General Douglas MacArthur’s iconic “Philippine Field Marshal’s Cap”

Kagay-anon World War II History 101

Philippine Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon officially conferred the title of Field Marshal on General Douglas MacArthur in a ceremony at Malacañan Palace on August 24, 1936. He was presented at that time with a gold baton and a unique uniform.

General Douglas MacArthur, wearing his trademark Philippine Army Field Marshal’s cap, as he appeared on the cover of TIME Magazine in Apr 1951, the month he was relieved of command of all UN forces in Korea.
(Peter Graham through Pinterest)

Although unofficially considered as the five-star rank in the Philippine Commonwealth Army, MacArthur wore no special insignia as Field Marshal of the Philippines, except for a modification to his army officer’s cap.

To the standard gold-trimmed visor of a United States general’s cap, MacArthur added gilt trim to the front body of the cap, above the visor.

MacArthur referred to this modified headdress as his “Philippine Field Marshal’s cap” and wore it for the duration of World War II and into the Korean War. However, the modified army headdress was against regulations, and MacArthur never officially obtained permission to wear this as a part of his uniform.

The MacArthur Memorial Marker in Barangay Macabalan, Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines is unique among monuments dedicated to the general in that it is the only one of its kind which was patterned after MacArthur’s Philippine Field Marshal’s Cap. (RMB)

Unique among the many monuments around the world dedicated to General Douglas MacArthur , the MacArthur Memorial Marker at Barangay Macabalan, Cagayan de Oro City, is the only one patterned after the general’s iconic “Philippine Field Marshal’s Cap”, a homage to his great love for the Filipinos and his adopted country of the Philippines.

MacArthur’s iconic cap has also sometimes been referred to as a “scrambled egg cap” but further research shows this is a generic term which did not specifically refer to MacArthur’s iconic headgear which is more properly called his “Philippine Field Marshal’s cap”, a one of a kind cap given to him by Phil. Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon, according to former MacArthur Memorial Director Christopher Kolakowski. 

US Navy Hat Admiral (Scrambled Eggs)

Scrambled eggs is a slang term for the typically leaf-shaped embellishments found on the visors of peaked caps worn by military officers and 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.

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 (primarily in the United States) senior uniformed law enforcement officers) have similar embellishments on the peaks or visors of their hats.

 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).

US Navy Hat Lt. Commander (No Scrambled Eggs)

Thus, Army Field Grade Warrant Officers (those in the grade of W-3, W-4, and W-5) officers have the embellished visors while Army Company Grade Officers, those in the ranks and grades of second lieutenant (O-1), first lieutenant (O-2) and captain (O-3), and Company Grade warrant officers, those in the ranks and grades of warrant officer 1 (W-1) and chief warrant officer 2 (W-2), do not.

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[2] 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, i.e., the Navy and Coast Guard consider the grade of O-4 to be a junior officer rank versus a senior officer, while the Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps consider it to be a field grade 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 United States/USAF/USMC field grade officer ranks. (Compiled by Mike Baños)


1.      James, D. Clayton (1970). Volume 1, 1880–1941. The Years of MacArthur. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. p. 505. ISBN 0-395-10948-5. OCLC 60070186


3.     ^ Scrambled Eggs on My Hat

4.     ^ *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”

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1 Comment

  1. General MacArthurs’ hat was nothing more than an adaptation of the standard US Army general officers dress blue service cap. It was worn by US Army generals with their dress blue uniform back in the 1930’s and is still worn today. He simply had the hat produced in white and khaki.

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