Rank and Patches on Military Jackets - Might I Offend a Veteran?

Discussion in 'WWII' started by scotrace, Jan 16, 2006.

  1. scotrace

    scotrace Head Bartender Staff Member

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    You were going to...

    ... paint jackets, weren't you Root? Any luck with that / examples?
     
  2. Sefton

    Sefton Call Me a Cab

    It's good advice all around. No rank but insignia is o.k. if you do it right. A little research will arm you with the information which will allow you to prove that you only mean to honor those who served. I think that if you can show that you know about the squadron or group insignia that you wear your chances of giving offense are remote (Although I have to admit that I haven't appiled insignia yet to my A-2. I will soon be wearing the 390th Bomb Squadron,42nd Bomb Group,13th Air Force squadron patch)
     
  3. Sefton

    Sefton Call Me a Cab

    Speaking about young people not knowing the history of WWII...I was riding a bus once in San Francisco when I overheard some teenagers talking. They were talking about WWII and the Vietnam war. They were sure that Vietnam probably happened in the 70s and that WWII was the 1960s! :eek: Gotta love those public schools.....
     
  4. Wild Root

    Wild Root Gone Home

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    Well, I was going to get my feet wet in that but, my first customer hasn't contacted me in a long time about it so, I'll let you all know when I have any samples and when I have tried it out.

    Now, here is the way I'd do it. If it's just an A-2 to wear around town running errands and what not, go with some original styled squadron patches and paint some cool art on the back of it. The trick is to keep it simple, not too cluttered. I'd leave off any rank on an A-2 seeing I have not seen any rank on any original A-2's. At that time the pilots would wear their rank on the collars and sleeves on their officer shirts. So, you don't really need to put any rank on your A-2. Just decorate it with an AAF patch on one sleeve and the other sleeve maybe the numbered Air Force you like the most. Paint a cool Pin-Up or maybe something funny like "Idiot's Delight" or another famous name of a B-17 or B-24. It's really up to you brother.

    =WR=
     
  5. Wild Root

    Wild Root Gone Home

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    OH MY, that makes me want to weep! That also reminds me of a funny story I'll share.

    I was in my WWII Enlisted class A's on route to a WWII USO Dance. I had to stop and get some gas and as I entered the shop to pay the Service attendant for the gas, a young man of the age I'd say 11 or 12 asked me what I was wearing. I told him kindly that it was an original WWII uniform. So, he said: Oh, cool I love the 1960's! I shuttered and said: 1960's? My dear boy, America entered WWII in 1941 and ended in 1945. He had no idea that war was around for that long! Share history with who ever you meet! Do it with kindness and it'll be a positive experience.

    =WR=
     
  6. Sefton

    Sefton Call Me a Cab

    Wild Root,
    I guess to an 11 year old the 1960s seems like 60 years ago! Suddenly I feel old....;)
     
  7. gdkenoyer

    gdkenoyer Familiar Face

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    As a Vietnam-era former USAF Staff Sergeant I find it offensive to see someone wearing rank that they've not earned. I agree 100% with the response from the Navy officer -- you would not walk about claiming to be an MD or PhD if you'd not earned it.

    Go with the unit insignia but skip the rank.
     
  8. Bebop

    Bebop Practically Family

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    I agree 100%. To me, it's not right to wear rank or wings without doing the time. I kind of feel the same way about dog tags that are becoming fashion accessories. I hate seeing someone who has no idea what tags are about, wearing them with their hip-hop clothing.
     
  9. Rigby Reardon

    Rigby Reardon One of the Regulars

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    I think you and I basically agree (about wings & rank), but as far as dog-tags, keep in mind they are a great way to carry crucial info - I have seen them now employed to carry medical condition info. I wouldn't fault folks for that.
     
  10. Wild Root

    Wild Root Gone Home

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    Ok, what would you say to me wearing an original WWII uniform with original rank to a USO WWII themed dance? Or a war time re-enactment?

