A garrison cap (in the United States), field service or wedge cap (in Canada), or forage cap (in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries) is a foldable military cap with straight sides and a creased or hollow crown sloping to the back where it is parted.
It is a variant of the Glengarry, being distinguished by a lack of the tartan or check trim, toorie, and ribbons typical of the original. It has been associated with various military forces from the time of World War I to the present day, and various youth organizations. A convenient feature of this cap is that when the owner is indoors and no coat-hook is available on which to hang it, it can be easily stored (by folding it over the belt or, unofficially, by tucking it under a shoulder strap).
Other terms for this cap in semi-official and or slang usage include garrison cover, flight cap, side cap, overseas cap, envelope hat, piss-cutter cap, chip hat, and cunt cap.
In the Canadian army, the field service cap (French: calot de campagne) is defined by the Canadian Forces Dress Instructions as a "cloth folding or 'wedge cap'...Originally designed for wear during field operations and training, it may now also be worn as an undress cap with full and undress uniforms." The cap is worn as part of the Undress uniform by students of Royal Military College of Canada, and as an optional item by all ranks of Rifle regiments with Ceremonial Dress, Mess Dress, and Service Dress uniforms.
The field service cap was originally adopted Army-wide in 1939, and replaced in 1943 by a khaki beret. The Coloured Field Service Cap was a variant permitted for private purchase and worn only when off duty. These were in the colours of the regiment or corps of the wearer.
In the Canadian air force, the blue wedge cap (French: calot) is authorized for wear with all orders of dress. It is properly worn "on the right side of the head, centred front and back, with the front edge of the cap 2.5 cm (1 in.) above the right eyebrow." Cap badges are worn on the left side, with the centre of the badge 6.5 cm (2½ in.) from the front of the cap centred between the flap and the top seam. The cap worn by general officers is embellished with gold piping. Military police wear a scarlet flash in the front of their wedge caps showing 1 cm (1/4 in.).
Prior to Unification in 1968, the Royal Canadian Air Force wore uniforms similar to those worn by the Royal Air Force, including a blue wedge cap. After 1968, the uniforms of the three services were replaced by a universal rifle-green uniform; the air force, however, was permitted to retain the wedge cap, although in rifle green instead of blue. With the advent of the Distinct Environmental Uniform, the blue wedge cap returned.
The French bonnet de police had a different origin than that of the glengarry. The French headdress originated as a long, pointed bonnet with a pompon at the end of the trailing crown (resembling the English nightcap). The rim of the cap was folded upward. Originally the pompon hung down at the back between the soldier's shoulder blades; subsequently the cap became shorter and the tail hung near the soldier's ear. By the mid-nineteenth century the bonnet de police had become a true flat cap with no trailing crown. Instead the pompon dangled from a short cord sewn onto the rim in front of the bonnet de police, hanging above the soldier's right eye. This style of headdress with a trailing tassel was widely worn by both the Belgian Army and the Spanish Army during the first half of the 20th Century. It is still used by the Spanish Foreign Legion.
When reintroduced for undress or fatigue wear in the 1890s, the French army's bonnet de police had become a plain item of dress without decoration. The colour of this working cap matched that of the tunic with which it was worn (either dark blue, light blue or black prior to World War I; horizon blue from 1915 to 1930; and thereafter khaki). Between 1944 and 1962 however this headdress was worn by most branches of the French Army in a wide variety of colours, which normally matched those of the kepis historically worn by the particular branch or regiment. At the end of the Algerian War the bonnet de police, was replaced by the beret for most units.
In the modern French Army the bonnet de police is still worn by the 1st Regiment of Spahis in the historic bright red of this branch. The bonnet de police is also worn by anti-riot law enforcement units, such as the Gendarmerie Mobile of the French Gendarmerie (at least when in riot control gear) and the CRS of the French National Police. Members of these units may have to change quickly from an ordinary headdress to a helmet, and an easily foldable cap is therefore practical.
The gorrillo, gorro, gorra, chapiri or platano (it is possible this hat is also known as the Isabella which included a tassel) was in common use by both sides during the Spanish Civil War (miliciano and miliciana and assault guards wore them commonly on the loyalist Republican side) and in use by the Francoist forces after the war ended.
