Army Stetson Hat: Facts, Regulations, Information and History

Today, I’d like to take a few minutes and educate you about the Army Stetson hat.

There’s nothing quite like the Army Stetson hat. It really stands out and captivate people’s attention, especially compared to the unattractive beret. While I never served as an armor officer, or in a cavalry unit, during my 15+ years in the Army, it would have been an honor to do so.

The purpose of this article is to share the information I’ve compiled online about the Army Stetson hat. Keep in mind, there are a lot of things I don’t know about it as well. A lot of the information about it is secretive and varies from unit to unit. At the end of this post, I would appreciate any input you might have about it.

army stetson hats

The History of the Army Stetson Hat

The Army Stetson hat has a long and proud tradition in the Army.

The Cavalry stetson was the headgear typical of cavalrymen during the late 18th century into the 19th century, including the Indian Wars and the Civil War. Before John B. Stetson, for whom the hat is named, introduced the Boss of the Plains hat in 1865, troopers wore hats in a similar style, but quickly adopted the Boss of the Plains as an unofficial standard. Source.

The Details of the Army Stetson Hat

The primary purpose of the hat is to promote esprit de corps among the cavalry troopers, similar to how soldiers serving in airborne units get to wear the maroon beret.

What’s on the hat? Who gets to wear it? What is it all about? If you’re wondering about the answers to any of those questions, here is what I found on the official 1st Cavalry Division website.

The “Cav Hat” is a standard black Cavalry hat, Stetson or other appropriate brand, with a 3 inch brim and a black leather chin strap. The chin strap is fastened to the hat cord and goes through the brim. The chin strap is worn behind the wearer’s head unless mounted. When mounted the chinstrap may be worn under the chin to maintain the hat’s position on your head and keep it from falling off. If your “Cav Hat” does not have a chin strap, it is just a black hat commonly referred to as a “cowboy hat”.

Hat cords are worn and represent the rank of the wearer. General officers wear solid gold cords, field and company grade officers wear black and gold hat cords, warrant officers wear black and silver hat cords and enlisted Troopers wear Cavalry yellow hat cords. The hat cords should be adjusted so that the acorn on the ends of the cord comes to the edge of the brim. Cords may be knotted if the wearer wishes. While many refer to the knots in the cords as “combat knots” there is no documentation available to support this idea. The Division MOI prohibits any other type of hat cords for those Troopers currently on active duty with the 1st Cavalry Division.

Normally the branch insignia of the Cavalry, crossed sabers, are worn on the front along with the rank of the wearer. The rank is worn above the branch insignia evenly spaced. Both are centered on the front of the hat. Regular sized Distinctive Unit Insignia (DUI), commonly referred to as unit crests, or miniatures of your unit are traditionally put on the back of the “Cav Hat”. Additional items like a CIB or CMB may also be placed on the “Cav Hat” along with reunion pins or other items if you are a Veteran. Some of the “Cav Hats” worn by our Veterans are festooned with numerous pins, miniature medals and other items. Active Duty Troopers assigned to the First Team must follow the guidelines of the MOI.

Who Can Wear an Army Stetson Hat?

This seems to be the million dollar question. The Army Stetson hat is not an authorized headgear in the Army, as per AR 670-1, but cavalry units are allowed to wear these hats at the discretion of the unit commander (normally squadron level). Basically, the wear of these hats is considered a tradition among cavalry units.

After doing some research online, here’s what others were saying.

The stetson isn’t really earned. It is commonly accepted that if you belong to a cavalry unit that you can usually wear the stetson with your appropriately colored acorns. What is earned are your combat knots on the acorn rope. Also, spurs are earned via deployments with the Cav or Spur Rides. Source.


You will wear the Stetson only when assigned to a Cavalry unit, which includes Cavalry Squadrons within all BCT formations, Cavalry Regiments, and the 1st Cavalry Division. There are two types of Spurs, Silver and Gold. Silver Spurs are earned by completion of a Spur Ride event with your unit, and Gold Spurs are earned as “Combat Spurs” by completing a deployment with a Cavalry Organization. Source.

They are all unofficial awards, and are governed by local policies and not by Army Regulations.

When is it Worn & Who Can Wear One?

