Monday, August 31, 2015

Military Monday: Milt Royles' Hat

Last week I was contacted by US Air Force historian and collector Tim Mackie, who had read my blog and who has in his collection this cap that used to belong to my dad Fred Pape's Korean War pilot, Milton Royles (1920-1996).  Tim has kindly allowed me to share his photos of the cap in this blog:

Milton Royles' cap viewed from the top.  The tiger was the insignia of the 37th Bomb Squadron.
They were based in Pusan, Korea during the Korean War.  Photo courtesy Tim Mackie.

Milton Royles' cap viewed from the front.  Photo courtesy Tim Mackie.

Milton Royles' cap viewed from the back.  The flags are from the United States, United Nation, and South Korean flag respectively.  Orange and white were the colors of the 37th Bomb Squadron.  The bombs along the lower edge indicate each bombing mission - the ones with dollar signs were "dollar rides" or training missions.  Photo courtesy Tim Mackie.

Here is what Dad had to say about the cap:

Milt’s cap was really a work of art. It was originally just an ordinary field cap. He put 3 coats of clear varnish(?) on it to make it stiff enough to allow him to draw the designs he wanted. He let each color dry for a day or more to keep the colors from running into each other. I think it took about two weeks to finish during his off time.
About 2 months after he finished it was stolen from our tent. We found an airman wearing one that looked like Milt’s cap. After an examination it proved to be his cap with a very poor job of trying to alter it. The airman said he got it from a gunner airman whose plane had gone down so we had no conclusive thievery proof but Milt got his cap back and was able to restore it to original condition.  
The bombs do indicate the number of bombing missions and as you deduced the ones with dollar signs are the training missions with experienced crews. The “37” on the brim was for our 37th Bomb Squadron and the tiger head on top was our squadron insignia

© Amanda Pape - 2015 - click here to e-mail me.


  1. That is so neat! I LOVE your blog!

    1. Thanks Tracy! Blogging can really pay off in family history research!