Tactical Tailor

USAF – Blocked Hats Are In, Why Aren’t You Wearing One?

It appears that blocked hats are making a come back in the Air Force. While they’ve long been available around Lackland AFB, where Airmen attend Basic Military Training School, they aren’t exactly in the spirit of a wash and wear utility uniform. But, over the past year or so, the service’s top Airman, Gen Mark Welsh and his Senior Enlisted Advisor, CMSgtAF James Cody have been spotted wearing them with their ABUs.

(Chief of Staff Gen Mark Welsh speaks with Airmen during a Dec. 14, 2014, visit at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Photo: SrA Kia Atkins/US Air Force)

Of course, this isn’t exactly a new phenomenon.  Airmen wore the stiffened Ridgeway Cap in the 50s and early 60s, until their wear was curtailed around the time the AF phased out Sage Green fatigues.


If this is the style you are looking for, www.blockedhats.com has got you covered.

Like the Ridgeway, these caps have a plastic sidewall, but are much stronger than the original.  Additionally, they are modified issue caps and take about four weeks for delivery unless you have a big melon, in which case there will be an additional lead time.


45 Responses to “USAF – Blocked Hats Are In, Why Aren’t You Wearing One?”

  1. ray forest says:

    ABU “Bump Helmet” cap

  2. d says:


  3. SN says:

    Slow news day today?

    • SSD says:

      Naw, I write this about a week ago but kept moving it to the right because better stuff kept coming up.

  4. Why not just wear white kepis like the French Foreign Legion. Maybe some of the Foreign Legion’s bad-assness could transfer to the USAF.

    • SGT Rock says:

      That’ll never happen. Lol!

    • Dan Owens says:

      I wear a white képi and even we think they look ridiculous. There’s nothing badass about putting a stew pot on your head.

      • Ron Dignard says:

        I severely doubt any légionnaire thinks his képi blanc is ridiculous given that they are earned.

        • No says:

          That might literally be the dumbest looking hat I’ve ever seen. I’m sure 100% of them think it’s ridiculous. They probably also realize it’s more about what it symbolizes than how stupid it looks.

  5. Mike D says:

    How are you supposed to stuff this in your pocket when indoors? The people that wear these must have a desk job or something…

    • Hoff says:

      That’s how we ended up with ‘map pockets”. Desk workers designed the ABU.

  6. ray forest says:

    No they have someone to hold their hat

  7. James says:

    When this is what it takes to make the ABU look better we’ve got a serious problem.

    • Brett says:

      Wearing a coffee can on your head distracts from the neon tigerstripe.

  8. Brett says:

    The obsession with headgear is as entertaining as the obsession with camo patterns.

  9. SGT Rock says:

    Back in the day the ONLY individuals that you saw w/blocked hats were Drill Sergeants.

  10. MaxPower says:

    I always just starched my cover to the point where it could stand up on it’s own, but still collapsed when needed.

  11. Brian says:

    A new way to show what a douche you are!

  12. Just Tim says:

    The stiffened and blocked fatigue hat just reminds me of 1950’s and 60’s South American Communist revolutionaries. The poor Air Force needs real help with finding their institutional identity.

  13. Andrew says:

    If only it came in Scorpion camo…then the army would have the perfect replacement for Shinseki’s black beret.

    • 10thMountainMan says:

      We barely ever wear the beret anymore. One hopes it will dead and gone eventually. Once we end Shinseki’s travesty the Army uniforms will be more or less completely un-fucked from the past decade and a half of stupidity.

      • bulldog76 says:

        I personally believe berets should be reserved for sf, airborne and rangers but thats just me and only for certiant ooccasions

  14. Knutz says:

    Great… between the blocked caps and the CMSAF’s pressed sleeves, we just made the worst uniform in the entire DOD even worse. Truly an inspiring example of “excellence in all we do” – even the things we do poorly.

  15. bulldog76 says:

    Why not just issue boonies hats and be done with it for all branches

    • Lisa says:

      Because, boonie hats pretty much make you look like a wanker outside of the field? Just a thought

      • bulldog76 says:

        Or we can actually practicle about it and stop looking like band box soldiers and look like real soldiers

    • Brett says:

      Creighton Abrams just rolled over in his grave.

      • bulldog76 says:

        I know I know he hated them but we have to be practical they shade your eyes from the sun keep sun off your ears and neck and they keep rain off to an extent its about being practical not what looks best

  16. tg says:

    all the armed services have tradition and heritage that go with their covers-the usaf however, not so much. we adopt whatever the flavor of the army is at the time. we should go back to baseball style hats. this whole blocked cover thing just adds more pain and misery to what is a canvas tent of a uniform that is woefullly impractical both functionally and tactically

    • tcba_joe says:

      Heck, I think the Army shouldd go to ball caps. The Army’s PC typically looks like a bag of dicks and no one wears it even close to the same.

      If my Monenegro can make a multicam polo shirt look professional for garrison wear (coolest uniform shirt ever), then the Army can adopt a Scorpion ballcap that fits and doesn’t look absolutely ridiculous.

  17. straps says:

    You can achieve 90% of the tragedy in that pic with a few pulls when the cap is wet. And you can actually carry it in your pocket.

  18. AbnMedOps says:

    I may be totally off-base, but looking back over historic photos, eras of such rigid headgear also seemed to correspond with eras of mental and institutional rigidity.

  19. JD says:

    Legs are so funny.

  20. I have an original, mint Ridgeway that came of a batch we found and sold to the last Indiana Jones movie. We found about 50, un-issued mint condition caps that were sealed in a box for 60+ years.

    Don’t judge me too harshly, our job is to find them great stuff, their job is to make a good movie.

  21. Riceball says:

    I imagine that with the plastic sidewalls, this cap is going to a be a lot more uncomfortable and hotter than normal patrol caps are. Why not go the Marine Corps route and add stitching around the top/crown to give it a little more shape and rigidity and then use a block and starch it for the nice, stiff garrison look?