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WAAC Officer’s Cap
Armed Forces History, Division of History of Technology, National Museum of American History

WAAC Officer’s Cap

Catalog #: RSN 81709W60    
Credit: Armed Forces History, Division of History of Technology, National Museum of American History

Dimensions / Weight

Dimensions: 4" H x 7.5" W x 9.5" D

Physical Description

The winter cap, shown here, was generally made from a blend of wool, cotton, silk or artificial fabric, called barathea, in a dark olive drab color to match the winter uniform jacket. The cap has a close fitting body, a rigid visor, and a narrow front strap resting on the visor and secured at both sides by small plastic buttons embossed with the WAAC eagle. A summer cap of the same design was made from a light cotton khaki colored fabric. The eagle hat insignia was specially designed for the WAAC. The eagle was made of a gold colored metal and was approximately 2.4" wide by 1.9" high.

General History

This cap was designed specifically for the members of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, and was different from that worn by the members of the Army Nurse Corps. The cap was worn with the winter uniform jacket and skirt. When the early design proved inadequate, additional stiffening was added to the visor and sides, and the composition of the summer cap was changed to make it easier to clean. As the war progressed and shortages eased, plastic buttons were replaced with gold colored metal buttons. The unique designs of the caps for both Waacs and nurses makes photographs of these women easy to recognize.

Enlisted women wore the same hat, but the hat insignia was a smaller WAAC eagle centered on a gold colored metal disk 1.5" in diameter.

When the Women's Army Corps (WAC) replaced the WAAC in September 1943, the basic cap design was unchanged; however, the WAAC eagle was replaced with the standard army hat insignia showing the Coat of Arms of the United States.

This cap was not a popular uniform item. It was difficult to pack, transport, or store, was susceptible to crushing, and was difficult to block. As a practical matter, once introduced, the folding overseas (or garrison) cap was the preferred head gear. By the end of the war the cap was dropped altogether

This cap was often unofficially called the “Hobby Hat” after Colonel Oveta Culp Hobby, the first director of the WAC. It was also known by less complimentary names such as the "cheese box." The original WAAC eagle was often referred to as the “buzzard.”


Keywords

War: World War II
Service: Army
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