In regard to the 91st Division’s “Wild West” insignia variation, according to the following extract from a division history, the 91st Division was unofficially known as the “Wild West Divison” in 1917, during its organization at Camp Lewis, Washington. Because the insignia bearing an evergreen tree was not officially adopted until December of 1918, it would seem logical that the “Wild West” insignia was likely in use prior to the adoption of the evergreen tree design:
While the Division was serving in Belgium orders were received to submit to the Commander-in-Chief a pattern and description of a divisional distinctive insignia to be worn on the left shoulder of the blouse. The insignia recommended was a fir tree of green cloth, inscribed within a triangle with base of two inches and altitude two inches. This having been approved, orders were issued in December announcing the insignia and directing the Quartermaster to furnish the proper number for each officer and man.
While the Division served at la Ferte Bernard the following orders were issued to announce the name by which the Division was popularly known, the distinctive divisional insignia and motto:
Headquarters 91st Division,
January 29, 1919
- The name “Wild West Division” by which this division has been known since the days of its organization at Camp Lewis, Washington 1917, is officially recognized as the distinctive divisional name.
- The distinctive divisional design, a green fir tree, adopted as a personal badge, to be worn by each officer and man of the Division (G.O. 57, 91st Division, 1918), is emblematic not only of the foliage found in each state from which the personnel of this Division was selected, but the ever green and ever useful character of this foliage is emblematic also of the state of readiness and the degree of usefulness which has characterized, and should continue to be the aim of, each unit of the Division.
- Since this Division was ready to participate in the St.-Mihiel Salient operation while standing in the reserve of the First American Army; since it was ready to attack in the front line of the Fifth Army Corps, From Foret de Heese, when the Commander-in-Chief launched his attack against the enemy’s line of communications between the Meuse River and the Argonne Forest; since some of its units were already entraining for Belgium before others, marching from the firing line, had reached the railroad; since its units never hesitated to attack the most formidable of the enemy’s defenses in Belgium; and since its members are now ready, either to return to the United States and resume the pursuits of peace, or to continue their service wherever ordered by the Commander-in-Chief, the phrase “Always Ready” is adopted as the divisional motto.
By command of Major General Johnston:
Henry C. Jewett
Colonel, General Staff, Chief of Staff
(Signed) D. J. Coman,
Major, A. G. Adjutant
The Story of the 91st Division, 1919, 91st Division Publication Committee, page 84, 85
By the way, the full text of “The Story of the 91st Division” can be found online at the following link:
Edited by world war I nerd, 16 October 2016 - 04:43 AM.