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                    2nd Bde

545th Military Police Company

1st Cavalry Division and Arctic MP BN

Military Headgear worn by Cavalry Military Policemen

A Photo History

As of January 26, 2012

 

Throughout the history of the Military Police in the U.S. Army Cavalry there have been a number of various hats, caps and headgear worn by the Cav MP’s.  This is by no means an official and totally accurate portrayal of all headgear, but has been compiled from photos and information supplied to the author of this publication by members of the 545th MP Company Association.  Since the lineage of the Cav Military Police goes back in time to the old Cavalry Regiments stationed on the western frontier and the old Provost Sergeants within those regiments, we will begin at that juncture.  I hope you enjoy viewing this document as much as I enjoyed putting it all together.

 

 Horse Cavalry

 

 

Dragoon Helmet worn during the Revolutionary War.


This was a soft crested helmet made with horse hair.


Note the Military Police Gold lapels of the jacket whereas the other soldiers from the Continental Army wore tan lapels.

 

 

This is a modern day reproduction of the Dragoon Helmet shown above.

 

 

Model 1881 Dress Helmet was also made from Horse Hair which denoted mounted troops and is what the Regimental Provost Sergeant would have worn on formal occasions.

 

 

In the early 1800’s the standard field cap or Kepi as it was known to foreign armies, was worn by the cavalry troopers in the extended or full position.

 

 

 

 

Later on it was pushed down and pulled slightly forward towards the brim at the top

 

 

Cavalry Troopers wore the Crossed Sabers as shown above on their field caps

 

 

For formal occasions and parades, the early cavalry trooper wore the Shako as shown above

 

 

An early Cavalry Platoon at drill with their Shako’s

 

 

 

 

This Shako’s was worn up until the late 1890’s as evidenced by the wear of one by a Provost Sergeant and his corporal (to the left of the soldier with the rifle at port arms) at the Post Guard House at Fort Bliss with his guard detail.

 

 

 

 

The old cavalry troopers in the line regiments often wore Stetsons of various colors (Blue, Grey and Khaki or Tan) during and after the Civil War they wore exclusively Dark Blue Stetsons and as per Army Regulations of 1876 it became official - Dark Blue Only

 

 

 

This is a water color of A Troop, 10th Cavalry (Buffalo Soldiers) wearing their distinctive Blue Stetsons (courtesy of Texas A&M)

 

 

 

 

The Campaign hat came into vogue in the Cavalry just prior to the Mexican Campaign when General Blackjack Pershing chased Poncho Villa all over Mexico and at that time regimental and/or unit crests were worn on them as seen above.

 

 

Here is a photo of a Provost SGT and his guard detail wearing their campaign hats at the Detainee Camp where Poncho Villa’s captured rebels were held outside Fort Bliss around 1914.  The idea of the peaked crease was to cause the rain and snow to run off instead of sitting in the crease as it had done in the old Stetsons.  These hats became famous with Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders during their charge up San Juan Hill during the Spanish American War and later on when the Doughboys went to Europe during WW I

 

 

Civilians even purchased them as evidenced by this ad in a NY newspaper and they were worn by engineers and construction men all around the country – especially loggers and rail way construction crews.

 

 

 

MP Officer with a campaign hat sometime around 1919/1920

 

 

Unidentified MP Platoon member in front of the Ft Bliss post theater with his Campaign Hat which was still in use at Ft Bliss and in the 1st Cavalry Division until WW II

 

 

 

Fort Bliss

 

Shortly before and during the formation of the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Bliss a lot of new innovations came into use in the Army and uniforms and equipment were among these new items

 

 

MP Platoon member Edward Reed with his mom somewhere in Texas 1944 and he is wearing the (at that time) new Overseas Cap (Khaki version).

 

 

Unidentified MP Platoon member wearing the new Overseas Cap at Fort Bliss about 1942

 

Before the advent of the White Overseas Cap for MP’s, it was common practice to wear a white band around the lower body of the hat - more on that later.

