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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    Great thread

    Interesting that opinions differ so much.

    Does anyone have any clues or tips on researching my dad's service record? Where to start? I have the discharge papers, that's it.

    And thanks, Paddy. Great insight here as usual.
     
  2. Hondo

    Hondo One Too Many

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    1,655
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    Northern California

    You might try this one, benefiting all branches of service :cool2:

    http://www.military.com/
     
  3. Wild Root

    Wild Root Gone Home

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    The question wasn't about re-enacting, it was the thought to what purpose re-enacting has and why people do it. Look at world history, it's about 80% (if not more) about war. War has been around ever since day one and that's how it will be. It's sad but, war will come and go and it's just going to be like that. I don't like it any more then any one but, that's the way the world is.

    I'd bet you that most people who know anything about the 1940's, if you were to ask them what's the first thing that comes to their mind when the 1940's are mentioned, WWII is the first thing that would come to mind.

    =WR=

    PS. I never wear a WWII uniform around town.
     
  4. Captain Krunch

    Captain Krunch Familiar Face

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    Virginia/WDC
    I was in the Air Force and got out as a captain - so when I decided to get a repro A-2, I went ahead and added captain's bars to the shoulders. I wear this repro jacket around town a lot, and I've never felt uncomfortable in doing so. Some people joked why didn't I put higher rank on the jacket, but I've never had any desire to be anything other than what I was (Plus, "Captain Krunch" has a nice ring to it). I also added an 8th Air Force patch to the shoulder, despite never having been stationed in England - but in this instance, it's a way to honor a WWII Army Air Forces organization that I have personal affinity for. Beyond these two items, as well as the leather name tag, I would never add any ratings to my jacket or shirt that I didn't get. When I entered the Air Force, I had hoped to become a pilot, but due to a minor medical issue I didn't get the chance. Yet because of the importance of this to me, I will never wear Air Force wings - for me, it would be the wrong thing to do on a repro jacket.

    On the other hand, if I were to get my hands on an authentic jacket from that era that had all the accoutrements in question on it, I would probably wear it. I think Paddy hit it on the nose. If we don't wear these things, people will forget about the people of that era and the sacrifices they made. I for one would much rather see an original jacket being worn and appreciated by a WWII buff than have it stored away in some musty box somewhere. If we don't keep those torches burning, who will? So the bottom line for me is, as long as the person wearing a jacket adorned with accessories is knowledgeable about the branch of service and its organizations, and does so in a thoughtful and honorable way, I don't think that I as a military veteran would be offended by it.

    By the way, Wingnut, which militaria shop do you work in? Is it the Petaluma one?

    Krunch
     
  5. scotrace

    scotrace Head Bartender Staff Member

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    Just for around town

    I don't do any re-enactment stuff, so it'll just be for me.
     
  6. I'm with BeBop on the reenacting thing. I don't get why people do it. But am i offended by it? No. I can't see anything offensive about it. If people are having fun, let them have fun and i'll just continue not getting it. Most people can't understand why i want to wear suits, let alone 70-80 year old suits that some old guy died in!

    I'm interested in old uniforms because they look good. Particularly (unfortunately) the German uniforms. Those guys knew how to design clothing!

    I can see why it would be irritating to veterans to see someone wearing rank identifiers without having earned that rank. It would be like (as someone said earlier) everyone deciding to call themselves PhD (or even BSc) when they haven't gone through the many years of drudgery to earn the degree. But i don't think many reenactors are pretending to hold the rank they wear. Now, were someone to be walking around a reenactment gathering saying "I am a major" or whatever, then that'd probably be a problem.

    bk
     
  7. Wild Root

    Wild Root Gone Home

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    Sounds good scotrace. I'd just put on an Air Force patch (1st-20th which ever you like) and maybe a group patch. Nose art on the back can be fun and will never offend a vet, they always love to see girls on the back of jackets! Leave off any rank or wings. Keep it simple, that's the real beauty!

