For as long as women have been in the Navy, they’ve been wearing a different cover than the one issued to men. That is, until last year, when the service began wear tests on a combination cover, using the Naval Academy midshipmen as research subjects.
“I hate it,” an unidentified graduating female midshipmen told Navy Times at the academy’s commissioning ceremony Friday. “Almost everyone I know hates it.”
The female “bucket” hat has come into question recently, as Navy Secretary Ray Mabus has pushed to make male and female service members’ uniforms more, well, uniform — starting with unisex covers.
“I’m excited that I don’t have to wear it once I’m in the fleet,” the female mid said.
She explained that on top of its general discomfort, the cover limits the hairstyles women can use. A low bun works all right, she said, but she can’t put her hair in a French braid or twist, like she could with the female cover she wore before this year.
She said she has nothing to hide, as far as being a woman, and doesn’t see why she needs a cover to look more like the men.
The Brigade of Midshipmen and a few Navy musicians were the first to test the combination cover last year year. Feedback was overwhelmingly negative, according the Navy’s survey.
However, the service is pushing forward with combo covers, in addition to unisex uniforms for junior enlisted sailors, to include the iconic ‘Dixie cup’ cover.