United States Navy Uniform Regulations refer to it simply as “Cap, Combination, White” in the list of uniform components for Chief Petty Officers (CPOs). For the wearer, however, the white peaked hat is much more than a mandatory piece of headgear: It symbolizes reaching a career milestone and, along with it, being given significantly more responsibilities and respect.

Unlike their Coast Guard counterparts who have worn a combination cap since basic training, Navy personnel being promoted from Petty Officer First Class to Chief Petty Officer (E-6 to E-7) will be donning the white hat for the first time—and never again wearing the “Dixie Cup” cover they’ve grown used to over the years. In fact, one of the ceremonies that’s evolved to become part of the informal CPO “initiation” rites is the “burial” of the Dixie Cup in anticipation of officially wearing the white CPO cap for the first time. Actually, "immolation" is a more accurate term, since the up-and-coming CPOs typically toss their "squid lids" into a fire pit.

The white CPO cap is a required component of both Blue and White versions of the Service Dress, Full Dress, and Dinner Dress Uniforms, as well as the Summer White uniform; it’s also mandated for wear with the Dinner Dress Blue/White Jacket is outer garments are worn. The CPO insignia of a fouled anchor and the “USN” abbreviation is worn on a black band placed on the crown of the cap.
Cap Device

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