 

 

A new innovation for the US Army was the garrison cap which was used extensively during the First World War and issued to the 1st Cavalry immediately upon its organization at Ft Bliss.  The troops liked this cap as they could tuck it into their belt and not loose it as they did often with the Overseas Cap.  It was affectionately called the C _ _ t cap (a term not to be used in mixed company) because of its appearance from the top.  All you old timers will recall this I’m sure.

 

 

Early on, the MP Platoon, Hqs Troop, 1st Cav Division adopted the MP colors on their Garrison Caps as did the rest of the MP Corps.  This uniform change or modification to the Garrison Cap started with MP Units in Europe during WW I and the trend spread world wide

 

 

 

This style Garrison Cap remained in use until the issue of the new style Army Green uniform and the Garrison Cap for the Green uniform did not have the MP green and yellow braid attached

 

 

 

 

 

 Pacific Theater, WW II

 

 

This Fatigue Cap, worn by 1SG Turner of the old MP Platoon at Camp Drake, Japan or as the lower grade enlisted men called it “The KP Hat” is very similar to the one worn to this day by the Marine Corps and the only difference was that it did not have the Marine Corps Globe and Anchor on it.  This cap was used extensively during WW II and was issued up until the mid 1960’s.  The writer of this document remembers having one issued to him in Basic Training at Fort Ord, California in 1960

 

 

MP Platoon members wearing Fatigue Coveralls and Fatigue Caps to chow in Australia  and you will also note the one soldier on the far left wearing a jungle or Boonie Cap (more on that later).

 

 

 

Most of the time during WW II the Cav MP’s wore steel pots and depending where they were operating they may have had the letters MP painted on the front of the helmet in Yellow Paint.  This young MP is on town patrol just outside Manila

 

 

Members of the MP Platoon in the Philippines wearing their steel pots with MP painted on them in yellow about 1943/44

 

 

MP PLT, HQS Troop, 1CD MP wearing Pith Helmet in Manila 1944

 

 

 

Camp Drake Japan

The Occupation

 

 

Two new innovations came into use in Japan - the Cav MP Yellow Helmet and the Pile Cap as seen in this lithograph above.  The pile cap had been in use as early as the independent Cavalry Regiments on the western plains, but was not an authorized item of issue.  There are many photos of cavalry members at Wounded Knee wearing pile caps made from Buffalo Hide but these were locally procured and paid for by the individual cavalry trooper.  The Army in its wisdom remembered these hats and had a similar item made for issue to all troops in a cold climate.

 

545th MP, PFC Franklin in one of the famous Cav Yellow MP Helmet Liners in Japan

 

 

545th CPL Panzi (who is a member of our assn.) with one of those famous Cav Yellow MP Helmet Liners at Camp Drake Japan circa 1944

 

 

545th MP Co 1SG Andrew Williams in one of the first issue Pile Caps

 

 

 

Korean War

 

 

545th MP Gerald Rowles in Korea about 1951 wearing the standard issue steel helmet with liner and you will note the yellow MP letters as in WW II with the addition of a yellow stripe around the sides and back of the helmet.  PFC Rowles is a member of our association

 

Later on during the Korean War the 545th got a little fancier and added the Cav Patch to the Helmets as seen here with 1LT Haskell and CPL Aguilar.  MAJ Haskell is a member of our association.  Also note “Charlie” the faithful cavalry steed! Charlie is now at the MP Museum.

 

 

Towards the end of the Korean War when the 1st Cavalry began sending troops back to Japan the 545th MP Co began painting their helmets black with the standard red stripe, a Cav patch on one side and 545 on the other.  Of course the large letters MP in the front

 

 

Back to Japan

Camp Crawford

 

Upon return to Japan,  the 545th MP Co utilized the old Cav yellow helmets as used earlier at Camp Drake as seen worn here by CPL Norman Reich who is a member of our association.  Photo taken about 1952

 

 

By 1954, the 545th MP Co was utilizing the Black helmet liner as prescribed by Army regulations which finally got around to spelling out exactly what the requirements for MP helmets were as seen worn here by PFC Gould at Camp Crawford

 

