Many of you might be asking yourselves why I, along with my Company Commander and First Sergeant, are wearing Cowboy hats in the picture I posted regarding my combat patch. Well, this is one of the Army's many traditions that dates back to the Civil War. Being assigned to a Cavalry Regiment means embracing its long heritage, something that the Stetson represents. Although not all Cav unit's don this traditional headgear, my Squadron Commander has made it a requirement for ALL leaders to wear a Stetson to meetings and ceremonies. Despite the fact that we don't ride horses anymore, we also still wear spurs with our dress uniforms! For many, this is a way to honor the heritage of their unit, despite the transformation of warfare over the past two centuries.
While this aspect of tradition is mainly for those individuals within the Armor branch, as a Forward Support Company we are considered part of this unit and encouraged (read required) to embrace the same traditions, i.e. wearing of the Stetson.The black and gold band around the hat represents the Officer Corps; at the top of it is my 2LT rank; and just below it is the crossed sabers with 75 (representing the 75th Cavalry Regiment) and a 1 (1st Squadron). You can see on the back of the CO's hat, there are some pins. These can either be our Branch Insignia's, or our Unit Crests. Soldiers are free to put almost anything they want on the back of theirs, which is why I have a big Orange T on mine!!! Although I am an East Tennessean, a place where wearing a Cowboy hat is a common practice among many, this is actually the first Stetson I have ever had, and one that carries with it a special meaning to me because it will always remind me of the things I have done here.
Hope this helps in understanding our culture!