Artifact Spotlight: U.S. Navy Boat Cloak, c. 1933

---John Pentangelo, Curator/Registrar

Admiral W.V. Pratt's boat cloak
and service dress blue coat
The museum has a substantial collection of material related to the naval career of Admiral William Veazie Pratt (1869-1957). The collection of medals, personal items, and uniforms  includes his regulation boat cloak. This type of boat cloak, first authorized in the late nineteenth century was worn by commissioned naval officers through both world wars but was omitted as a requirement in the 1947 uniform regulations. The garment, made of heavy wool with a  rolling velvet collar, is fastened below the neck with a frog. This same regulation cloak was often worn by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, most famously at the Yalta Conference in 1945.  Even the statue of the president (who also served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy), at the FDR Memorial in Washington, D.C. is seated wearing the cloak.

On 5 September 1925 Rear Admiral William Veazie Pratt began his term as President of the Naval War College. During his tenure, he restructured the staff to closely parallel the organization of fleet staffs and the Office of Naval Operations in order to ease the graduate’s transition to fleet duty. Pratt introduced the study of logistics, emphasized international relations, encouraged joint curricula and war games with the Army War College, and stressed the committee approach to strategic problem solving. He later became Chief of Naval Operations during the Hoover Administration.

Portrait of Admiral Pratt wearing the cloak as CNO
C.A. Slade, 1933. NWC Museum
 Gift of William Veazie Pratt, Jr.                                                                       75.03.08

Images courtesy of the Naval War College Museum


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