    =WR=
     
  11. Hondo

    Hondo One Too Many

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    I?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢ve had no problems, I'm still need the tunic, and only having worn greens and pinks a few times, I've also had compliments from WWII Vets, on how good I look, (also from the ladies) I tell them its a tribute to my dad and those who served in WWII. I also don't wear any rank, awards, metals, just wings and if you flew in any WWII type planes, my take is you earned your wings; you?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢re not misrepresenting your self, just getting the authentic look, preserve history. Like Wild Root says do research.
    A2 is my next goal, along with the tunic..
     
  12. Zemke Fan

    Zemke Fan Call Me a Cab

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    FINALLY...

    A WWII post the draws some interest! Here's my two cents worth...

    I think it ALL depends upon the situation.

    EXAMPLE 1: An A-2 jacket for walking around wearing jeans and looking cool. Definitely leave off the rank insignia and wings. After all, the current USAF A-2 looks similar and you don't want to confuse anyone. As for squadron or group patches? Who really gives a damn? These things are always just fun, and unless you're 80+ years old, NO ONE will be confused. (Besides, most of the patches from the last 40 years look horrible!)

    EXAMPLE 2: Reenacting. The whole idea behind these events is to recreate the "look and feel" of the time. Rank insignia, wings, and ribbons (not medals) can be proudly worn to honor the era and those who served. On a tunic or an A-2 jacket ONLY worn at such events (I include USO dances in this category), I find nothing wrong with such embellishments.

    So, for me, I draw the line with medals (never) and rank insignia and/or wings (in situations where people might be confused/offended).
     
  13. Bebop

    Bebop Practically Family

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    Speaking of reenacting, I find reenacting to be kind of offensive. Not that there is anything wrong with being offended but......what is that all about? Pretending to be a soldier in a bloody horrible situation? Why would anyone want to recreate the look and especially the feel of a soldier in war? Is it the clothes? I don't get it and maybe that is why I think it's a little offensive.
     
  14. The Wingnut

    The Wingnut One Too Many

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    If you're satisfied with photographs and old newsreels, then there's not much appeal to reenacting. If you're satisfied with seeing objects under glass and in eternal stasis in a museum, lifeless and unmoving, then there's no appeal to reenacting.

    If you want some idea, up close and personal, of how it smelled, how things moved, were used, how they interacted, how people behaved, what the daily rigors were, reenacting provides this. It's not completely realistic and isn't intended to be for obvious reasons.

    Some people would never see what happened - what things look, feel, smell like in action, how they move - if wasn't for reenactors.

    There is no glory to war, and those who reenact to glorify it are in the hobby for all of the wrong reasons. People sacrificed selflessly for what we take for granted...were it not for reenactors, their legacy would be photographs, old films, and quiet, lifeless museums where once-animated objects gather dust and sit in a state of halted decay.

    I work in a militaria shop that houses a small yet impressive museum. The saddest part of the shop lies behind the doors leading into the area full of things that are never taken from their display cases. It is a still, dark, lifeless environment.

    ...if you have to ask this sort of question, what is the draw for you to this forum?
     
  15. Wild Root

    Wild Root Gone Home

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    AMEN!!! Yes, if you ask your self that question, why are you here? I have been to one re-enactment and I was with the German 352. Yes, I admit it, I was a filthy German most people think. Why would any one want to be an evil German? I'll tell you why, because some one has to do the dirty work and well, all my friends are in that group. It's interesting, only about 17% of the German Army were card carrying Nazis! So, the rest were just young guys who were fighting for Germany and not the Nazi ideal.

    Also, the guys I talk to that wear ranks on their uniforms who re-enact EARN it! Not by being in the military but, in their respective units they earn leadership and are promoted by good work and leadership. It's not as tough as the real military but, it's a fun hobby and it gives the individual and spectator a close up look at history. Some one once said that WWII re-enacting is sillier then Star Trekies! I just about had a fit! Trekies are living a make believe life! Star Trek never happened! Its fantasy and WWII really happened and was very, very real. I just finished work on a movie about the SS coming into Hungry in 1944. I played a roll of a Hungarian Jew who was enslaved by the SS into a work camp. Long story short, I had a glimpse of what it might have felt like and it was scary! When you do stuff like this, you get an idea of how good you have it in life! It's about stepping out of your comfort zone.

