American Major is verbally abused by a Communist POW during the UN POW exchange at Panmunjom, Korea, 8 September 1953. The POW shouted, "You will be tried by the Peoples Court and be shot." The officers are wearing commercial substitute Ridgeway Caps.
Ridgeway Field Cap
The M-1951 Field Cap became a problem for commanders who wanted to see a sharp military appearance with their troops. Although it was comfortable and liked by the soldiers, the cotton M1951 fatigue cap sagged and wrinkled, especially after laundering. It could not hold a shape and was considered slovenly by spit and polish officers. The Cap, Utility, Cotton OG-107 (1 Jul 1952 pattern), introduced in 1952, had exactly the same problems as the M-1951 cap. After the war in Korea became a stalemate, orders were issued demanding that M-1951 caps and OG-107 Caps be pressed and starched and cardboard inserts or other stiffeners be used with the field cap to keep it straight and upright.
In 1953 this policy became official throughout the Army when Chief of Staff Gen. Matthew B. Ridgeway began directing forces to improve their soldierly image. Commercial stiffened and blocked models of the field cap were produced with a "coffee can" shape that met military appearance standards. Ridgeway's leadership on the issue came to be associated with the headgear, hence the name "Ridgeway Cap." The preferred model was the "Spring-Up" manufactured by Louisville Cap Corp. that was sold for $2.00 at the PX. Their ads for the cap had the caption, "The fatigue cap that never shows fatigue."
The Ridgeway "coffee can" cap was not standardized by the Army, but its use became widespread. While the M-1951 fatigue cap and OG-107 cap remained the standard, many soldiers bought the Lousiville "Spring-Up" or other commercial Ridgeway caps during this period. These caps were superseded early in the Vietnam War period by the Cap, Field (Hot Weather) which is styled like a baseball cap.
Soldiers wearing a mix of field caps, loading POL in Korea. The soldier on the left wears what appears to be a commercial substitute "coffee can" cap while the soldier along the left rail of the truck appears to be wearing an unstiffened fatigue cap. The others may have starched or stiffened their cotton caps which still show wrinkles.
In photos, the commercial caps have a well defined, vertical cylinder body with a flat top while the M-1951 caps and OG-107 caps, even if starched and stiffened, will have a domed top with a rounded edge where the top meets the sides.
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