The Campaign Hat



Few Marines pass through the fields of Parris Island or San Diego Recruit depots who don't dream of one day wearing the prestigious campaign hat. Drill Instructors didn't always wear the campaign hat, however.

The campaign, or 'field' hat was first used in the late 1800s. The original design was more egg-shaped than the current hat, but not significantly different. Officers wore the same hat as enlisted men did, with the addition scarlet and gold cords with acorns encircling the crown.

In 1943, its use was ceased, accept by shooting teams who liked the broad brim. It wasn't until the summer of 1956 that General Pate authorized their use by drill instructors. The original '56 issue hats were manufactured by the J.B. Stetson Company. Male Marine Drill Instructors have continued to wear the campaign hat since 1956. However, female DIs have only worn the hat since 1996. Prior to this, they were issued scarlet shoulder cords to show their authority.

The Army, which copied the Marines' hat, currently wear the "This We'll Defend" drill sergeant's cap badge, whereas Marine DIs wear the emblem of the Corps.