The upper picture is of one of the jump wings issued to me by the Vietnamese. For several months before I arrived and for most of my tour in Vietnam, we had a platoon of Vietnamese assigned to our Recon company and they sometimes patrolled with us. We made several parachute jumps with them out of old C-47s and helicopters and those of us who jumped with them were awarded their jump wings. I had two pair; I wore one on my jungle jacket and kept the other in my sea bag. Consequently the sea bag pair were in the best shape and they went in the shadow box with my other Marine medals, etc. Since I couldn't get the one in the shadow box to photograph well through the glass (and I could not photo the back anyway) I resorted to taking a pic of the loose one.
The bottom one is a South Vietnamese 1LT rank insignia (normally they came in pairs). This was given to my Platoon Leader by his Vietnamese counterpart and he wore it on the pocket flap of his jungle jacket during the time the Vietnamese troops were with us. He gave this one to me several years ago during one of our unit reunions.
One thing that surprised me at the time, and continues to amaze me, is how cheaply the Vietnamese insignia were made. The jump wings are made from a rather soft metal and the 1LT insignia are very thin brass stampings. Without an awful lot of effort, one could literally bend either one in half. The same thing could be said for some of the metal Vietnamese unit crest pins I brought back as well. Really crappy stuff; I am baffled that any of it survives today.
Edited by USMCRECON, 17 September 2007 - 04:59 AM.