Aug 16, 2023
Why do Missouri state troopers wear those hats?
Photo courtesy Associated Press by: Brooklynn Norris Posted: Jul 6, 2023 / 04:17 PM CDT Updated: Jul 7, 2023 / 04:28 PM CDT MISSOURI — It’s a hat not just privy to Missouri State Highway Patrol
Photo courtesy Associated Press
by: Brooklynn Norris
Posted: Jul 6, 2023 / 04:17 PM CDT
Updated: Jul 7, 2023 / 04:28 PM CDT
MISSOURI — It’s a hat not just privy to Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers – U.S. military instructors, various law enforcement, border patrol, scouts, and park rangers (even Smoky the Bear) all don the classic campaign hat. Often the wide-brimmed straw or felt hat with a tall crown pinched in four corners has served as indication of rank and authority. Militaries throughout the world continue to issue the cap as part of their uniform.
The campaign hat has an unexpectedly long history with origins drawing back to the 1840s in the far west. Mounted troops (soldiers on horseback) sported campaign hats for their practicality instead of the original caps issued by the military. The hat was designed after the sombreros Mexican vaqueros wore to weather the hot sun by casting a shadow over the neck and shoulders. The tall peak with a flat brim was also ideal for allowing water to shed. Additionally, it was sometimes referred to as a “Montana-peak” cap for its popularity among cowboys and men in the American West.
The name was derived after regulations were put in place for a black felt version of the hat, which was sometimes decorated with campaign cords indicating the type of serviceman the wearer ranked. The precursor hats were softer than their stiff counterparts today.
During World War I, an olive drab campaign hat was issued for American soldiers. It was also commonly referred to as a “Stetson” for being manufactured by the Stetson hat company during this time. However, the hat did not survive during World War II. It was later reestablished within the military for its rich history in the late 1960s. From the 1800s to the mid-1900s the campaign hat was utilized globally.
An order in 1940 demanded all Missouri trooper hats be pointed at the crown. The campaign cover finally became a standard worn year-round in 1954, often with a tilt some say is a nod to its rooted past.
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