developing Years 1932-1970
Number 5

Appendix C

National Park Service Uniform Regulations began to be issued in the form of a manual in 1938. While the text was still typewritten, the accompanying illustrations were professionally executed. This procedure was only followed for the regulations of 1938 and 1940. With the change of uniform in 1947, the illustrations accompanying the regulations were simple little line drawings, supplemented by photographs in changes issued in 1950. Starting with the 1961 regulations, illustrations or photographs no longer accompanied the text.

Unfortunately, no complete copy of the 1938 regulations has come to light. Only a few amendment sheets to this manual, dated 1939, remain in the archives to indicate that it used this format. Instructions state that when revisions were issued, the old pages were to be discarded and the new one inserted. Apparently, the revision sheets in the archives were never inserted in the regulations resulting in their being saved when the manual was destroyed.

However, there is a complete, unaltered copy of the 1940 NPS regulations in the archives. It is bound with heavy gray-green papers utilizing a two-prong fastener. Because of its uniqueness, it has been included here in its entirety.



November 22, 1940.

MEMORANDUM for the Washington Office and all Field Offices.


The fundamental purposes of the uniform are to symbolize the National Park Service and to identify the wearer to park visitors. Accordingly, its use must be limited to the Service field personnel whose chief duties are to contact visitors and to protect the parks and monuments. The Director, however, may approve specific exemptions with respect to the wearing of the uniform.

The following officials and employees of the National Park Service, whether permanent or temporary, shall wear the standard uniform when assigned to duty in any of the national parks, military parks, historical parks, national monuments, national parkways, and other areas open to visitors:

Superintendents, assistant superintendents, custodians, park rangers, junior park wardens, naturalists, ranger-naturalists, military park guards, museum attendants, national cemetery superintendents, and other national park and national monument employees whose duties are chiefly to contact park visitors and to protect the areas administered by the National Park Service.

Officials and employees at Death Valley National Monument who are required to wear a uniform shall wear the special type of uniform approved by the Director, as follows:

Sun Helmet: Sand tan color with silver Sequoia ornament.

Shirt: Sand tan color, any acceptable material, cotton gabardine, broadcloth, or twill; collar attached, shoulder straps, two large plaited pockets with buttoned flaps and pencil opening on the left; single button cuffs.

Trousers: San tan color, cotton gabardine, twill, or similar material; tunnel belt loops 2" on sides, 1-1/2" cuffs.

Belt: Regulation, cordovan color, new style.

Shoes: Blucher type, cordovan color, shoes or oxfords.

Socks: Regulation brown.

Tie: Regulation green.

The uniform is not to be worn by an official or employee when he is not in a duty status, but the superintendents and custodians may wear the uniform on important occasions outside of the park at their discretion. Other members of the field personnel may wear the uniform on important occasions outside of the park when authorized to do so by the superintendent or custodian.

Civilian Conservation Corps and emergency employees, when assigned to regular public contact service, shall wear the uniform, when specifically authorized by the Director.

No other employees of the National Park Service, including policemen in the National Capital Parks, shall wear the standard uniform prescribed by this memorandum.

CCC supervisory personnel shall wear the authorized CCC uniform. Temporary employees or members of other branches of the National Park Service may wear any special uniform authorized by the Director, but shall not wear the standard uniform or insignia prescribed for permanently appointed or regular National Park Service officials and employees.

For all formal occasions, such as inspections, official receptions, etc., the standard uniform for superintendents shall consist of hat, coat, breeches or trousers, shoes or field boots, steel gray or white shirt, dark green tie, and all other proper insignia and accessories.

The overcoat shall be considered an essential part of the formal uniform when weather conditions require its use.


The standard uniform, consisting of the following garments and authorized accessories, is prescribed for all formal wear and ordinary usage:

A.-1 HAT

Stiff brim, 3 to 3-1/2 inches wide and 4 to 4-5/8 inch crown, Belly color, with three ventilator holes, arranged in the form of an equilateral triangle, bottom leg of triangle 1-1/2 inches above brim, legs of triangle 1 inch, on each side of the hat. Hat to be worn with the approved leather hat band and two silver Sequoia cones. Width of brim and height of crown of hat may be varied, within these dimensions, to suit the size or conformation of the wearer's head. Plain leather head straps, 1/2 inch wide, cordovan color, may be worn if desired.


