Scrambled egg (uniform)

Scrambled eggs (American English) or scrambled egg (British English) is a slang term for the typically leaf-shaped embellishments found on the visors of peaked caps worn by military officers and (by metonymy) for the senior officers who wear them. The phrase is derived from the resemblance that the emblems have to scrambled eggs, particularly when the embellishments are gold in color.

Dutch Admiral Helfrich with British Air Marshal Brooke-Popham both wearing peaked caps with embellishments

Today the "scrambled eggs" emblem, in one form or another, has been adopted by the majority of the world's navies. Exceptions include the French Navy and Italian armed forces, which use, respectively, embroideries or different varieties of chin straps on the officers' cap bands to indicate seniority. Although the use of the term is principally military, some civilians (such as airline and merchant ship captains, and senior uniformed law enforcement officers) have similar embellishments on the peaks or visors of their hats.

British and Commonwealth countries edit

Junior officer's cap
Senior officer's cap
Admiral's cap
General Sir Richard Dannatt wearing a service dress hat with gold oak leaf embellishments.

In the British Armed Forces, and in the armed forces of several other Commonwealth countries, scrambled egg (singular) is a nickname for the gold braid (called an "oak leaf sprig") on the peak of senior officers' peaked caps, and by extension a nickname for an officer. Specifically, flag officers, general officers, and air officers have two rows of golden oak leaves, while commodores, captains, and commanders (Royal Navy), brigadiers and colonels (Army), and group captains (RAF) have one row.

Amongst the one-star ranks there is disparity. Specifically, as Navy commodores are not classified as flag officers and Army brigadiers are not general officers, they only have one row of golden oak leaves. However, the equivalent (but lower in precedence) Air Force rank of air commodore is classified as an air officer and hence has two rows of golden oak leaves. Disparities also exist at the OF-4 rank level with Navy commanders having one row of golden oak leaves whereas their Army and RAF counterparts (lieutenant colonel and wing commander) do not have any embellishments on their peaks.

United States edit

United States Air Force General Nathan Farragut Twining wearing the service dress hat with silver cloud and lightning bolt embellishments for a 4-star USAF general officer

In the United States armed forces, "scrambled eggs" is the nickname for the golden oak leaf and acorn embellishments (known as fretting) on the bills (visors) of framed service and dress uniform caps (called service caps in the Army, combination covers in the Navy and Coast Guard, barracks covers in the Marine Corps) worn by field grade and general officers in the rank and grade of major (O-4) or higher in the Army and Marine Corps, and senior and flag officers in the rank and grade of commander (O-5) or higher in the Navy and Coast Guard. The embellishments are also on the service caps of (Army) warrant officers serving in the ranks of chief warrant officer 3 with the grade of (W-3) to chief warrant officer 5 with the grade of (W-5). Commissioned Officers of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration wear similar uniforms and wear the same embellishments as the Navy while Commissioned Officers of the Public Health Service wear similar uniforms and wear the same embellishments as the Navy or Coast Guard depending upon the duties they are performing.

Majors (O-4) and higher ranks in the Air Force wear silver clouds and lightning bolts[1] in lieu of oak leaves, sometimes referred to as "farts and darts".[2][3] Majors (O-4), Lieutenant Colonels (O-5), and Colonels (O-6) wear silver clouds and lightning bolts where there are two clouds on each side of the visor while all Generals (O-7 to O-10) wear silver clouds and lightning bolts where there are three clouds on each side. Additionally, Generals serving as the Chief of Staff of the Air Force (CSAF) or as the Chairman or Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS, VJCS) wears a row of silver clouds and lightning bolts around the cap band of their service caps or dress caps (refer to the photo of General Nathan Farragut Twining).

The difference in grades when an officer assumes the wearing of embellishments is peculiar to the individual customs and traditions of each service. The number of years of service required to be considered for promotion to the grade of O-4 in the Navy and Coast Guard is fewer than the number of years of service required to be promoted in the Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps. Accordingly, the Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps consider the grade of O-4 to be the first field grade officer rank, while the Navy and Coast Guard consider O-4 to still be a junior officer rank.

At the flag or general officer level, O-7 and higher, additional embellishments are added to distinguish them from the USN/USCG senior officer and USAF/USMC field grade officer ranks.

Civilian usage edit

"Eggs" is also used to nickname the leaf-shaped visor decorations on the peaked caps of merchant ships' captains also indicated as shipmasters and airline pilots. By convention this is reserved to Captains or Deputy-Captains (of four-striped rank), in contrast to the Anglo-American naval traditions, where officers of Commander rank and above are entitled to it. Moreover, in the case of airline pilots, such "leaves" may be oak+leaf or laurel-leaf and may be gold or silver in colour, depending on individual airline uniform.

Many American police chiefs, sheriffs, and command staff law enforcement officers such as assistant chiefs and majors may wear scrambled eggs on their ball caps or dress covers' visors. Additionally, fire chiefs, rescue squad chiefs, assistant chiefs, senior fire marshals, and other senior ranking personnel such as battalion chiefs may also wear scrambled eggs on the visors of their ball cap and dress cover visors

In 1969, the Seattle Pilots of MLB's American League wore caps with gold scrambled eggs on the visor. The team failed financially, however, and moved to Milwaukee to become the Milwaukee Brewers. This was the only time in the history of Major League Baseball where a visor had any embellishments.[citation needed]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2018-11-02. Retrieved 2014-05-14.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "Scrambled Eggs on My Hat". USA Today. Archived from the original on 2010-02-28. Retrieved 2017-10-29.
  3. ^ *Whittingham, Richard. (December 1985). Saturday Afternoon: College Football and the Men Who Made the Day: Workman Pub Co. ISBN 0-89480-933-4 Phrase used to describe the passenger makeup on the train from Washington to Philadelphia for the Army-Navy game:"There were more scrambled eggs on the train than were served to the invading forces on D-Day"