Wearing Navy Ball Caps: What You Need to Know

Petty Officer 2nd Class Jacques Chenet assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd, stands watch on the bridge wearing a command ball cap on June 16, 2014. Declan Barnes/U.S. Navy

WASHINGTON -- Optional wear of the Navy and command ball caps was authorized Sept. 1 with Navy Working Uniforms (NSU) (Type I, II and III) as well as with flight suits, coveralls, Flame Resistant Variant (FRV) coveralls and the Navy physical training uniform. 

The Uniform Matters Office continues to receive a large number of questions and plenty of feedback on the optional wear of the Navy and command ball caps.

Based on your questions, here are the top five things you need to know about wearing ball caps:

1. The Navy ball cap is a seabag-issued item first received by Sailors at boot camp. Replacements can be purchased using the annual clothing replacement allowance for enlisted E1-E6 personnel. It is considered the property of the Sailor upon purchase. 

2. The command ball cap is organizational clothing procured by the command (meaning that the supply officer buys them using operating target (OPTAR) funds) and issued to the Sailor by their assigned command. Sailors may purchase command ball caps with their personal funds, just as they purchase command badges, patches, belt buckles, and other permissible uniform items. However, since the command ball cap is not a seabag item, Sailors cannot be required to purchase it.

3. If a Sailor is authorized to wear NWUs out in town, he or she may wear the Navy or command ball cap. Ball caps may be worn with civilian clothes provided they do not have rank insignia or command titles reflected (i.e. CO, XO, CMC, CHENG, OPS, DECK LCPO, etc.). Command ball caps may substitute the Navy logo with the command name and logo and a Sailor's last name can be embroidered centered on the back of the cap in command colors. The ball cap is made of standard navy blue wool, synthetic, or blended fabric.

4. Commands may prescribe the eight-point cover with the NWUs for Sailors in formation at a ceremony or formal occasion. In this case, the ball cap shouldn't be worn.

5. The Navy and command ball caps may be worn with the NWU, Navy flight suits, navy blue coveralls, flame resistant coveralls, and the Navy physical training uniform. 

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