A sun-tan helmet is prescribed for wear in those areas using sun-tan uniforms and the aluminum helmet in those areas using the standard uniform. A silver sequoia cone the same size as those ornamenting the hat band is to be worn vertically on the front of the helmet.


The approved NPS cap of same material as uniform, with approved chin strap fastened with two silver Sequoia cones, is prescribed for rangers assigned to motorcycle duty, and for general uniform purposes in military and historical areas.


Three- or four-button military sack, having open collar; pinch back; two breast pockets, plaited, and two side pockets, bellows type; all outside pockets to have flaps, fastened with small Service buttons.

The coat shall be worn on all normal occasions. It may be dispensed with only during hot weather when the superintendent or custodian authorizes it.

In areas where the climate is warm and humid, officers and employees are authorized to wear tropical worsted coats of the same style and cut as the coat described above, except to be without padding and without lining in the sleeves.


Of same material as coat; full peg with two side or top pockets; two hip pockets, and one watch pocket; buttoned at knee openings, with or without knee reinforcement, and double seat of same material.

Breeches are considered an essential part of the formal uniform.


Of same material as coat, straight leg, with 1-1/2 inch cuff, two side, two hip, and one watch pocket; may be worn in lieu of breeches:

(1) In Eastern national parks, parkways, military parks, national cemeteries, and national monuments, and in other areas when extremely warm weather prevails for considerable periods.

(2) Park rangers at Hot Springs National Park.

(3) In the Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Southwestern National Monuments, Petrified Forest National Monument and Boulder Dam National Recreational Area.

(4) By superintendents, custodians, and other members of the field personnel on informal occasions in other parks and monuments.


Leather field boots of approved design, medium weight, with laced instep and laced side at top, and of uniform cordovan color, shall be worn with breeches.


Lace shoes or Oxford type shoes of uniform cordovan color, with plain dark brown socks, may be worn with trousers.


Collar-attached type of flannel, wool gabardine, tropical worsted, or of cotton material, steel gray color, for all normal duty.

A white shirt and collar is authorized for formal occasions only.

A field shirt with collar attached, shoulder straps, two large plaited breast pockets with pocket flaps fastened with buttons, steel gray, is prescribed for wear without coats. Such shirts may be of flannel, gabardine, tropical worsted, or cotton material.


Four-in-hand barathea silk, full-wool lined, dark green.


Double-breasted, four-button mackinaw type with convertible collar, two side patch pockets and sewed-on half belt in back. Coat may be unlined or lined with "fleece," or other material.


Double-breasted, full belt, set-in sleeves, calf length of light weight weather-proof material such as "Alligator" cloth, forestry or olive green color, is authorized.


Double-breasted, calf length, trench coat type with raglan sleeves, full belt and diagonal pockets of forestry green, weather-proof gabardine.


The fatigue uniform is prescribed for informal wear, such as patrol and general field duty, fatigue use, and when the duty to be performed is other than public contact, or when the nature of the duty is such that the standard uniform obviously would be inappropriate. It shall consist of:


The regulation hat and hat band.


The National Park Service field jacket is slightly longer than the conventional cossack, but shorter than the cruiser type, jacket. It has a waist band approximately two inches wide with two adjusting buckles at sides. The jacket fastens in the front with full-length talon fasteners, and has two large plaited breast pockets with flaps fastened with small regulation buttons. From the top of the breast pockets over shoulders and full length of back, material is double. The lower part of the back provides a large pocket, closing with talon fasteners on each side under arms.


The regulation breeches.


Regulation trousers. A canvas or water-repellent material trousers of forestry green or light tan may be authorized when field conditions make this type of garment desirable.


The regulation shirt, either of wool or cotton.


The necktie may or may not be worn as directed by superintendent.


Heavy leather lace boots from 10 to 16-inch top, or standard field boots.