Troopers in Cavalry units wear their Army Stetson hat in place of their patrol cap or beret. It is normally worn during official functions, such as ceremonies, parades, dining ins and dining outs. Traditional, Army authorized headgear is normally worn during day-to-day operations.

The hat must be earned, normally at a Spur Ride. During the spur ride, troopers can earn their Stetson and spurs by completing a series of mental, physical and leadership tests. Each Cavalry Squadron does their own Spur Ride, and has their own customs and procedures for earning the hat.

From the research I found online, anyone can earn a Stetson hat, as long as they are assigned to a Cavalry unit. In other words, you don’t have to be a scout or tanker. The Supply Sergeant, maintenance personnel and administration folks also qualify for it as well, once they complete a spur ride or serve with the unit in combat.

Each Stetson hat will have different colors (cords) based upon the Soldier’s MOS or Branch. They are mostly worn by senior NCOs and officers, but junior enlisted can wear them too. Commanders in cavalry units can use their discretion as to when their soldiers can wear their Stetson.

Enlisted soldiers wear a yellow hat cord, Warrant Officers wear a silver or black cord and commissioned officers wear a gold and black cord.

Soldiers wear cross sabers on the front along with their rank insignia (aviators wear their wings) and on the back, soldiers can have their airborne, air assault or other related pins. What accessories go on the Stetson, and how they are worn, varies greatly by unit.

Where Can You Buy One?

When you search online, these hats cost anywhere from $150 to $300, plus additional money for the accessories that go with it. Places to buy your Army Stetson hat include:

  1. Clothing and Sales (on the base)
  2. Amazon
  3. eBay
  4. Order Online

Questions About the Army Stetson Hat

What you read above is what I found out online about the Army Stetson hats. There’s still a lot of information I don’t know about them. Here are some questions I don’t know the answers to:

  1. Can any trooper participate in the Spur Ride?
  2. Do troopers have to participate in the Spur Ride, if for some reason they don’t want to?
  3. Once you’ve earned the Stetson hat, can you still wear it when you are no longer assigned to a Cavalry unit?
  4. Which types of Cavalry units are eligible for it?  For example, could a Reconnaissance Troop in an Infantry Brigade wear a Stetson hat?
  5. Can Stryker Units wear them?

Any information that you know and could share with our website visitors would be very helpful.

Final Thoughts

The bottom line is that Army Stetson hats have a proud tradition in the U.S. Army. Although I never got the experience to serve in a Cavalry unit myself, I can’t think of anything more exciting than earning the right to wear one of these hats.

What are your thoughts? Do you have any information you can share with our readers? Leave a comment below to let us know what you think. I look forward to hearing from you.

stetson cavalry hat

If you’re looking to order a Stetson Hat, like the one you see above, you can do so here on Amazon.

Suggested Reading
  1. The Army Cavalry
  2. Army Drill Sergeant Hat
  3. 7th Cavalry Regiment
  4. 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment
chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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94 thoughts on “Army Stetson Hat: Facts, Regulations, Information and History”

  1. Richard Sanchez

    Hello all. I was 68m10 served Btroop 2/10 ACR Ft. Ord 80-83. Do I qualify to wear the stetson?

  2. I was attached to 1st Cav 1/1 and 1/3 in 2004 in Iraq. My MOS is 63B light wheel vehicle mechanic, but was made a gunner on top of a hum Vee. I was in quite a few fire fights in Sadr City and I was there with the troopers and shed blood and sweat next to them. Was even there when we lost some to enemy fire and IED’s. I never went back to my unit the entire deployment the 1st Cav troopers requested I stay with them. I was awarded the CAB by 1st Cav and purple heart. I ware that combat patch proudly I even tattooed the 1st cav patch on my arm. I know I was never cav as an MOS just served my deployment with them as if I was. I have been reluctant to even think about waring a Stetson but to honor those men that went before would be nice. I been out of the Army for some time now served 16 years total. Can I ware that Stetson and if so what cords and such can I and should put on it.

    1. What does your deployment orders say? Were you attached as an individual or did you deploy with your company? If you were attached directly to the Cav unit and served in combat with them, you should be able to wear the Stetson. However, I would simply call the unit for guidance on that. Bottom line, paperwork will matter on this issue.