    Ok, stepping off of the soap box now but, just let me tell ya, Re-enactors of any period or war are good guys and fun to hang out with. They make it real because they study history with a fine toothed comb and do a proper impression of the time! Living history is a way of saying Re-enacting that's a little more palatable.

    Bebop, if you ever have a chance to visit a WWII Re-enactment of a battle or a living history camp, go for it, you will see what we mean.;)

    =WR=
     
  16. PADDY

    PADDY I'll Lock Up Bartender

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    Vintage flight jackets and wearing insignia...(offensive?)

    My personal opinion on this (and that's all it can be), is that it is more offensive to 'forget' the existence of these fine men and women who on both sides of the pond were 'our greatest generation!' Without these ordinary people who were called to do extraordinary things, we wouldn't have the modern democracy and freedom and western world that we live in today.

    Most of us here, don't just wear an A-2 or whatever the jacket might be. We are wearing memories as most of us will delve into the history of WWII and these flyers..etc.

    It might just be a repro vintage jacket, but it is so much more to us as it represents our honouring those folk who gave so much for us and put themselves through some of the most unimaginable situations, that we might now have the freedom to honour them and wear A2's and chat on forums like this 'today.'

    And if you want to honour a particular Bomb Group or Squadron because maybe there was a family connection, or for some reason you have just really become interested in it, or you just love the look of the patch because 'for you' it symbolises what that service means to you, then jolly well wear it!

    Because only by wearing these things guys, do we keep the interest and the torch burning. Already the British Govt. are considering changing REMEMBERANCE DAY to BRITISH DAY (to celebrate all things British, like football and tea...what a load of Poppycock!). People almost want to forget the sacrifice! These are real issues to worry about.

    So on the greater scale of things, wearing patches and even leather rank insignia on your flight jacket is not a major issue. You are honouring your forefathers and keeping their memory alive and if it creates discussion, it's got to be a good thing.

    BTW, if your leather (and I would go for leather) 'rank insignia' is done properly, it will blend nicely into your jacket (should hardly know it's even there), especially if you wire wool it a little bit to age it. It's amazing how subtle it can be and just lifts the jacket away from a mall jacket. But if you aren't happy with that, don't worry, as it's not overly common to have rank insignia on a leather jacket anyway from WWII.

    As for worries that it is so close to the modern USAF A-2s that they reintroduced a few years back. They are really awful looking jackets and no comparison at all to a 30s/40s cut historical A2. Just go for it, I do..!
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  17. boomerchop

    boomerchop One of the Regulars

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    I don't have a problem with that as it is basically re-enacting, and the event was set up for dress/appearance like that. But for every day street wear, not appropriate.
     
  18. BellyTank

    BellyTank I'll Lock Up

    Scott-

    If the rank is an issue, then leave it off. Same could be said for the wings I guess. Most A-2s had nothing on them at all- an A-2 with group and squadron patches, back-art, pilot wings AND rank is pretty rare and wasn't really the norm.

    I think if anything- the rank could be an issue- but then we're talking rank from 60+ years ago.

    B
    T
     
  19. airfrogusmc

    airfrogusmc Suspended

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    Location:
    Oak Park Illinois
    The thing that I think some vets have a problem with is how hard it is to earn the right to wear wings and to get rank. For instance being a Marine it was hard enough to get thru boot camp then on to basic helicopter school. There were allot of guys that didn't make it. Then after you graduate from there on to your specific aircraft school then hours upon hours of flight training. Then to become a crewchief NATOPS tests and flight evaluations. Even fewer make it past this point. Usually takes about a year or so to earn you aircrew wings then even more time to become a crewchief. Now you have civilians or people that weren't fightcrew that now just go out and buy their way into something that some worked very hard for. These things weren't given to you they were earned. To have your rank and wings pinned on...You Marines know what I'm talk'n about would send most civilians running....If you've earned it wear it, if not don't...
    S/F
    Allen
     
  20. PrettySquareGal

    PrettySquareGal I'll Lock Up

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    How is asking a question about reenacting inconsistent with being interested in history?
     

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