Low shoes, or Oxfords, shall be worn with trousers.

Badges and collar ornaments shall be worn on the field jacket and on shirts when worn without coats or jackets, in the same position as prescribed for the coat and overcoat of standard uniform. Boots and shoes shall be of uniform cordovan color.


For the national parks and other areas having established winter sports seasons, the following articles of uniform are prescribed for wear by rangers and other employees whose duties require their presence with visitors at snow sports activities and who are designated to wear them by the superintendent or custodian:


Ski cap of NPS design, having adjustable ear flaps and with embroidered NPS insignia on front.


The NPS field or fatigue jacket.


Ski trousers with full-length 20-inch, or larger, leg and knit ankle cuff.


Ski boots of leather and of conventional design, the color to be determined by the superintendent of each park where ski boots are worn.


Heavy wool with dark green top, or, in lieu of socks, olive green or steel gray ski leggings or spats.


With or without hood, light weight weather-proof material, either waist or knee length, of forestry green or steel gray.


Forestry green elastique cloth, 16 to 22-ounce weight is prescribed for cap, coat, breeches, trousers, and jacket of the standard, fatigue, and winter sports uniforms. All articles of a suit shall be of the same weight material.

For use in the areas where climatic conditions require a lighter weight uniform for comfort, light weight gabardine or tropical worsted cloth of about 12-ounce weight is authorized for the various articles of the standard and fatigue uniform, subject, however, to approval of the Director for each field unit concerned.

Forestry green elastique cloth, 22 to 30-ounce weight is prescribed for overcoat material.

Forestry or olive green patented waterproof cloth, such as "Alligator", forestry green cravenetted gabardine, 12 to 18-ounce weight, also are prescribed for raincoat material.

Flannel, wool gabardine, twill, broadcloth, or poplin cloth of steel gray color, are authorized for shirting materials.

Dark green barathea silk with full wool lining is pre scribed for the necktie.

First quality calf skin or horse hide leather is recommended for field boots, shoes, hat bands, and chin straps.

As indicated above, all leather articles and accessories shall be of uniform cordovan color, except ski boots, the color of which shall be determined by the superintendent of each park where ski boots are worn.



Prescribed for use by Superintendents, Assistant Superintendents, Custodians, Park Rangers, Fire Guards, and Life Guards, as follows:

(1) Superintendents and Custodians--round badge, gold.
(2) Assistant Superintendents--round badge, silver.
(3) Chief Rangers and Assistant Chief Rangers-- Shield badge, gold-plated.
(4) Park Rangers, Ranger-Naturalists, Guards, and Park Rangers (temporary)--Shield badge, nickel-plated.
(4a) Park Guards, same as Park Rangers with the word "Guard" instead of "Ranger".
(4b) Junior Park Wardens, same as Park Rangers with the words "Park Warden" instead of "Ranger".
(5) Fire Guards--Shield badge, bronze metal, numbered serially .
(6) Life Guard--Shield cloth badge of approved design with yellow letters embroidered on olive green background of gabardine, Size 5" x 6".

Park Naturalists may be issued park ranger badges when such employees are to enforce park regulations.

Superintendents, Assistant Superintendents, Custodians, Park Rangers, Junior Park Wardens, and Fire Guards, shall wear badges on their uniforms at all times. The badge shall be worn fastened to the plait of the left breast pocket, immediately below the button on coats and fatigue jackets. It shall be worn displayed in approximately the same position on field shirts and overcoats.

All badges shall remain the property of the Government.

A deposit will not be required for the safe-keeping of badges and collar ornaments. Each temporary ranger and/or fire guard, however, must be informed that unless the badge and collar ornaments are returned in good condition, a deduction of $5.00 will be made for each badge which may be lost. This regulation should be particularly impressed upon temporary rangers and fire guards.


Cordovan color, 1-1/2 inches wide, 1/8 inch in thickness, with rectangular nickle-plated buckle.


A belt of leather, 1/8 inch in thickness and 1-1/2 inches wide, embossed with a design similar to the hat band, and having sewed on cinches and a nickel-plated buckle, may be worn if desired.