  3. I have two , I have multiple braids , and I have crossed Saber pins for the 1st of the 9th . To me they were as extreme as Seals , Rangers and Berets . I am thanked for my service but never mislead looking for aquolaides or glory , I say no please forgive me , I did not serve but wear as a tribute to who I hold in high regard. I understand the difference but everyone wearing a sport team apparel play for that team , no they are fans . So there can’t be fans of the Greatest Military and you can’t pick your team , well my team is the 1st or the 9th Air Cav , as far as I know the deadliest squadron of Air Calvary . I’m not looking for glory I’m paying respect . Isn’t imitation the greatest form of flattery I have much more Army appearal all centered around the Calvary and mostly the Air Cav . I have red many books , books by helicopter pilots of the 1 of 9 all about Air Cavalry and seen incredible documentaries with archived footage and interviews of the members of the Cav . I’m not looking for glory , praise or anything , I wear what I assembled to tribute . If I knew then what I know now God knows I would be a Calvaryman…

    No disrespect

    In conclusion since these “athletes” became too tired to stand at the beginning of the game they play in for Our National Anthem , I have not watched one professional , and most college . I have now become a fanatic for the US Military , my team Air Cav

  4. Tommy Sandman

    I was 91Alpha (medic) in 1st CAV for three years, my job was senior medic for 1st Battalion 5th CAV (mechanized), I was mounted on Armored Personnel Carrier, in charge of medical supplies, radio, map while attached to Delta Company 1/5 CAV (tankers/scouts). Went National Training Center rotations 3×30 days as well as 50 days REFORGER (87) when Berlin Wall was still up. I slept, ate, trained with CAV three years not to mention being with CAV armor on night gunnery, river crossing, railload Abrams, Bradleys, APCs. We didn’t have any berets, spurs, or Stetsons. Am I eligible to wear CAV Stetson?

    1. William Hagan

      Authorized is a strong word. No one is authorized to wear a stetson under AR670-1. I do not believe you may wear one. I was a 91B combat medic with 3rd ACR. I earned my silver spurs & stetson during a spur ride and still have the plaque. I earned my gold spurs during deployment. I ended service as a cavalry medic. You will have to pry that stetson from my cold dead hands. I wear it to bed along with the spurs, even to this day: 22 years after I exited service.

  5. Hey all,
    Would it be ok for a civilian who has not served to wear the Cav hat from Apocalypse Now?
    I have seen online were you can buy a nice replica.
    I would like to wear it just out and about with normal clothes, just because you like the look of it and the connection to the movie.

    1. I would just make sure there are no cords or insignias on it. Obviously don’t wear anything else military themed either. It’s not wrong to wear either way just don’t attract attention by looking like a stolen valor guy.

  6. Was SSG supply 227th in Nam 1968 . SFC and Warrant Officer HHC Ft Hood. 1963-1985 retired.
    Choice on wearing gold cord or silver and black?

  7. I went to basic trainnig in Ft Knox KY, my trainnig unit was 15th Cavalry Regiment. I was in the National Guard and my Unit there was A Troop 2nd squadron 101st Cavalry. My question is can I wear my basic trainning unit creat and my National Guard unit crest or just my unit crest fron the Guard. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

  8. Served with 1/1 11th ACR on the East German Border in ‘72-73. (SGT-11D40). The officers received spurs and stetsons after 30 days but nothing for the enlisted. Was this a squadron commander decision? Also, how was border deployment viewed? Not combat and not garrison duty. I would guess the same issue for troopers on the Korean border.

    Also served in Vietnam but not with a Cavalry unit.

    1. That is that old school behavior where officers were and still are given awards and other things while enlisted were left out.
      Us troopers can not control what awards we should have but did not receive.
      I would fully support you wearing a Stetson you rightfully earned!

  9. Someone please explain how to do combat knots. I didn’t know I earned the Stetson till long after return from deployment and retirement. Is it a knot per deployment with CAV, or knot for exact combat deployment with or without CAV, once the Stetson has been earned? Where does it go on the cord?
    Thank you.

    OIF 2005, 11th Cavalry
    Convoy Commander

    1. Just one knot on each side closest to the center of your rayon (the sliding piece both chords go to) you may lose length excess of the cord that dangles, depending on how large your hat size is.