By this time the 1st Cavalry Division also had MP’s at many other locations around Japan and although there were a few variations, the 545th MP Helmet Liners remained basically the same

 

 

 

Hardy Barracks, Japan

 

545th MP’s on patrol outside Hardy Barracks, Japan 1954/55

 

 

 

Camp Drew, Japan

 

CPL Floyd Schuhrke and Sp/3 Kuntz on gate duty at Camp Drew, 1956 wearing their 545th Black Helmet Liners (CPL Schuhrke is a member of our association)

 

 

 

 

Camp Whittington, Japan

 

In 1955 we also see the first use of the cloth style white MP Overseas Cap in Japan as seen worn here at Camp Whittington by an IX Corps MP on the left and that’s PVT Roth from the 545th MP Co on the right.

 

Since the days of WW I, the MP Corps had wanted a white hat for their Military Policemen and while waiting for approval of such headgear, adopted the use of a white band around the Overseas cap as seen here below:

 

 

LTC Norman A. Mott who escorted high level Japanese War Criminals to trial in Manila wearing a white band around his overseas cap circa 1944/45

 

Here is a photo of a member of the famous Highway Patrol or Autobahn Patrol in Germany with a white band around the Overseas cap as worn by CPL Tom Luther in 1949

 

 

 

 

And of course the Garrison Cap was very popular in the Army by now and was even worn on duty as seen here worn by PFC Sessler at Camp Crawford in 1955.  SGT Sessler is a member of our Association

 

 

 

 

 

Back to Korea

Camp Custer

 

Although seen in Europe during WW II, the new Army Field or fatigue Cap was issued to the 545th MP Co in Korea.  There was a previous and earlier issue that had ear flaps folded up inside of it but the 545th got the one w/o the ear flaps.  All units tried to make them look sharper by blocking them with cardboard or plastic.

 

 

545th MP CPL Dunlap seen here with the Fatigue Cap that was purchased in the PX (not Government issue) and worn by soldiers around the world until the 1960’s.  This cap had the blocking built in and you did not have to block it.  Some MP units placed a white band around this cap until it was mentioned that they looked like umpires in a field exercise and that practice was quickly abandoned.

 

The 545th adopted a practice in vogue by most MP units’ world wide at this time and had slip covers for the bill of their Pile Caps made with the letters MP sewn on a dark blue or black background similar to an MP Brassard as shown worn here by PFC Post.  These slip covers were not an item of issue, but were instead made up by the unit tailor or special ordered from Tokyo.

 

 

Joint foot patrol with the Korean MP’s and our very own PFC Breukelman in the photo center wearing the pile cap MP slip cover(s) circa 1963.  1SG Breukelman is a member of our association

 

 

545th MP Sp/4 Lauterbach (photo center) wearing one of the PX style Fatigue Caps and of course his “First Team’s Finest” Brassard

 

 

545th MP’s on the pistol range with their PX purchased fatigue caps

 

 

By this time the Army had finally gotten all the units into the new Army Green uniform which included a new Army Green Garrison and Overseas cap.  Unfortunately, they still retained the old WW II style overcoat with the wool button in liner that was heavy even before it got wet!  The 545th MP on the right is SP/4 Needham who is a member of our association.

 

 

A very young PFC Dick Burch wearing the old style cloth, white MP Service Cap

MSG Burch is a member of our Association

 

 

545th MP SFC Mann wearing his PX style Fatigue Cap while conducting a Physical Security Inspection at Camp Custer, Korea (note also the First Team’s Finest Brassard)

 

 

 

And of course the 545th retained the black helmet liner with the red stripe and Cav Patch with the MP letters and 545th on one side in Korea

 

 

 

 

Vietnam

 

The 545th MP Company still wore the Black helmet liner with the red stripe in Vietnam – even our interpreters wore them.

