Garrison Cap in WW II

The Garrison Cap originated during World War I. The French soldiers wore a cloth cap that was the inspiration for the U.S. Army "overseas cap" adopted during World War I, but that cap was not used inside the U.S. By the late 1930s the cap was altered for use by both officers and enlisted men, and piping was added to indicate the branch of service. Since it was used in the U.S. as well as overseas, it became known as the Garrison Cap.

Two officers in wool and khaki garrison caps
Two officers in wool and khaki garrison caps.

Today in WW II: 17 Aug 1940 Italian armed forces under Marshal d'Armata Rodolfo Graziani invaded and occupied British Somaliland, threatening American Red Sea merchant shipping and British access to India.  More 
17 Aug 1942 Raid on Makin Atoll in the Gilbert Islands, led by Lt. Colonel Evans F. Carlson, USMC.
17 Aug 1943 RAF attack (Operation Hydra) on German V-2 rocket facility at Peenemünde demolishes the factory. Over 500 Allied bombers dropped 1600 tons of explosives and 280 tons of incendiaries.
17 Aug 1943 First Quebec Conference [QUADRANT] held between British, Canadian and United States governments [August 17-24].
17 Aug 1943 Just hours after the last German units evacuated the city, elements of the US 3d Infantry Division's 7th Infantry Regiment enter Messina, Sicily, the final objective of Operation Husky.
Visit the World War II Timeline for day-by-day events 1939-1945! See also WW2 Books.

Types of World War II Garrison Cap

During World War II the Garrison Cap was widely used by all services in wool OD and in khaki.

Cap, Garrison, OD -- wool serge, no piping
Cap, Garrison, OD -- wool serge, no piping.

Garrison Caps were produced in dark OD wool as well as in khaki to go with the khaki cotton summer uniform. There was also the "Cap, Garrison, Wool, Elastique, OD, Dark, Officers". Officers garrison caps were worn with officer's insignia pinned near the front on the left side (except until mid-1942, before which unit insignia could be worn). The USMC had its own garrison cap, similar in style to the Army version but in USMC forset green color

Garrison Cap Piping Colors

The piping on the Garrison Cap was referred to as the "hat cord" or "braid" which were either pure colors or a base color with a second color "piped" into the cord. According to FM 21-100 Soldier's Handbook, dated 11 December 1940, the hat cord colors for the arms and services were:

Cap, Garrison, OD -- wool serge, US Army Air Corps  piping
Cap, Garrison, OD -- wool serge, US Army Air Corps piping.

Service Branch Piping Color
Air Corps Ultramarine blue piped with golden orange
Cavalry Yellow
Chemical Warfare Service Cobalt blue piped with golden orange
Coast Artillery Corps Scarlet
Corps of Engineers Scarlet piped with white
Field Artillery Scarlet
Finance Department Silver Grey piped with golden yellow
Infantry and Tanks Blue
Medical Department Maroon piped with white
Military Police Yellow piped with green
Ordnance Department Crimson piped with yellow
Quartermaster Corps Buff
Signal Corps Orange piped with white

In 1940, with the issuance of the Dark Elastique garrison cap, gold braid was authorized for general officers, gold/black for other officers, and silver/black for warrant officers. Other piping was changed during the war as the Army changed organization. The Armored Force separated from Infantry and adoped green with yellow piping as its colors, and Transportation Corps was established with Crimson and Gold (hard to distinguish from Ordnance).

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