Postal Uniform History (Part 10)

1970s New Service, New Look: The Eagle Patch and Dark Blue Trim

Postal Uniform History 1973On July 1, 1970, revised postal uniforms called for a dark blue necktie, necktab, and round cap. Raingear, the chin strap on the fur cap, and braid on the pith helmet also changed to the new dark blue color. Letter carriers were to be outfitted in these new items by July 1, 1971.

On August 12, 1970, President Nixon signed into law the Postal Reorganization Act, which converted the Post Office Department into the United States Postal Service.

On October 1, 1970, postal uniform patches were revised to feature the new emblem of the bald eagle poised for flight above the words “U.S. Mail,” and the craft tab was moved to the left breast of postal uniform coats and jackets. The emblem, but not craft tab, was added to sweaters as of January 1, 1971.

Postal Uniform buttons incorporated the new eagle logo. A new dark blue braid, five-eighths inch wide, was placed on coat and jacket sleeves and on the outside seams of trousers, slacks, and culottes.

In October 1970, a dark blue knit face mask was authorized for cold weather.

New blue shirts with the revised emblem were available in January 1971. Employees were advised to wear the new emblem by July 1, 1971, the date the new Postal Service officially began operations. They were given one year – until July 1, 1972 – to adopt the rest of the uniform.
As of December 1972 carriers no longer had to wear headgear, provided they were otherwise in full uniform and easily identifiable as Postal Service employees. On April 1, 1973, the Postal Service allowed male carriers to wear knee-length shorts with black knee-length hose during the summer months. Shorts for women (knee-length, with knee-length dark blue hose) were adopted three months later. By 1979, the WAVE-style hat was made available to female carriers (see Letter Carriers’ Uniform: Hats, for illustration).2


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2 WAVE-style hats were similar to the caps first worn by members of the Navy’s Women Accepted for Volunteer
Emergency Service, established in 1942.

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