National Park Service employees required to wear side arms may wear a Sam Browne Belt of cordovan color.


Buttons of three sizes, large for overcoats, medium for coats, and small for pocket flaps, of bronze, as approved by the Director, are prescribed.


Of rolled gold or gilt as approved by the Director shall be worn on coats, overcoats, fatigue jackets, and field shirts. One device shall be attached in a horizontal position to each side of the collar. (NOTE: Draw an imaginary horizontal line across the upper edge of the collar. Place collar ornament in the center of the triangle formed by the imaginary line and the two edges of the collar, the ornament to be worn in a horizontal position).


Indicating length of service as a member of the National Park Service is prescribed as follows:

For each year of completed service a black braid, 1/8" wide and 2" long.

For each five-year period of completed service, a silver embroidered star. After the first star is earned, bars shall be discontinued to indicate service of less than five-year periods.

The Service insignia shall be worn on the cuff of the left sleeve of the coat and overcoat, the lower stripe or star shall be placed 2-1/2" above end of sleeve. When more than one star is worn, they shall be arranged horizontally up to four and triangularly when more than four stars are worn.


Of calf skin, cordovan color, 1-1/8 inch wide, embossed with evergreen twigs and cones and the letters "U.S. N.P.S." and ornamented with two silver Sequoia cones, is prescribed for wear on the hat.


Of calf skin, or same design as the hat band, cordovan color, embossed with evergreen twigs and cones, and the letters "U.S. N.P.S." with silver Sequoia cone fastners, is prescribed as a part of the uniform cap.


For the National Parks and other areas where park employees are assigned to boat operation the following articles of uniform are prescribed for wear by the boat captain, engineer, purser or other employees of the boats.

A.-1 CAP

Cap of the style worn by Chief Petty Officers of the U. S. Navy, of blue material, black visor, black visor strap, black ribbon band and with cap ornament, gold anchors crossed, sewed on front.


Coat, dark blue, double-breasted, four button, similar in style and cut to that of a Chief Petty Officer of the U. S. Navy.

The regulation insignia USNPS shall be worn on the coat in the same manner prescribed for the standard uniform.

The coat shall be worn on all normal occasions, it may be dispensed with only during hot weather when the Superintendent or Custodian authorizes it.


Of same material as coat, two side pockets, two hip pockets, and one watch pocket; similar in style and cut to that worn by the Chief Petty Officer of the U. S. Navy.


Black lace shoes or oxford type, with plain black socks shall be worn with trousers.


A white shirt and collar is prescribed for all occasions.


Four-in-hand barathea silk, full wool lined, black.


Regulation park service.


Same style as the winter uniforms, except they shall be white and of duck or other suitable material. Shoes and socks white; tie black; and shirt white. Cap, white.


Employees designated to wear the National Park Service uniform shall, at their own expense, provide and wear uniforms as herein prescribed. They are responsible for compliance with the material and pattern specifications and for the proper use of their uniforms as required in these regulations and by the superintendent or custodian in charge of their field unit.

Superintendents, custodians, and other supervisory officials shall, by frequent inspection, see that all members of their organizations required to wear uniforms are properly equipped with all necessary articles of clothing and accessories and that they wear the same in accordance with these regulations. They are personally responsible for the type of material used and for the uniformity of all members of their organization.

Where these Regulations provide for a choice of materials or colors, it shall be the duty of the official in charge of a park area to decide which material or color shall be used in order to maintain complete uniformity of dress in each area administered by the Service.

They shall prescribe conditions for the use of the field and winter sports uniforms and for all seasonal changes.

No employee required to wear a National Park Service uniform shall be permitted to remain on duty improperly dressed.

All articles of uniform prescribed herein shall be in accordance with design and specifications approved by the Director.

The National Park Service uniformed personnel shall salute the American Flag with the right hand when it passes.

These regulations cancel and supersede all previously issued Uniform Regulations.

Newton B. Drury,


Last Modified: Wed, Feb 7 2001 11:30:00 pm PDT

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