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Higher-ranking female sailors say farewell to bucket caps

Naval Medical Center Portsmouth officers and chief petty officers gather for a group photo wearing their combination, or ''bucket,'' covers. The last day female officers and chief petty officers could wear the bucket was Oct. 31, 2018.

LAURA A. MYERS/U.S. NAVY

By SCOTT WYLAND | STARS AND STRIPES Published: November 2, 2018

The Navy’s female officers and chief petty officers last week ditched their “bucket” caps, a dress-uniform staple for women of these ranks since World War II.

They now must don unisex covers that resemble men’s dress-uniform head covers.

Women who are E-6 and below will continue to wear the bucket covers, also known as female combination caps, with their four-button dress coats until Dec. 31, 2019, when those coats are phased out.

The bucket covers are no longer produced nor carried at the Navy Exchange.

Some women have expressed sadness about the Navy scrapping a historic piece of military fashion. The bucket cover was created during the first mass enlistment of American women in the military, with more than 350,000 serving during World War II.

“I’m retired but still sad to see the bucket retire,” Peggy Myers Carrano, a former Navy nurse, wrote on Surface Force Atlantic’s Facebook page.

Her comment was below a photo of a gravestone with an inscription: “Here lies bucket cover, July 1942 – Oct. 2018.”

The dress caps are being eliminated as part of former Navy Secretary Ray Mabus’ push to make uniforms gender-neutral to promote equality.

“Uniformity is about ending the way we segregate women by requiring them to wear different clothes,” Mabus said in 2013.

New guidelines also state that enlisted female sailors are only required to wear white hats with jumper-style uniforms. Women E-6 and below can wear white hats or bucket covers with their maternity uniforms until Dec. 31, 2019.

wyland.scott@stripes.com
Twitter: @wylandstripes

 

Female combination, or "bucket" covers, in white and khaki. The last day female officers and chief petty officers could wear the bucket was Oct. 31, 2018.
LAURA A. MYERS/U.S. NAVY

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