    =WR=
     
  8. Captain Krunch

    Captain Krunch Familiar Face

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    85
    Location:
    Virginia/WDC
    You can start at the National Archives. As next-of-kin, you should have very little problem in getting your father's records. But be aware that what the Archives have on your dad might be the same paperwork you already have. That happened with my grandfather's records; we already had everything so we didn't learn anything new.
     
  9. PrettySquareGal

    PrettySquareGal I'll Lock Up

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    Oh yes, I am familiar with war and its propensity to repeat itself. I just thought it was a valid question, to ask about its merit. I had wondered myself. Civil War- there's no footage, so re-enactors help understand history.

    I can understand reenacting if it is done in a public setting as a historical performance to educate people. I can understand how it might give some insight to historians. Because it's a free country, and freedom isn't free, I love it when people exercise their right to express themselves in whatever way they choose. I can see how that is honoring the freedom for which many fought and died. I don't see how that it is actively helping veterans, though.

    As mentioned, we have actual footage of WWII. Is that not the best source?

    There are many families with deployed spouses, and they need volunteers to help with yard upkeep, childcare and of course someone to talk to.Volunteers are few and far between. It's difficult for me to understand those who simply like to look the part but don't want to really get into the non-glamorous non-public service to those who serve for us. That's not directed at anyone here, just thoughts I've had about re-enacting in general. I was glad Bebop asked what he did.
     
  10. Wild Root

    Wild Root Gone Home

    Messages:
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    Monrovia California.
    For Vets, it stirs emotions with in them when they see it. For an instant, they relive a part of their life and things are rekindled. Memories of friends and loved ones, times gone by, it's getting a hands on experience apposed to watching a black and white or colored film about it. You couldn't ever understand what I'm trying to say if you have never put on an original uniform, go out and use only 1940's equipment. You will gain a new respect for what our ancestors did! That's why it's called "Living History" you put your self into the spot. Re-enactments are held about 4-5 times a year. They're not just an escape for guys to go out and play army men. It's about preservation of our history and giving people an eye witness account of what this was and why we shouldn't forget!

    Thank you,
    =WR=

    PS. They use REAL Sherman?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s, and other WWII vehicles. It's rather sophisticated. I?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢m telling you, when your hiding behind a bush and see that tank come up around the corner, it?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s scary!
     
  11. Biltmore Bob

    Biltmore Bob Suspended

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    Scott...

    ...just go with the 'straight' A2. I wouldn't screw around with patches or paintings.
     
  12. BellyTank

    BellyTank I'll Lock Up

    Me too Baron- those Jerry uniforms are boss! Hugo Boss actually-

    B
    T
     
  13. scotrace

    scotrace Head Bartender Staff Member

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    Thanks VERY much for the tip. I've faxed off requests for the information.
    There's surprisingly a good bit on the discharge form.
     
  14. RAAF

    RAAF New in Town

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    Very interesting thread. Clearly opinions vary widely and, in the end, are just that -- opinions.

    I found the discussion on the A-2 illuminating and would add the following. While I don't aspire to wear an A-2 with artwork or rank on it, I did add the WW2-style name strip to mine.

    As was pointed out, the vast majority of WW2 A-2 jackets are devoid of badging. I would suspect that jackets with just name strips were a distant second and those sporting rank/squadron patches/etc lagging a very distant third.

    I've seen a few folks out and about wearing jackets with artwork on the backs and, other than being an attention-getter, I've not seen or heard of anyone being accosted for doing so.

    I would ask the following with regards to badged-up/painted jackets. The following is purely hypothetical and presented to promote discussion:
    What if the A-2 is painted up with ficticious artwork complete with ficticious squadron patches, etc? There can be no affront to WW2 vets since the motif is entirely fabricated. Or, since this jacket bears a similar badge format to a WW2-era jacket, is the wearer just as guilty as if he used real designs?

    Along the same lines, what about a 20-something wearing an A-2 they purchased at a thift store that's complete with artwork, patches, and rank? Disregarding the historical value of the jacket, to the wearer it's just a 'cool old jacket'.