      Just one knot on each side will display your “deployment/ combat” knots.
      Pins go on the back.
      How I display my pins is I put the deployment side to the right and units I was in on the left. You can wear your combat action/infantry/cavalry badge or any other devices above your unit crests.
      Your gold spurs should do most of the talking.

      The cord will go under then over and through the loop you create so that the knot will be on top, and your excess will be on bottom.

      Hopefully this will be helpful to you sir,
      – A blackhorse trooper

  10. I have a question regarding if my Army Service qualifies me as a 1st Calvary Stetson soldier. My MOS is 13E20 Fire Direction Control Field Artillery South Vietnam. My first assignments was with the 199th Light Infantry Brigade, C Battery Field Artillery (combat assignment) 10 months. The 199th went into stand down and I was transferred to 1st Cavalry H/H Battery 2/40 Artillery Battalion FDC with (limited combat assignment) reassigned Army Separation Station Oakland, CA February 1971.

    1. I would say that since you were not a 19D and did not complete a Spur ride, then you do not qualify.
      We did not allow non 19D to wear a Stetson/spurs unless they were in combat with us or they successfully passed the 3 day spur ride.
      If you were with a CAV unit and were engaging the enemy right next to them, then you qualify.

  11. I was assigned to delta btry 4/5ADA 1st cav division at ft hood texas. Am I allowed to wear the cav Stetson. My unit was in desert storm.

    1. Good question. My first deployment was Desert Shield&Storm. I joined up in the army back in 85 and I got out in 2008. This whole cav hat thing came around after my day. I bought one years ago just to put it by my shadow box then wouldn’t you know it its now a thing. How about that. If your a retired veteran who cares. Buy one online and sport it bubba. If anyone has a problem with it push you fust into there skull. 💥👊 👍😝 Once cav always cav brother.

      Sergeant First Class Matthew “Hat” McPadden

      1. Sorry, you’re not authorized to wear that unless you got orders for it. I wish you would try to push your fist into someone’s skull. Stay in your lane, you’re not in the Army now and you mean nothing.

        CSM Brooks

        1. CSM Brooks – Something I learned at a young age: Don’t Be A D*ck!
          Even the gentleman above is “not in the Army now”, if he served 23 years, and deployed, it still means something. In my 26years of service (1966-1992 – Vietnam through Desert Shield/Desert Storm), I’ve never told someone “you mean nothing”! (Oh, I may have called people a LOT of things – typically when they’ve done something stupid – but I’ve never been an a**hole unless someone actually DESERVED it!)
          And at 75 years old, I may not be able to “push my fist into someone’s skull”, but I can still find OTHER ways to put the odds in my favor! ;)

        2. CSM Brooks,

          I was in DS/DS and in that theater I was promoted to Sgt E-5. I received my spurs certificate and was authorized to wear my spurs whenever I was in my class A’s. Does this mean I too am authorized the Stetson? I would think so but please either confirm this or correct my thoughts.

          SGT (Sep) Hopple

    2. Having served and deployed while in D 4-5 ADA, I can say with certainty that you are not authorized the stetson through tradition. 4-5 is an Air Defense Artillery unit and not a Cav unit. I’m uncertain if you were attached to 1st when you got sent out, or if that changes your eligibility. I don’t know about the Desert Storm generation, but when I was in the unit we were under 69th BGDE, 3rd phantom corp. If you fell under 1st Cav send it!

  12. I am ex-British army Parachute regiment, so can appreciate the pride in ‘earning’ your headgear, in my case the maroon beret, rather than just being given a ‘hat’. As the saying goes “I’d rather my sister in a whore house than my brother in a hat”. Must admit the ‘Cav Stetson’ is one of the most iconic and recognisable pieces of headgear in any theatre of war or in peace time (personally viewed mid 1980’s on NATO exercise in Germany ), and sought after by anyone who sees it worn. (Actually after all this time it is great to read some of the actual history. Thank you Chuck Holmes.)

