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"Just got back from my first weekend of W.B. WE3-28-03 and this came up as a trivia question and yes when out of uniform the scout uses the scout sign to cross his heart."


I hate to sound like Bob White but where is this substantiated in a BSA publication? I just checked the current handbook and it doesn't say to do that. I have handbooks going back to the 40's and this is never mentioned. I believe that this is a Scouting myth like "one year to complete a merit badge."


It is a cute idea but it isn't by the book.

(This message has been edited by Fat Old Guy)

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I have never heard or read of using the Scout Sign when putting hand over heart in "salute" to the flag. Either you are in uniform, in which case it is the Scout salute, or you aren't, in which case it is the regular hand-over-heart (not three-fingered.)


Now, I guess I should admit that for this purpose my son's troop (and to my recollection, mine when I was a Scout) interprets one to be "in uniform" even when hats have been removed (such as when in the church itself for a Court of Honor.) At troop meetings (in the school building adjoining the church) hats are worn indoors. Either of these may be incorrect, though in my opinion they make sense, and that seems to be the style.


(This reminds me, sometimes I see it said that one salutes to the brim of the cap, but then I recall that my first Scout hat had no brim. It was what I believe is properly called the "overseas cap," I just call it the "flat hat" because that is what it was when not on my head. I suspect that several of us here have one of these tucked away. I have shown that hat to my son and he gets a great deal of amusement out of the fact that I actually wore it. I am able to create a bit more "shock and awe" when I show him a photo of an entire troop, including his then-somewhat-long-haired father, wearing the campaign hat a/k/a Baden-Powell hat.)



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I believe that the official BSA name for the flat hat is "Field Cap."


In the Navy, Marine Corps or Coast Guard, if you are wearing a cap or hat with a bill or brim, your salute touches the bill or brim. If you are wearing a "flat hat", you salute by touching your eyebrow. If you are not wearing a hat, you don't salute.


In the Army, you salute covered or uncovered touching the eyebrow if not wearing a cap or if the cap has no brim, the brim if it has one.


In the Air Force, you keep your hands in your pockets and say, "Hey Dude!"



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Now that I think about it, it's kind of funny, I never even knew the hat had a name until a few years ago. When I was wearing it we just called it the "Boy Scout hat" because that was the only kind of hat available. After I had been in Scouting for a couple of years they came out with new options including the red beret, and what we called the "Smokey the Bear hat." This was 1972, I guess. I remember we had a troop election and elected the Smokey the Bear hat. (Which I now know is called the campaign hat.) At that point the "Boy Scout hat" became "the old hat," as well as "old hat."

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A bit more on the old hats: I heard somewhere, don't know if it was in this forum, about at least one unit re-adopting the red beret even though the BSA has not sold it for years. Apparently the boys scrounged some up on e-bay, Army-Navy stores or wherever, and/or were buying non-BSA red berets and sewing on the appropriate insignia.


Seems like a lot of trouble and expense to go through especially considering that a lot of boys wanted nothing to do with the red beret when it came out.


I also thought I saw or heard of the BSA again producing an official "campaign hat" (Smokey) but I have not seen it. Every Boy Scout I see with a hat these days is either wearing the official green and red baseball-style cap or a custom troop baseball-style cap (as my son's troop does; leaders get a special version of the cap with a "gold leaf" design sown onto the brim. It looks to me like whoever designed this cap was trying to get as close to a military-like design as possible. Shhhh.)

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Bob White said:

"I am pretty sure that NJ is correct, the brimless envelope style hat was called the "overseas hat". "


The name "overseas cap" is an old Army designation, the Navy and Marine Corps call that style of cap a "garrison cap," implying that it is to be worn in garrison but not in the field. The Marine Corps calls the Smokey hat/Montana Peak hat/campaign hat a "field hat."


According to my 9th edition of the Scout Handbook, the BSA name for the flat hat is "field hat."



The Scouter from the Garden State said:

"I also thought I saw or heard of the BSA again producing an official campaign hat"


I don't know that BSA ever stopped making them. I have one. It is in the current catalog as item WW501 for $81.15.


Most "Army-Navy" stores have cheap campaign hats for about $30. Nowhere near the quality of the BSA hat.


I did come across a suplus store that is selling surplus Marine Corps "field hats" (see above) for about $30. There are some minor differences between the USMC and BSA hats. The USMC hat has a slightly higher crown and a grograin ribbon hat band which the original BSA hat had. However, very few would know the difference.


The USMC hat may not be official but it looks better than the unofficial jeans and "Nike" caps that I see so many Scouters wearing.


As for berets, they are cool now. I wear mine to troop meetings and Scouts are always saying "that's neat. I wish we wore that." I tell them to bring up to the PLC. I'm for anything (almost anything) that builds troop spirit.


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hey NJ my troop makes their own custom made hats.


Ours are a black baseball hat with our troop patch sewed onto them. In my troop we don't call them gold leaves but we call them scrambled eggs lol. As for the Brim it goes like this.


Plain (no leaf)=Youth


Red=Eagle Scouts

Gold=Scout Master


I was wondering if anyone else did this and what other colors you use?



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JimmyD, sounds like a good idea. Let's you identify who someone is from a distance.


I do like the idea. The PLC of my troop is kicking around the idea of a troop cap. I'll run the idea past them.


FYI: Standard military and naval slang for oak leaves on the bill is "scrambled eggs." The Air Force uses clouds and lightning bolts instead of oak leaves, I've heard those called "darts and farts."



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