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

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

  1. This is a good question and you'll find that there is a range of answers. My viewpoint is one that out of deference to military personel I would not wear the rank. It is a truth in advertising type of thing from my viewpoint, I would not want anyone to see it and think that I was something I wasn't. From the lowest private to the highest general, and ranks for all services, the rank is earned and there is sacrifice, if I have not done the earning or made the sacrafice I don not want anything to even suggest that I claim what is not mine.

    Re-enacting is different and in some circumstances you may do some things to honor say your dad or grandfather that is okay.

    But everyday stuff, for me i'd say no.
  2. Unless you are re-enacting at the time, no. I refrain from even wearing parts of my old uniforms, except at Memorial or Veteran's Day ceremonies, and I earned the rank on them.
  3. kampkatz

    kampkatz Practically Family

    Central Pennsylvania
    Widebrim says it clearly and with brevity. There is really nothing more to discuss.
  4. Dixon Cannon

    Dixon Cannon My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Sonoran Desert Hideaway
    Here in Arizona we had the story of Duke Tully, publisher of the Arizona Republic. He used to attend formal events in his formal whites and tell stories of service in Vietnam. He was a close friend of John McCain. The 'New Times' did some investigating and discovered 'the Duke' never served, never flew, never earned. His career was over and he left town in the dark of night.

    "Tully appeared to have a lot in common with his close friend, former Navy combat pilot and war hero McCain. Tully boasted of his 100 missions over Vietnam, retiring from the Air Force as a lieutenant-colonel. Tully's military service, according to Tully, included air combat in Korea, where he once was forced to crash land his P-51 Mustang fighter and spent time in a hospital as a result--so he said. His smashed front teeth were replaced with stainless steel, he also said.

    Tully, just like his friend McCain, claimed he had received the Purple Heart, Distinguished Flying Cross and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry.


    For a short time there was a thriving business of tee-shirts reading, "I Flew With The Duke"! All part of the history of the wild, wild west now.

    -dixon 'duke' cannon
  5. Gene

    Gene Practically Family

    New Orleans, La.
    #1 rule of military collecting is do your best not to be a "patch pirate," or rip off the insignia and patches of any piece of military clothing. Taking off the rank is actually doing a DISSERVICE to the man who proudly wore it. Honor his memories by keeping them on! If someone gives you lip about it, explain to them why you do it.
  6. green papaya

    green papaya One Too Many

    California, usa
    removing patches is like removing the history, maybe I'll just leave it "as is" but just dont wear it, just keep it in my collection.
  7. HodgePodge

    HodgePodge One of the Regulars

    I wouldn't want to pull the patches because that would ruin the history of the jacket, but I still wouldn't want to wear it because to me it still falls under the 'impersonating an officer' category regardless of whether the uniform is outdate.
    I get kinda ticked when I see 'military inspired' shirts and jackets that have imitations of the small bars of dress uniform ribbons on them.

    I once saw a guy at a bar that was wearing a Wermacht Assault Infantry Badge on his leather jacket. All he knew was that it was a WWII german pin. It looked cool, and I commented that it was definitely a neat piece to have got ahold of, but at the same time I thought to myself 'he shouldnt be wearing that. 60 years ago some guy younger than me went through hell for that little sucker, and here this guy is wearing it because it looks tough on his biker jacket.

    There was a thread elsewhere where someone said they didnt see a problem with putting RAF buttons on a blazer, because 'you didnt earn the buttons like a medal,' but I think the fact that you had to serve to be issued those buttons equates to 'earning' them.

    All this self-imposed idealism presents an obstacle in the way of my hankering for a reproduction 'wrapper' tunic like the Panzer corps and some assault troops wore, though......
  8. Edward

    Edward Bartender

    London, UK
    While I can see where you're coming from on this, the way I see it, if you can buy an issue item quite openly and easily in most any decent surplus shop, it's hardly the same thing as parading around in a rare medal that one claims to have earned.

    I also feel there's a world of difference between wearing, say, a rank-badged A2 as part of civilian get up, and swanning around in full uniform claiming ex-serviceman status. Of course, things may be different in the US, but as I said above here in the UK it is so unlikely to actually be a serviceman wearing issue-items when he doesn't have to that I very much doubt it's getting into impersonation territory. I used to wander round town in a black, ex-Metropolitan Police jacket that I picked up in a surplus shop. nobody ever mistook me for police.... probably to do with the bondage trousers I wore it with. lol

    Yes, I fancy one of those myself for civilian wear. I just wish the black wool Panzer Division ones had that handy front patch-pocket that the drill camo versions did. The one failing of my Harringtons is the lack of a sensible wallet pocket, and this makes me thing twice aout quite a few designs.
  9. scotrace

    scotrace Head Bartender Staff Member

    Small Town Ohio, USA
  10. Atticus Finch

    Atticus Finch Call Me a Cab

    Coastal North Carolina, USA
    I have seen 10 USC 771 enforced only in context of, (1) the prosecution of a person who was actively pretending to be a member of the military so as to gain certain monetary benefits and, (2) the prosecution of an anti-Iraq War protester who was a former Marine and who was wearing part of his old uniform while he protested. I will not comment on the politics that clearly motivated the second prosecution....but it occured before 2008.