  13. I was como but was sent to a arty unit in 66 in Vietnam then on to a inftry unit were I was a rto I didn’t get the cib are the air metal I was in country for 66,67,68 can I ware the hat

  14. I would like to ask a question. I served with the H Co. 2/11 ACR 73-75, on the E/W German Border. I was an enlisted man, Regular Army, E4, 76P parts supply clerk and kept the tankers (and support vehicles) running. I road with them, slept with them, did border tours, Reforger and Graff qualification with them. We never had the Spur Challenge that I recall, but we proudly wore our Black Berets and sometimes our Yellow sash. I never saw a Stetson until much later when when I was out of the Military. And while I have never referred to myself as a Vietnam Veteran, as a show of respect to the men that fought that war, I’ve been told by many Vet’s it is appropriate. I will proudly wear my Beret, and consider it as scared as any Stetson, I’m curious if I can legitimately wear a Stetson.

    1. Terry Parrish, absolutely you can wear a Stetson. I was south of you on the Czech border with 1/2ACR at the same time and also proudly wore the black beret. Never heard of a spur ride until a few years ago, but did see one Stetson during my time, a warrant officer with our Air Troop. I now proudly wear a Stetson and silver spurs at all our 2d Cavalry Association reunions and at Cavalry funerals.

      1. Dave & Terry: was assigned to C Trp, 1/2 Cav, (Schwabach), 4th AD Mar 68 for 1st assignment after OCS. About the only Cav focused concerning “esprit de corps” was a Sqdn Cmder change of command. The two LtC where mounted on local horses. Just as where about to slowly ride in front of the assembled Sqdn the incoming LTCs horse tried to mount the outbound LTCs horse. Both horses W/ riders last heading for the front. In 20 months no spurs/hats even considered!

    2. I was assigned to D Troop 3/5 Air Cav. Unit in Viet Nam we wore what was called the Silver Belly ( Tan ) As I was told that the silver belly was the working cavalry mans hat and the dark hat was for dress occasions. Just saying !!

      1. I served from 85 to 88, basic training was a ft knox. I was I C 6 cab and am a 19D MOS. I served in Germany I. The 1/13 ARm and 2/37 ARM I also served in weiden on the boarder helping 1/1 cav. I was enlisted do I qualify to wear the hat.

    3. Yes you can wear a stetson. You would have a tan cord for quartermaster corps and would still wear the crossed sabers and your rank on front…Drive on brother and get one!

  15. I’m a 63H who did a spur ride and deployed with an armor unit to Iraq and Afghanistan. I wear my Stetson and silver spurs with pride. I’ve been in Armor battalions 90% of my Army career and was the FET. I love my 19 series. Last year I was The first female to get the Noble Patron Saint of Armor according to CSM Gainey. Armor and Calvary are the best I’ve worked with and working with them truly is….. “The best job I ever had”

  16. As a former Cavalry Squadron Commander, Let me correct some things, Cavalry is Branch non-material, it is a mission and way of life. All branches can be CAV, earn their spurs and Wear a Stetson with pride. MOS 19Ds are SCOUTS- yes they wear the Stetson and can earn spurs, but so can IN, MI, EN, FA and all the other branches that serve in Cavalry Regiments. So IN LRSD recon units are not Cavalry unless they are in a Cavalry Unit, but Infantry serving in a Cavalry unit are Stetson and Spur eligible.

    Aviation has a long history as being in the CAV! Aviation Scouts are in about a traditional scout role as they come.

    Come along and earn your Spurs,

    See you in Fiddlers Green

    1. I was an infantryman in the 256 Infantry Brigade Louisiana Guard deployed to Iraq. We were a brigade that was subordinate and taking orders under 1st Cavalry Division. We were allowed to proudly wear the patch since we were essentially part of the division. Since I was in combat in the division, am I eligible to wear a Stetson with blue acorns?

  17. I was attached to 2-6 CAV while deployed to Iraq back in 2008 – 2009. I received my Order of the Spur but not sure about the stetson. Can I get one is my question?

  18. Half of all the units I was in, were Cav, I got my CIB carrying a M60 (in 1970 B 3/5 Cav). I got out & put a few years in Active Reserve. With an eight year break in service (USAR doesn’t count) I had to do Basic all over again, & if you think NOT charging a M240 before you close the cover is easy you’re NUTS! Anyway I know how you guys feel the Spurs & Stetson’s hadn’t started up when I got out. . . Everything I’ve read says I’d be OK, but this is something I would NOT want to mess up, because I don’t know all the little secret crap that would make me look like a total knob.

