U.S. Marine Corps Visor Hats

The Marine Corps officer’s uniform in World War I (1914-1918) included several types of visor hats of the pattern regulated in 1912, also known as the "bell crown" hat. The first was a dress blue hat, made of dark navy-blue cloth. The hat had a black mohair hat band, a bamboo stiffener on the inside, and four vent eyelets around the crown. Featured on the front was n eagle, globe and anchor (EGA) cap badge, the traditional insignia of the Marine Corps, along with a chinstrap was attached by a pair of Marine Corps side buttons. A white top version of the dress hat was also worn.1 Summer and winter service hats were slightly different. The summer hat was made of khaki cloth to go with the summer uniform and the winter hat was made of green cloth to go with the winter uniform. Officer’s visor hats had embroidery on the visor as well. Two rows of oaks leaves distinguished generals, while a single row distinguished senior ranked officers. The generals visor hat also had an oak leaf wreath around the hat’s cap badge.2 These hats continued to be worn until regulations modified the hat in 1922, making the crown larger and more sloped. The 1922 pattern cap was worn in World War II (1939-1945) and remained largely unchanged throughout the Cold War (1947-1991).3

Enlisted men wore similar hats to the officers. The enlisted dress hat, carrying the same specifications as the officers dress hat, was made of dark blue cloth and included eyelets, a stiffened body, and a Marine Corps cap badge. The enlisted dress hat, however, did not feature embroidery on the visor like the officer version. Enlisted men also had khaki and green service hats. These were again similar to the ones worn by officers, but less ornate. Instead of having three separate hats like an officer, however, enlisted men had a single frame that they fitted three covers over. This way only one hat frame was purchased, reducing the cost of uniforms for enlisted men. All of the service hats featured the same Marine Corps cap badge as the officers.4 These hats also evolved in the same way as the officer's versions, from the 1912 to 1922 patterns and beyond.

Today, the Marine Corps only wears two types of visor hats, a dress white hat and a green service hat.5 All officer visor hats in the Marine Corps had what was called a Quatrefoil attached to the top of the hat. This was a tubular braid embroidered directly into the crown. The Quatrefoil dates back to the American Revolution (1775-1783), where Marine units tied ropes into knots on the top of their caps in order to tell friend from foe. Since then, the tradition has always been a part of the Marine Corps and continues on to this day.6

Visor Hat

Samuel Grubb