    So I wouldn't worry too much about Federal prosecution for wearing a military uniform, unless you are wearing it to further some other possibly illegal purpose.

    That being said, I still wouldn't wear rank on a flight jacket. If it was an old jacket with historical value, I wouldn't remove the rank and I wouldn't wear the jacket. If it was a jacket without significant historical value, and truthfully, few Vietnam and post-Vietnam era jackets possess any such value, I would remove the rank and happily wear the jacket.

    Just my little opinion.

  11. Fiver64

    Fiver64 A-List Customer

    Fountain City, WI
    two cents worth

    IMHO, outside of re-enacting, and regardless of vague law, I personally think seeing someone wearing such things just screams "wannabe." Yes, the uniform is cool, period and historically collectible, but I always have to wonder what the wearer is thinking. Are they thinking, "Gee, I hope I can look really impressive and glean some of the stigma." Obviously, I don't know you from Adam, nor am I insinuating that you are such a person. To the contrary........you obviously have enough self-respect to ask the opinions of others. Kudos to you for that. I just think that wearing laurels which you have not earned, UNDER THE WRONG CIRCUMSTANCES, is just plain tacky.
  12. HarpPlayerGene

    HarpPlayerGene I'll Lock Up

    North Central Florida
    Thank you and so many others for serving. I didn't enter the military (although I was always mentally prepared to snap to it if called) but I am ever grateful to those who have and keenly aware that it is because of them that I sleep safely at night.


    To the point; nope, I would never wear a rank insignia on clothing. This has been a deal-breaker for me several times on vintage coats/jackets that I would have liked to own. But I wasn't going to wear the rank and I didn't want to be the one to remove them, so I left the items to be bought, hopefully, by someone who would deserve them more than I.
  13. Carlisle Blues

    Carlisle Blues My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Beautiful Horse Country
    If you have to ask, you already know the answer. No. [​IMG]
  14. MisterCairo

    MisterCairo I'll Lock Up

    Gads Hill, Ontario
    What CB said.
  15. aswatland

    aswatland My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Kent, England
    YES. I have several original A2s with rank insignia on them. I would not remove them as they are part of the history of each jacket. I can see no problem wearing them from time to time in the Uk with civi clothes as there would be no attempt to impersonate an officer. However, unless used for re-enacting I can't see the point in putting rank insignia on a repro jacket.
  16. LHR

    LHR New in Town

    Phoenix, AZ
    Well the good thing about an A-2 is that, strictly speaking, do not not need to put rank insignia on there. (Same for the shirt collar brass, BTW, if you are wearing this and hesitant about such things) The A-2 epaulet rank, for instance were either painted, sewn leather additions, bouillon, etc.,...or omitted. The more I looked into the USAAF uniform, from the hundreds of photos I could scrounge, the less uniform it appeared to be.
  17. Edward_Lindey

    Edward_Lindey One of the Regulars

    Hello, Still kinda new to the forum here but heres my take on it. If I saw someone wearing a non original A2 with rank and patches I would ask them where they are staitoned at. If they were a civilian I would ask them to remove the rank.

    My A2 has SGT chevrons, 101st patch, 506th patch and a nameplate. The only thing that is not curent to my service records is the 506th patch. My division does not have a patch so I put on one I respect.

    Would someone wear Boy Scout patches they did not earn? Or Masonic badges? I believe that you should earn the badge/rank before you wear it.

  18. Spitfire

    Spitfire I'll Lock Up

    Copenhagen, Denmark.
    This is a very intersting and touchy question. A some great reading.
    One thought came to my mind though.

    A lot of posts states "unless you are reenacting..." Why is that?
    Isn't reenactors reenacting because of interest in a certain period, in order to honour veterans and what they did?
    Do I - or anybody else - have to be organized in groups to show that interest or honour towards the greatest generation?
    Can't one person "reenact" and show that they honour the time, the men and history?
    Can't one person wear a jacket or boots or buttons or a badge or even rank on a jacket, without being member of a group of reenactors?
    To me the honour and the interst is the same.
    And I certainly do not need to - or want to be in any reenacting group, to honour veterans. I think about them every time I put on my Irvin. Or flying boots. Or blazer with WWII RAF buttons.
    (Besides - I may be old, but not old enough to have served in WWII - so nobody will think I did. Hopefully;) )

    Just my 5 cent...
  19. Spitfire....


  20. Carlisle Blues

    Carlisle Blues My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Beautiful Horse Country

    Well, not exactly....It depends on the intent of the one wearing the article. [huh]

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