  19. Hey yall. In 03-04 we were attached as 51Ms (Firefighter) with 1/1 Cav F troop. I learned from the Commander later that we were honorary Cav and earned the chance to wear the stetson. Mine is still in the box and waiting to be worn. I have been retired for 5 years now. I would love to wear it, bit I do not want to step on any toes.

      1. I bought a cavalry hat in Gettysburg Pa. I have been interested in the civil war since my first trip there. I have been there and around nearly 12 times.
        I always admired their hats and that’s why I bought one.

        I did not serve the military but ly public safety. Thanks would like to wear my hat but I don’t want to offend anyone.

        What are your thoughts.

    1. was it a cav unit if not then no. I served in the 6th squadron 17 cavalry regiment and you can buy a stetson but if must be formally broken in before you can wear it.

    2. Yes! Wear it with pride George! My mentor flew with the 1/9th in Vietnam as well and he wore his Stetson and 1/9 Cavalry Insignia proudly.

      Dana C Neal (R) 1SG


        1. I am a Vietnam Veteran served with the 1st Air Calvary 1st of the 5th.My MOS is 11B 4P Sgt. E-5 I have a Bronze Star, Air Medal, Army Commendaton Medal with VDevice, the Vietnam Service Medal W/3 Bronze Service Stars, CIB, Parachute Badge, Vietnam Gallentry Cross Unit Citation Badge w/ Palm 2 Awards,

    1. Candace Ginestar

      I am bummed that the Kiowa is going away…this is a huge mistake on the Army’s part! AIR CAV is awesome! That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it!

  20. Candace Ginestar

    I have to respectfully disagree with a couple things =) all in good fun, of course. But I do sense a little bit of that cav/infantry rivalry coming out in your post!
    Looking at the RSTA squadron that I support here in Oregon, C Trp is all infantry on the MTOE. TAG has designated that they are THE elite unit in the state, as the only dismounted reconnaissance troop in the brigade. They may all be blue corders, and some have more than earned their CIBs, and they are all very proud of who they are – but they have adopted their mission with passion and dedication (they used to be an infantry unit until recent years when things got reorganized). They get all the cool training – zodiac boats, helocasting at AT, etc. I think the recent addition of an AR officer as their commander who earned both spurs during his time on active duty helps instill the pride in their mission even more. These guys are not only grunts, they really are training the dismounted recon mission and setting a new standard. It was a hard transition for them at first, from what I was told, but they can’t really call themselves grunts so much anymore. I also think that the CO holds them to a higher standard for their performance since they all ‘grew up’ in the infantry and are more than comfortable in crappy conditions out in the field.

    I understand and respect that you are a purist and think that the Stetson should only be for those CAV specific MOS holders, but our SCO directed people like me to wear them too. I think to wear it with anything other than pride is doing it a disservice. Their reasoning has been that the FSC does everything with the rest of the squadron (especially my platoon with C Trp) and we are more a part of the Cav than we are the BSB (and I agree with that assessment). I am proud to support the Cav, and I want to represent it the best I can.

    1. I was was in ft Hood Tex when the cav was brought in , I had returned from my tour in Korea, I was in the 141st signal Bn . then ETS out of the service , in 1971 . I regard my 1st Cavalry patch on my gear as sacred. I still have a bunch of jackets and Vietnam stuff I upgraded with the Cav patch so my grandkids will know about this unit . I would hang a Stetson on my wall if I thought I was within my right to do so . Any thoughts on this ? Thanks

  21. Chuck,

    You have a great post here, but I must correct a few items:

    -Troopers wear the Stetson in place of a patrol cap/beret IN CERTAIN SITUATIONS, depending on the unit. usually Fridays…
    -Technically, yes, but let’s be real…only tankers and Cav scouts deserve to wear them. nothing I hate more than some 11B wearing a stetson with a blue cord trying to be like us. You don’t see me rocking a yellow cord… It disgusts me to see other MOSs wearing our Stetson…
    -Soldiers will wear crossed Sabers if they are strictly CAV (19D, etc.) but my stetson rocks an Armor branch insignia…