    The reenactor opinions have also been quite illuminating. I found it interesting (my interpretation/observation/opinion) that one could hop into the uniform of a Confederate or Union Army general with full badging and wander around town and nobody would care (beyond maybe a snicker and curious stare). Put the same person in a WW2-era uniform with similar badging and suddenly the same scenario is met with fairly high percentage disapproval by those commenting on this thread. Change our man again into a WW1-era uniform and we're once again not a source of offense to anyone. The effects of an event still being within the sphere of living memory(participants still alive) is pretty telling, isn't it.

    In another 20 years, WW2-era uniforms will appear just as antiquated as CW and WW1 uniforms appear to us today and we'll all be complaining about Gulf War reenactors wearing those hideous Avirex A-2s!
     
  15. varga49

    varga49 One of the Regulars

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    Last Feb 16 in Fredericksburg...

    We had a parade honoring the soldiers who fought the battle of Iwo Jima. I recall dozens of WWII reinactors mixed with the many veterans. I also saw many people wearing WWII and later military flight jackets, some sporting squadron insignias. Most of the folks wearing them were obviousley too young to have been in wwII. I recall seeing a couple of the iwo jima veterans talking with a group of young folks. one of the veterans was telling a young man about the insignias on his jacket. No one was offended. It was especially nice to see younger people saying a smiple "thanks for serving" to these heros! For some lengthy articles on the event here's a URL
    http://www.fredericksburgstandard.com/articles/2005/02/16/news/01news.txt
     
    kliffjumper123 likes this.
  16. ShanghaiJack

    ShanghaiJack One of the Regulars

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    Location:
    U.S.A.
    Veterans

    A story from Shanghai's past......

    In 1988 i was at the base lake [Offutt AFB] playing sand Volleyball with my then girlfriend, and a group of fellow ruffians. It was a cool Spring afternoon and i was wearing a repro A-2. I had the back painted, and it was adorned with squadron & rank insignia. During a lull in the game, an elderly gentleman yelled at me to come to him. And, respecting my elders, I did. He asked me to take off my jacket, I complied. He asked if he could try it on, I of course said yes. He became a bit emotional, and said the last time he wore one of these is when he came back from the War. He had been a Navigator on B-17s
    ETO. He said his wife couldnt walk well, and she was in the "RV" reading a book, could he wear it and show it to her? I said certainly. At that moment, as he was walking away tword the parking area, I didnt care if he'd just drive away with it. I was honored. We [ruffians] resumed our game, and 20 + mins later he came back with my jacket. Thanked me, and shared a few stories with me....

    Tails Up!
    SJ
     
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  17. scotrace

    scotrace Head Bartender Staff Member

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    14,313
    Location:
    Small Town Ohio, USA
    Done and done


    I sent off the request and the result arrived today. Sadly, my father's records were lost in a fire in 1973. They were only able to send a certificate of service with information already in hand.

    So that, as they say, is that.
    Much of his collected momentos were lost years ago. But. I have one cool item. A white circular piece of cloth, with black swastika, cut from the center of a flag, with the bearer's blood stains. Kind of a grisly thing, but also pretty fascinating. If it weren't so offesnive, I'd have it sewen into the A2 lining when it arrives. But THAT would be asking for trouble in eight languages.

    Thanks again for the tip Captin Krunch.
     
  18. Odysseus

    Odysseus New in Town

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    Location:
    Moscow, Idaho
    Great thread! I am looking to create a 506 PIR (Band of Brothers) A-2. I just ordered a chest patch for that. My guideline is not to use insignia of units still in existence. While the 506th was disbanded after WWII, the 101st Airborne is still active and I will leave that patch off of the jacket. No rank insignia or qualification badges, either.
     
  19. airfrogusmc

    airfrogusmc Suspended

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    Location:
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    Are you getting a McCoys A-2?
     
  20. Odysseus

    Odysseus New in Town

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    Location:
    Moscow, Idaho
    I would like to get a McCoys. i know they made the jackets for the series. However, their jackets are way out of my price range. I'll probably end up getting a US Wings horsehide A-2. Won't be down-to-the-stitch accurate, but it will be good enough for me.
     

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