U.S. ARMY MAJOR NONSUBDUED CAP RANK INSIGNIA

In 2001, an order by Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki made the black beret the standard Army-wide headgear, resulting in the discontinuation of the Garrison (“overseas”) Cap and the Service Cap, with the rank insignia formerly worn on the Garrison Cap authorized for wear on the black beret (and other organizational issue berets such as the ones worn by Rangers, Special Forces, and Airborne personnel). For Majors, this means centering the gold-colored, metal oak leaf on the beret’s flash. (Similar metal insignia are also worn on the black windbreaker and the black all-weather coat.)
 
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Rank insignia have been placed on headgear at various times in the history of the United States Army. In 1780, George Washington issued instructions that field officers—which includes Majors—were to be identified red or pink cockades worn on their tri-corner cats, and in later years plumes and other ornamentation. Throughout the 19th century, however, rank insignia increasingly was positioned on the sleeves, shoulders, and sometimes collars of uniforms.

Following the introduction of the Overseas Cap (later designated the Garrison Cap) in France during World War I, officers began wearing the rank insignia slightly left of center on the lower portion of the cap, but this was not officially authorized. It wasn’t until the Army issued a revised AR 600-40, “Wearing of the Service Uniform,” that rank insignia was authorized to be worn on the Garrison Cap by officers in August, 1942; a year later the instructions were expanded to include Warrant Officers and Flight Officers.
 
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