    -No test is necessary for the Stetson per say…the testing and Spur Ride is for…well, your spurs. If you’re a 19K or 19D and you’re in a CAV unit, you will wear a Stetson…that’s it.
    -You can wear a Stetson after leaving a CAV unit, but most don’t. See posts with a CAV unit know that their Soldiers will be wearing them. Others don’t. For example, I am proudly one of the very first Armor Officers to complete ABOLC at Ft. Benning after the move from Ft. Knox. We weren’t allowed to wear our Stetsons outside of the Harmony Church area because…well, Infantry Commanders got all butt-hurt. Not to say that I didn’t do it anyways…
    -If you ain’t CAV, You AINT SHIT! We mean that. An 11B who THINKS he is RECON is living in a fantasy. Keep your blue cord, you are a grunt. The Stetson is for those who are TRUE CAVALRY SCOUTS!!!
    -Again, most Stryker SBCT Companies are Infantry. However, we have CAV units within the Brigade. Those guys wear the Stetson. For me, an MGS Armor guy, I have one but get a goofy look when I wear it around the Infantry… Jealousy I suppose.

      1. Ha, it wasn’t that it was “wrong” Chuck, more as it was “wrong” in my eyes. Obviously, you can see that Candice disagrees with my perspective. To that, I must come back and say while I respect all that her Infantry buddies and herself does for the RECON mission, the Stetson is an iconic symbol that dates back to the old Cavalry Scouts who rode in on horseback. As that horse transformed into the tanks and Bradleys we use today, the tradition still holds. To me, the Stetson is not a RECON thing, it is a MOUNTED, ARMORED CAVALRY THING.

        The Stetson is not linked to RECON it is linked to MOUNTED CAV. That is why it upsets me. Light recon, all high-speed secret squirrel as they might be, they are NOT CAV! I repeat…they are NOT CAV! They are Infantry Soldiers performing a unique mission. I urge you to consult with any TRUE RED-BLOODED SCOUT or TANKER and I am sure that they will agree. That Stetson was NEVER meant to don a blue-cord. If we are going to say that it is acceptable for Infantrymen to wear a Stetson because they are doing a CAV mission, then I guess I deserve to wear a CIB rather than a CAB while I was doing an Infantry mission…agree or disagree? Ask a grunt, I am sure he will disagree. All is fair, but not when it comes to the Stetson and the Blue Chords.

        1. Candace Ginestar

          =) I don’t get into pissing matches between cav and infantry because I am NEITHER! I claim aviation day in and out, that’s where I grew up and earned my stripes. Anyway, the only question I have for you Justin, just so I can clarify what you are saying, is that mounted recon counts as true red-blood Cav because they have 19D in their unit, but the 11B don’t count even though they are a Cav troop too?

          Just curious! Never heard anything from anyone before, even all my Armor friends. The C Trp commander I mentioned in my last post seems to think they are all Cav and treats them as such. And he is a true tanker (I know you two would get along).

          1. Ha, and rightfully so (you shouldn’t get in pissing matches..) What I think is going on with your unit, and correct me if I am wrong is that it is MTOEd to be a traditional CAV unit. To fill those slots, they used 11Bs rather than 19D or paying to reclass everyone to 19D? Is that accurate? I think if your unit Commander wants to treat them as CAV and all that hoopla then that is on him, I am sure he outranks me anyway… But, talk to some guys at Ft. Hood. HBCT, tankers and CAV scouts and they will tell you they HATE when the Infantry clowns have a Stetson on…and the only reason they have one on is because they are 11Bs in a CAV Unit. I still think that my argument about the CIB and CAB trumps everything in this debate…wouldn’t you agree? If I am a tanker and am dismounted on patrol and get shot at, I deserve a CIB because I was doing an Infantry mission…vs. a CAB just because of my MOS…

            1. Candace Ginestar

              Justin, I think what happened is my husband’s unit was an infantry company assigned to another Bn until several years ago when they reorganized and got assigned to the Cav. Instead of reclassing everyone…
              well actually, in a RSTA squadron, isn’t the dismounted recon unit traditionally made up of 11B anyway? They have the sniper section and a mortars section that goes with HHT during combined training events. The logistics make sense to me on why they wouldn’t make them 19D only. 11B are well-suited to that mission, from what I’ve observed.

