Preserving San Diego's Naval Heritage


CPO Cap Device

Home| About | With Your Help | Contact |


Home ] Up ]

Information on the Chief Petty Officer Hat Device. Be patient as this page loads 51 images of hat devices. Click on an image to see a larger view. By the time you finish reading through the following information the images should be loaded.

CPO Hat devices were first mentioned in the 1897 Navy Uniform Regulations and described the device as "The device shall be the letters U. S. N. in silver upon a gilt foul anchor". All of the following entries are from Navy Uniform Regulations unless specifically stated otherwise.

- 1905  "The device shall be of metal, consisting of the letters U S N in silver upon a slightly inclined gilt foul anchor".

- 1922  "Cap device shall be a brass foul anchor, gold plated,  1 5/8 inches in length overall and 1 inch across and outside of flukes. The letters U.S.N. to be of sterling silver 3/8 inch high and fastened about midway on the shank of the anchor. The cable to be made of twisted brass wire, gold plated. Devices to be fitted with a hinged pin and catch of brass and soldered to the back of the device.

- The device again changed in 1941, it is not listed in the uniform regulations but in the uniform specifications. The device changed from the twisted wire to chain. This is yet unsubstantiated as we have not been able to find a copy of the uniform specifications. The information comes from collectors who have collected and sold the devices for more than 30 years.

- 1944 Bureau of Naval Personnel Circular Letter No. 97-44.

1.    The Secretary of the Navy has approved a miniature chief petty officer cap device approximately three-fourths the size of the present cap device, and that part of paragraph 1 of reference (b) pertaining to chief petty officers will be changed to read as follows:

  "Chief petty officers shall wear a miniature chief petty officer cap device on the left side of the cap, 2 inches from the front edge".

-  In the 1947 Uniform Regulations the U.S.N. was specified to be in a semi-circle.

- 1951 Navy Uniform Regulations changed the the USN to a straignt horizontal line but was actually effected 31 March 1944.  The 1951 reads as "Shall consist of gold color metal foul anchor 1-3/4" long over-all, 5/8" wide at the stock, 1-1/8" wide at the flukes and other dimensions proportionate. Silver block letters "USN," each  letter 7/16" high and 5/16" wide, shall be superimposed horizontally on the shank of the anchor, mid-way between the flukes and stock. (1) It shall be attached to the mount of the combination cap band with the unfouled arm of the stock to the wearer's right.

Notes from 1954 Uniform Board

Extracts from the “AGENDA of Permanent Naval Uniform Board Meeting No. 25”
held Tuesday 26 January 1954 in Room 2401 Annex.

2.  Chief Petty Officer Cap Device

     Recommendation:  That Uniform Regulations be modified to permit utilization of present stocks of CPO cap devices with the “USN” in a horizontal arc, in addition to the presently prescribed device with the “USN” in a horizontal straight line.

     Brief:  Recommended by BuSandA (enclosure C). When the 1951 Uniform Regulations were published, the previous specification that the “USN” should be in “a horizontal arc” was changed to “a horizontal straight line.” Approval of this recommendation would permit utilization of present stocks of CPO cap devices and a resulting economy and avoidance of waste. Future procurement, upon depletion of present stocks, would be of the presently prescribed device.

Extracts from Minutes of the Permanent Naval Uniform Board Meeting No. 25 - 26 January 1954

2. Chief Petty Officer Cap Device

The Board concurred with the recommendation of the Chief of Bureau of S & A to permit utilization of present stocks of chief petty officer cap devices with the “USN” in a horizontal arc, in addition to the presently prescribed device for reasons of economy and prevention of unnecessary waste. Future procurement of this item to conform to presently prescribed device.

21 22 23 24 25 26 31 32 33
34 35 36 41 42 43 44 45 46
51 52 53 54 55 56 61 62 63
64 65 66 71 72 73 74 75 76
81 82 83 84 85 86 91 92 93
Controversies  -

Was there ever rope (or line depending on definition) used on the hat devices? Pins 65 and 73 demonstrates that there were. Sorry John I can't give you either one, as soon as I get one more I'll give it to you.

Pin 92 more than likely was not an authorized US Navy device. The star in the blue field represents a family member serving in the military service during WWII.

Pin 93 is from a Senior Chief that retired in 1975. There has been debate whether the Senior Chief devices were ever varied from today's pin. Will here's proof that they were different, at least for a while. There is also a matched set of collar devices.

Why does one ray of the star point downwards?

(Answer removed from 1 July - 16 September each year.)

The backs of the pins look like this.


11 12 13 14 15 16      
Pin 11 shows the type of catch used on pins between 1897 and 1941.

Pin 12 is from the late 40's and early 50's. They were produced late in WWII.

Pin 13 shows the catch that was instituted in 1941.

Pin 14 shows the second type of screw mount after the catch was eliminated in 1951. The first screw mount had both post with threads the newer mount has a sharp point at the top and threads on the bottom post. The threaded fastner is from one of the devices with two threaded post.

Pin 15 shows the back of an "Acid Test" pin. We have not been to locate any information on these "Acid Test" pins.

Pin 16 is the original Senior Chief Hat device with the top post being sharp and the bottom post with threads. This is the same kind of mount in use today. Also note the H-24-N on the device. This is the Navy specification number that manufactures must abide by to manufacturer the pins. V-21-N is the specification is found on today's devices. 


CPO Collar Devices

CPO Collar devices were introduced in the 1959 Uniform Regulations.

Senior and Master Chief were not authorized collar insignias until 1960.

Collar Devices-web.jpg (65744 bytes)Chief and Master Chief collar devices have remained consistent in their appearance since their introduction. There have been many discussions concerning where the star was located on the Senior Chief collar device.

This example shows three different collar devices.
The one on the left was purchased in 1961, the middle one was purchased in 1982 while the one on the right was purchased in 1993.
Please note that the style of the pin on the right has been continuously available since the inception of the E8/9 collar devices and pins similar to the left and middle ones have appeared sporadically from 1960 to the 1990's, both on the east and west coast.




Copyright © 1999-2006