U.S. Army Cap, Field (Hot Weather)

Riggers from 173rd Abn Bde (Sep) with pallet for Container Delivery System (CDS) Drop by CV-2 (Caribou) in Vietnam, 29-31 July 1966.  Note rank insignia on cap, the typical usage at the time.  Subdued rank insignia replaced the full color pins in the late 1960
Riggers from 173rd Abn Bde (Sep) with pallet for Container Delivery System (CDS) Drop by CV-2 (Caribou) in Vietnam, 29-31 July 1966. Note rank insignia on cap, the typical usage at the time. Subdued rank insignia replaced the full color pins in the late 1960s.

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Cap, Field (Hot Weather)

In 1958 the Army established a headgear study group to find a replacement for the unsatisfactory Ridgeway Cap. In general, the peacetime conditions after the end of the Korean War had led to an emphasis on appearance rather than value to the soldier under field conditions, and this unfortunate thinking continued in the design of the new field cap.

Major General Thomas M. Rienzi, 1st Signal Brigade Commander 1969-1970
Major General Thomas M. Rienzi, 1st Signal Brigade Commander 1969-1970.

Cap, Field (Hot Weather) label

In January of 1962 the new design was adopted, the "Cap, Field (Hot Weather)" a field cap intended to be used in all climates, not just hot ones despite its name. The new cap was constructed of a polyester/rayon blend OG-106 olive green fabric with a rounded crown and a soft visor, essentially a baseball cap. Unfortunately, when the cap began to be used in Vietnam soldiers quickly found that the so-called "hot weather field cap" was in fact very uncomfortable in tropical conditions due to its heavy material. Furthermore, it proved to be completely useless during the regular monsoon rains of Southeast Asia. In general, this cap was disliked because it was not functional for its intended use and, perhaps worse, troops didn't like the civilian look, often calling it "the beanie" or "pin head". There was one upgrade design change, in 1969, but it did not change things very much. Soldiers either crushed the crown of the cap to improve its appearance or disgarded it altogether in favor of locally made replacements.

The "Cap, Field (Hot Weather)" was replaced by the much more useful and popular "Hat, Jungle" or "boonie hat," although some commanders continued to force their troops to wear the baseball cap. The "Cap, Field, (Hot Weather)" continued in service until it was finally replaced in 1985. The replacement, the Battle Dress Uniform's camouflage field cap, was a return to the M1951 field cap design, worn by the Army before the "Cap, Field (Hot Weather)" baseball cap.

The cap was constructed of six segments of material, with all stitching meeting at the top. Originally, there was a metal ventilation eyelet in each segment, later changed to drop the eyelet in the front two panels. Stitching of Vietnam-era caps was in one double row, on the cap and the visor.

Air Force Cap, Field, Mans

The U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II adopted an olive drab field cap styled like a baseball cap. The "A-3 Cap, Field, Mans" was very similar to the Vietnam-era Army "Cap, Field (Hot Weather)." Further, the USAF had an updated "Cap, Field, Mans" in OG-107 color during the Vietnam period. The primary difference is that the Air Force caps were cotton, not polyester, and therefore much softer, more comfortable, and better looking.

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90th Fighter Squadron celebrating 10,000 sorties during the Vietnam war.  Airman on right wearing Cap, Field, Mans
10,000th sortie of the 90th Fighter Squadron during the Vietnam War. Airman on right wearing "Cap, Field, Mans".