              Funny story, when this reorg first happened, my husband hated being associated with the Cav and having to wear a stetson. He said he wasn’t Cav, he was a blue cord through and through. He had to get used to it, though, and so did everyone else in his unit. They are directed to wear the stetson by higher, but I’m sure most of them wouldn’t even care if they were told not to anymore.

              As far as the CIB thing, the whole issue to me is maybe that the Stetson isn’t an official award and is a tradition, whereas the CIB is something more official. Maybe if they made the Stetson and the spurs something that you had to be MOS specific to get, and not just associated with the mission like I am, then it would be better. I’m not sure. I do think it’s weird that the blue cord is something my husband earned by virtue of his MOS but if he goes to flight school he has to take it off because he will be an officer. I got to keep my enlisted aviation badge, but he can’t keep his blue cord? They essentially amount to the same thing (that we had a certain MOS as an enlisted Soldier), whereas he earned his CIB in a different way. He also earned gold spurs just like a bunch of people I know (what’s your opinion on that?)

              1. Candace Ginestar

                I should clarify that he earned his CIB in 2004 while belonging to an infantry unit doing an infantry mission, not on his 3rd deployment where he was in a Cav troop.

    1. I am a 19D 1981-1988. 11th ACR, 2/9th Cav, and 1/37 AR Scout plt. I wear a Cav Stetson every time I am out on my horse. Never been questioned. Only 19 series should wear them as far as I am considered. Scouts Out!!!

    2. You gotta remember that even tho you have armored cav and cav scouts, the true cavalry regiment from back when they were on horses is now aviation. 1-17 CAV is the unit that holds one of the longest histories with the Stetson. I’m not saying other cav units or personel attached to cav units shouldn’t wear stetsons. I’m just saying saying certain units wore the stetson long before other cav units adopted them. But anyone who has a stetson should wear it with pride and not try to claim that they are better or deserve it more. Cav is cav no matter what your most. Just my 2 cents.

      1. While I agree with you on some things, my unit was Alpha Troop 1/3d ACR during Desert Storm and Shield. The 3d CAV was started as “The Regiment of Mounted Riflemen” by Congress in 1846 and at that time we wore the “Silver Bellies” the tan stetsons. The wear of the Stetsons has faded in and out from time to time, but it was always the Cavalry that wore the Stetsons. The horses were turned in for Armor and wheeled vehicles… not aircraft. Currently the 11th Cav is the only Unit wearing the “Silver Bellies” as their formal Stetson and everyone else is in the Black Stetsons. I personally have both because I wear the tan one for more everyday functions and the black is for the formal settings. I seperated from the Army and am now in the Air Force. I earned the 19K MOS while assigned to the 1st Armor Training Brigade 1/81st Armor and the 19D MOS through OJT during the invasion of Desert Storm while serving in the 3d ACR. During this time we had neither spur rides nor breaking in ceremonies.

        1. I was an ARP with A Troop, 1/17th Cavalry, 82nd ABN 77-80. We were all 11B in the Aero Rifle Platoon. We ran team/squad level recon with the Hueys. We loved the Cav…better to fly than walk… When I was in my last year, 11Bs were being replaced by new 19Ds. We 11Bs never wore the stetson. Not sure the 1/17th has ARPs any longer.

        2. From what I understand, you only wear the stetson when assigned to the Cav unit, but can / do you wear your spurs with your Air Force Dress uniform? I was 1st Cav when I was in the Army and earned my spurs during a spur ride then, but am now in the Air Force as well. I think at the very least I will ask for Commander’s approval when I retire…

    3. Justin,

      I respectfully disagree. As a past commander of S&T Troop CS/11th ACR Fulda Germany 1987 – 90 I can tell you that while we had a variety of MOS’ in the troop none of them were 19D’s but they were all pure CAV. We were an organic support element with the Combat Support Squadron of the Regiment on the Frontier of Freedom. Assigned to the 11th ACR we were as much CAV as the tankers, scouts or cannon cockers in the Line Squadrons or the Army Aviators in 4/11th. One team one fight. Our Squadron had our own Spur Rides and we earned our Spurs like everyone else but no Stetsons were awarded as a result of the process.

      What I recall however at the time the Stetsons were only worn by the Warrant and Air Cav Officers from 4/11th at officials ceremonies.

      One Team! One Fight.

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