In the British Army, a khaki forage cap, described in a 1937 amendment to the Dress Regulations for the Army as "similar in shape to the Glengarry" was introduced as the Universal Pattern Field Service Cap, and saw extensive service during World War II. Since the introduction of the beret, the forage cap has become more of an officer's accessory to be worn in barrack dress (as an alternative to khaki Service Dress cap). They are tailored in regimental colours and have become quite a rarity with the introduction of Combat Soldier '95 uniform (which serves as both barrack and combat dress).
In the Royal Air Force, a blue-gray forage cap (or chip bag hat) of an identical style remains widely worn with both working dress and flying suits. They are predominantly worn by flight crew.
In the U.S. armed forces it is known as a garrison cap, campaign cap (not to be confused with campaign hat, a distinct form of headgear), flight cap, piss-cutter, garrison hat, fore-and-aft cap, envelope cap, overseas cap, or cunt cap and also the flat hat.
When first issued to U.S. "doughboys" in World War I, the hat was called the "overseas cap" as it was only worn by troops in France who were given the French type forage cap as they did not have their campaign hats. The overseas cap could be stored easily when the helmet was being worn. A blue overseas cap was adopted post war by the American Legion. The hat largely disappeared between the wars except for the Air Corps, Paratroopers and Armored Force. The hat was widely issued from 1941 on and lost its 'overseas' connotation. With the replacement of the campaign hat, the garrison cap was given branch of service color piping, as had earlier been the case with the cord of the campaign hat (light blue for infantry, red for artillery, yellow for cavalry etc.). This practice was discontinued when individuals had to purchase a new hat if they were transferred to a different branch of the service (i.e., infantry, armor, quartermaster, et al.) Officers' piping was similarly carried over from campaign hat cords and continues: warrant officers' caps are piped in silver and black, commissioned officers' caps are piped in gold and black, and general officers' caps are piped in gold.
Recently, it has largely been replaced in the U.S. Army by the beret. Until May 2004, it was also part of the initial uniform issue for soldiers who received their Army Green Service Uniform before becoming MOS-qualified, and thus being allowed to wear the standard black Army beret. The green service uniform is scheduled to be obsolete in 2012; details of the blue service uniform (modified from the extant blue dress uniform) are in flux, and no blue service cap has yet been announced.
Usage is common in the U.S. Marine Corps as the headgear when wearing service uniforms (the other option being the bulkier frame-type "barracks cover"). In addition, it is the standard headgear for Marines wearing flightsuits. The Marine officer's garrison cap, unlike those of the Army or Air Force, does not have metallic piping; the only marking that distinguishes it from the enlisted cap is the placement of officer's rank insignia on the right side of the cap. Enlisted garrison caps carry no rank insignia, however all Marine garrison caps carry the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor insignia on the left side.
The garrison cap is still the standard headgear of Army ROTC and JROTC.
A blue flight cap is the most common headgear worn with the US Air Force's service dress or "blues" uniform. The color of the piping varies: solid blue for enlisted; blue and silver braid for company-grade officers and field grade officers, and solid silver for general officers. Officers wear metal rank insignia affixed to the left front of the cap. No other accoutrements are worn.
In the US Navy, the garrison cap was first authorized during World War II, originally for aviators and later for all officers and CPO's. Blue and white versions were discontinued after the war, but garrison caps in khaki and the seldom-seen forest green are still worn with service khakis, aviation greens and flight suits (the green uniform will be phased out at the end of 2010). Enlisted personnel since 2008 have been issued a black garrison cap for wear with the new Navy Service Uniform. It has since been authorized for officers' Service Dress Blue uniform.
The U.S. Coast Guard issues the garrison cap to all service members. The cap is serge and is authorized with Tropical Blue Long, Winter Dress Blue, and Service Dress Blue Bravo uniforms. Regulations for the placement of insignia follow those of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.
In the USSR the Garrison Cap was known as a "Pilotka" (from "pilot" — the cap was a part of air force pilots' uniform in WWI). They were the most common type of hat in the WWII Red Army and were used in summer instead of the winter ushankas.
In Yugoslavia it was widely used in the army after WWII and known as "Titovka", after Josip Broz Tito.
Royal Canadian Air Cadets wear wedge caps in Air Force blue as part of their uniform.
United States Civil Air Patrol personnel wear the US Air Force Flight Cap with distinctive CAP hat insignia. Cadet officers wear rank insignia instead of the CAP insignia. This hat is the standard cover with most of the Air Force style uniforms.
Many uniformed civilian organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America have used garrison caps.
Waiters at many old fashioned style diners also wear garrison caps.
Some commercial air-line employees, particularly flight attendants, wear garrison caps