A garrison cap, garrison cover, wedge cap, flight cap, side cap, forage cap, or overseas cap is a foldable cap with straight sides and a creased or hollow crown sloping to the back where it is parted.
It is a variant of the Glengarry, being distinguished by a lack of tartan or check trim, toorie, and ribbons typical of the original. It has been associated with various military forces from the World War I era to the present and various youth organizations. A convenient feature of this cap is that when the owner is indoors and no coat-hook is available on which to hang it, it can be easily stored (by folding it over the belt or, unofficially tucking it into an epaulette.)
In the Canadian army, the field service cap (calot de campagne) is defined by the Canadian Forces Dress Instructions as a "cloth folding or 'wedge cap'...Originally designed for wear during field operations and training, it may now also be worn as an undress cap with full and undress uniforms. The cap is worn as part of the Undress uniform by students of Royal Military College of Canada, and as an optional item by all ranks of Rifle regiments with Ceremonial Dress, Mess Dress, and Service Dress uniforms.
The field service cap was originally adopted Army-wide in 1939, and replaced in 1943 by a khaki beret. The Coloured Field Service Cap was a variant permitted for private purchase and worn only when off duty. These were done in the colours of the regiment or corps of the wearer.
In the Canadian air force, the blue wedge cap (French: calot) is authorized for wear with all orders of dress. It is properly worn "on the right side of the head, centred front and back, with the front edge of the cap 2.5 cm (1 in.) above the right eyebrow. Cap badges are worn on the left side, with the centre of the badge 6.5 cm (2-1/2 in.) from the front of the cap centred between the flap and the top seam. The cap worn by general officers is embellished with gold piping. Military police wear a scarlet flash in the front of their wedge caps showing 1 cm (1/4 in.). Prior to Unification in 1968, the Royal Canadian Air Force wore uniforms similar to those worn by the Royal Air Force, including a blue wedge cap. After 1968, the uniforms of the three services were replaced by a universal rifle-green uniform; the air force, however, was permitted to retain the wedge cap, although in rifle green instead of blue. With the advent of the Distinct Environmental Uniform, the blue wedge cap returned.
In France, the bonnet de police replaced the kepi because of its greater convenience, when the "Adrian" steel helmet was issued in 1915. The bonnet de police is now worn by anti-riot law enforcement units, such as the Gendarmerie Mobile of the French Gendarmerie (at least when in riot control gear) and the CRS of the French National Police. Members of these units may have to change quickly from an ordinary headdress to a helmet, and an easily foldable cap is therefore practical.
Between 1944 and 1962 this headdress was worn by most branches of the French Army in a wide variety of colours, which normally matched those of the kepis historically worn by the particular branch or regiment. At the end of the Algerian War the bonnet de police, was replaced by the beret for most units. In the modern French Army the bonnet de police is still worn by the 1st Regiment of Spahis in the historic bright red of this branch.
The French bonnet de police has a different origin than that of the glengarry. The French headdress originated as a long, pointed bonnet with a pompon at the end of the trailing crown (resembling the English nightcap). The rim of the cap was folded upward. Originally the pompon hung down at the back between the soldier's shoulder blades; subsequently the cap became shorter and the tail hung near the soldier's ear. By the mid-nineteenth century the bonnet de police had become a true flat cap with no trailing crown. Instead the pompon dangled from a short cord sewn onto the rim in front of the bonnet de police, hanging above the soldier's right eye. This style of headdress with a trailing tassel was widely worn by both the Belgian Army and the Spanish Army during the first half of the 20th Century. It is still used by the Spanish Foreign Legion.
In the British Army, a khaki forage cap, described in a 1937 amendment to the Dress Regulations for the Army as "similar in shape to the Glengarry" was introduced as the Universal Pattern Field Service Cap, and saw extensive service during World War II.
In the Royal Air Force, a blue-gray forage cap (or chip bag hat) of an identical style remains widely worn with both working dress and flying suits.
In the U.S. armed forces it is known as a garrison cap, campaign cap (not to be confused with campaign hat, a distinct form of headgear), flight cap, garrison hat, fore-and-aft cap, envelope cap, cunt cap, pisscutter or overseas cap and also the flat hat.
When first issued to U.S. "doughboys" in World War I, the hat was called the "overseas cap" as it was only worn by troops in France who were given the French type forage cap as they did not have their campaign hats. The overseas cap could be stored easily when the helmet was being worn. A blue overseas cap was adopted post war by the American Legion. The hat largely disappeared between the wars except for the Air Corps, Paratroopers and Armored Force. The hat was widely issued from 1941 on and lost its 'overseas' distinctiveness. With the replacement of the campaign hat the garrison cap was given branch of service color piping similar to what had been on the cord of the campaign hat with officers having black and gold and generals gold trim. This practice was later discontinued when individuals had to purchase a new hat if they were transferred to a different branch of the service.
Recently it has largely been replaced in the U.S. Army by the beret (except for use with a variation on the Army Green Service Uniform called Dress Greens), but remains in use in the other U.S. Armed Forces. The garrison cap can still be worn but is not favored by Army servicemen and is the standard headgear of Army JROTCs and ROTCs.
Many uniformed civilian organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America have used garrison caps. Waiters at many old fashioned style diners also wear garrison caps.