Have been watching the A&NU badge with blue enamel top bar with silver oak leaves. Was hoping someone had special information on the meaning of this bar. Everything I know about the A&NU says this bar should not exist. But there it is.
A history of the A&NU written by the workers in the Writers' Program of the Work Projects Administration in the State of Ohio and published in 1942 contains a section on badges. From the different versions of badges in my collection and those posted on the Forum, I can only conclude the A&NU had many
badges in its lifetime. Most of the major variations occurred before WWI. Minor changes due to production techniques are evidenced from WWI to WWII. Similar minor changes due to manufacturer's style of producing the badge are evident from WWII until today.
The history of officer bars on the A&NU badge is equally complex. Before WWI, the A&NU had several version of colors for present and past officers and in one short period they changed the colors for Garrison, Dept. and National three times. Before 1920 they finally settled on the system still in use today--all present officers (Nat'l, Dept. and Garrison) have White enamel; past officers use the following color scheme--Nat'l is Dark Blue, Dept. is Purple and the Garrison is Red.
The officer bars illustrated in the book are traditional rank strap types starting with one single silver bar, two silver bars, gold oak leaf, silver oak leaf, silver eagle, one star, two stars, three stars and four stars. Only the office of Chaplain uses the symbolic Christian cross in place of military insignia.
The local unit, the Garrison or Naval Branch, uses rank straps up to silver oak leaf for the Commander. The Dept. uses rank straps up to silver eagle for the Commander. The Nat'l uses only star rank straps from one star to four stars for the Commander-in-Chief.
If only the Nat'l body uses Blue enamel for past officers and only stars for Nat'l officer positions, what is a Blue enamel bar with a silver oak leaf? It is not supposed to exist. But it does and I do not know what it represents. My current issue A&NU Constitution and Bylaws
, as well as the Book of Ceremonies
, contains no mention of badges--past or present officer and general member. Consequently, there is no way of knowing if this bar represents some position (such as Sgt-at-Arms) added at a later date to the Nat'l level, but not given a rank strap with star.
The A&NU Constitution & Bylaws is flexible in its treatment of officers in a Garrison, Dept. or Nat'l body. A certain number of job titles are mandatory, but some are flexible in that they may be added if the particular body wants or needs the position. There are also two additional subdivisions with the organization. The United States is divided into several AREAS (five or six states of similar history and geography) represented by a separate Jr. Vice-Commander at the Nat'l level. There is also a provision for County Councils
. When three or more Garrisons reside in one county of a state, that county may create an intermediate group call a County Council. Officers of the County Council are: Commander, Sr. and Jr. Vice-Commander, and other officers as the Council deems necessary (i.e., Historian, Chaplain, Adjutant, Sgt-at-Arms, etc.).
Now comes the fun part.
A recent A&NU item on eBay was so unusual; I had to bid on it. Illustration #1 is a very different A&NU badge with several bars on the ribbon. The red enamel bars at the bottom of the ribbon represent Garrison offices, while the purple enamel bars at the top of the ribbon represent Dept. offices. The green enamel bars in the middle of the ribbon were entirely new to me. Because of their position between the Garrison and Dept. officer bars, I can only conclude they represent County Council officer positions. Such bars did not exist in the 1942 history of the A&NU. Best guess--County Councils are post-WWII and so is the creation of this badge. As an added note: the red enamel bar with Capt. Insignia (Army) or Lieutenant Insignia (Navy) is solid red. The bar above it with silver oak Leaves has transparent red enamel. The two green enamel bars are solid enamel. The two purple enamel bars are transparent enamel. (The black bow ribbon is a typical period emblem for mourning of a deceased local member, Dept or Nat'l officer or well known national military person.)
A second A&NU badge sold with the above badge was a Past C-in-C badge shown in illustration #2. It has four stars on a blue enamel background. It also has an engravable disc hanging from two suspension rings attached to the bar. Have a Past Garrison Commander badge with such a disc engraved with the year 1979-80. Note that the multi-bar badge does not exhibit the suspension rings. Believe current issue bars also do not have these rings. The entire badge hangs from an R-W-B ribbon which is the fairly current method of wearing the heavy national officer badges. Note also the silver sun burst emblem behind the pendent. Believe this is typical of officer's badges since WWII (but it may have been the late 1950s or 1960s when this began). The stars on the bar have red centers and assume they are glued to the blue enamel since back of bar shows no evidence of rivets.
And there you have it; the worlds' longest non-answer to the question, "What does the blue bar with silver oak leaf represent?" The question is still unanswered because I do not know how it fits into the A&NU scheme.
Edited by frederick, 20 November 2008 - 02:03 PM.