 

 

 

SGT Mike Hall seen here wears a standard issue steel pot w/cammo cover which was worn during combat operations.  Mike is a member of our association

 

 

SGT Mike Rindfleisch wearing one of our black helmet liners.  Mike is a member of our association

 

 

 

A very popular hat in Vietnam was the Boonie or Jungle Cap.  These could be seen adorned with all sorts of memorabilia and embroidery

 

 

Sp/4 James Barrett wearing a 545th black helmet liner.  Jim is a member of our association

 

 

CPT Sam Reinert wearing a Baseball type Fatigue Cap on the left and 1SG Bill Sykes wearing a Boonie hat on the right, both seated on Santa’s lap in the MP Club in Phouc Vinh RVN 1969.  These baseball caps were not authorized or issued, but everyone wore them from Privates to Generals and you normally had your rank embroidered on them.  Every little village in Vietnam had a little tailor shop where you could have one made up for about $2.00 or a few packs of Marlboros.  1SG Sykes is a member of our association

 

 

 

We even had MP flight helmets for door gunners on our Convoy Escort Flights

 

No historical document concerning headgear from Vietnam would be complete without mention of the Model 1876 Cavalry Stetson.  Sadly to say there are no photos available of Cav MP’s wearing such headgear in Vietnam, but the writer of this document remembers clearly the Division PM, LTC John Pearson wearing one on more than one occasion to meet the PMG who came to visit often during my command of the 545th.

 

The tradition of wearing the “Cav Hat” began in the early days before the Vietnam War.  The 11th Air Assault Division Cavalry Scout Pilots were looking to distinguish themselves from other troops when they adopted the Model 1876 Campaign Hat.  They felt a need to return to the traditions of the Cavalry so long forgotten.  LTC John B. Stockton, Commander 3/17 Cavalry is given credit for establishing the tradition of wearing the Cavalry Stetson, much to the dismay of the Divisions command group!

 

All Cavalry units in the Army now wear the Cavalry Stetson as per the following:

 

Memorandum of Instruction (MOI), on the wear and appearance of the “Cav Hat” (Stetson), Hqs, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas

 

US Army Uniform Regulations, 1876

 

History of the “Cav Hat” Exhibit, 1st Cavalry Division Museum

 

AR 670-1, 1 September 1992, Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia

 

 

 

Fort Hood, Texas

 

Upon return from Vietnam, the 545th MP Co immediately went from combat operations to Post, Camp and Station Operations.  The unit retained the black helmet liners and also were issued the new white vinyl MP Overseas Cap

 

 

 

545th MP David Garcias wearing one of the new white vinyl MP Overseas Caps - Sp/4 Garcias is a member of our association

 

 

545th MP Sp4 Billie Jo Shinall wearing the old style female white MP Service Cap

Billie Jo is a member of our Association

 

 

545th MP’s getting ready to go on duty at Ft Hood in their Black MP Helmet liners. 

David Stout on the left (a member of our association), Mike Tierce – center and David Carlson on the right

 

 

545th SGT’s Martinez and Williams in the barracks about 1974/75 wearing the Grey Stetson authorized at this time.

 

 

 

Sp/4 Juan Rodriguez wearing one of the Grey Stetsons at Fort Hood, Texas 1974

 

 


 

1LT Nance and SFC Hoover receiving the Superior Unit Streamer for the 545th Guideon at Ft Hood, Texas wearing the Grey Stetson in 1973

 

 

Sp/4 Ken McDaniel wearing one of the Grey Stetsons at Fort Hood.

Sp/4 McDaniel is a member of our association

 

I have had more inquiries than I can count as to the background regarding these Grey Stetsons.  After Vietnam the Army was looking for ways to improve the morale in a demoralized Army that had returned from RVN with our country seemingly not very proud of us.  In an effort to raise morale, the Army came up with such memorable programs as VOLAR, “The Army wants to be Part of You!”  Long hair and relaxed facial hair standards, and so on.  Another of the intended morale boosters was called “Distinctive Headgear.” The 1st Cav was the test division for this distinctive headgear, and every brigade, separate battalion and separate company was allowed to select distinctive headgear for their units.  As a separate company, the 545th MP Company was authorized to select such headgear and based on the Provost Marshal’s desire, who at the time was LTC Bill Tinsley, the Grey Stetson was selected.  Why the Grey Stetson you might ask?  As per COL Sullivan, who was the Company Commander of the 545th at the time, there was a TV Commercial for Chrysler Corporation in 1973 that used a rural county Sheriff to recommend the Dodge and he wore a White Stetson and called the Dodge “The Good Guys – just like we here at the Sheriffs Department are” so the request was submitted to Division and it was approved.  The Stetsons were not issued to the MP’s, but were purchased individually as are the Blue Stetsons we wear today.  I hope this clears up any questions remaining?

