-- Female recruits for the U.S. Navy will soon make history by wearing the same hats, or “covers,” as their male counterparts.
The “Dixie cup” hat worn by male recruits are now part of a uniform overhaul set in motion by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus last October.
The changes are meant to promote equality among genders and help integrate women into the ranks.
The iconic Dixie cups must be worn by all female enlisted recruits by Oct. 31, 2016.
Junior female sailors are not the only women to get new uniforms.
Female officers and senior enlisted sailors will wear updated styles, such as new combination covers.
By the fall of 2016, both enlisted men and women will receive new service dress blues, what the Navy calls “crackerjacks.”
The “Dixie cup” style dates back to 1886 when it was first incorporated into Navy uniform regulations, according to the Navy’s historical site.
“It can be squared, rolled, crushed, fitted with ‘gull wings’ or simply worn as it comes from small stores. It can be used as a flotation device or a sun shield or even, some claim, as a dog food dish. With its many shapes and uses, it may be the most versatile article of clothing a Navy enlisted man wears,” the site states.
The hat has been used for decades in Hollywood movies and Broadway plays as the symbol for a U.S. Navy sailor.
According to the site, approximately 140,000 white hats are made every month in Puerto Rico for the Defense Personnel Support Center.