 

Another item of headgear common in those days was the “issue type” baseball or field cap as seen worn by Sp/4 Warren Otis of the 545th MP Company at Ft Hood.  These hats did not have the sharp appearance of the ones purchased in Vietnam but were comfortable to wear with your fatigues

 

 

Here is a photo of LTC Hudson our Div PM wearing one of the issue ball caps in 1975 at Fort Hood

 

 

 

Yours truly wearing one of the Ball Caps purchased in Vietnam at Camp Drum circa 1971 where I took B Company, 759th MP BN and two platoons of the 532nd MP Co from Fort Dix to quell a student anti war riot on that post

 

 

The main item of headgear for the 545th MP’s issued at Fort Hood, was and still remains the White, Vinyl, MP Overseas Cap

 

 

With the introduction of the BDU’s in the 1980’s the 545th was still wearing the Black MP Helmet Liner at Fort Hood

 

 

And of course the Field Cap was now also Woodland Cammo as seen worn here by CPT Cantrell and 1LT Rios

 

 

By the 1980’s and early 1990’s there was a resurgence of the wearing of the Cavalry Stetson at Fort Hood as seen worn here by 1LT Tom Taylor, 2nd Platoon Leader, 545th MP Company

 

 

CPT Townsend and 1ST Jody George as well as many other members of the 545th MP Co were often seen wearing the Cav Stetson at Fort Hood

 

 

 

Desert Storm

 

 

Kevlar Helmets were “Uniform of the Day” in most cases during Desert Storm for the 545th MP Company

 

 

Although you did see an occasional Boonie Hat as seen here with SGT King, SPC Stitzer and PFC Crain of the 545th MP Company

 

 

 

 

Kuwait

 

The ever popular Boonie Hat is back in Desert Cammo as worn here by SSG John McQueen in Operation Enduring Freedom.  SSG McQueen is a member of our association

 

 

The old steel pot has now been replaced by the new (and much better) Kevlar Helmet as seen worn here by members of the 545th MP Company in 2001

 

 

 

 

Afghanistan

 

SGT Rosado and SPC Vanorder wearing Desert Cammo Field Caps in Afghanistan 2002

 

 

Gone is the old Pile Cap to be replaced by the new Wool Cold weather cap (similar to a Navy Watch Cap)

 

 

 

 

Operation Iraqi Freedom

 

The Desert Cammo Field Cap is very much in use in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom as seen worn here by PFC Christenbach of the 545th MP Company

 

 

1LT Flores and SPC Garza also sport Desert Cammo Field Caps in Iraq

 

 

SPC Walker sports the ever popular Boonie hat in Desert Cammo

 

 

CPT Mularoni and 1SG George sport their Cavalry Pride in Baghdad with their Cavalry Stetsons

 

 

 

MAJ Guieb, LTC Byrd and SGM Green also show their Cav Pride in their Stetsons in Iraq

 

 

SSG Andrews, 2LT Thurman, SGT Bosonac and SGT’s Hammond and Skinner wear their Kevlar helmets in Iraq and they’re ready for anything!  Bring it on!!!

 

 

Then of course we have the new black beret in use today as seen worn here by 1LT Auggie Manelick, 1st Platoon Leader, 545th MP Company, Ft Richardson, Alaska

 

This document has been prepared by CPT Sam Reinert and any corrections, additions or commends should be address to him at –

 

 

Sam Reinert

Founder

545th MP Company Association

(765) 962 4627 phone & FAX

Samreinert1@545thmpcoassn.org