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Devices worn by USMC in Haiti


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#1 SgtMaddoxUSMC

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 11:44 AM

I wanted to start a thread on some of different specialty devices that US Marines wore while serving in Haiti starting around 1919.  I will also be starting a similar thread regarding devices worn by Marines while in Nicaragua.  To begin, here is an excerpt from the book Livre Bleu d'Haiti (literally, the Blue Book of Haiti) on the chapter regarding the Armed Forces.  

"Soon after the landing of the U.S. Marines in Hayti, in August 1915, it became apparent that the existing police and military forces of Hayti were in need of a complete reorganization.  With this in view, steps were taken towards the institution of a Haytian Military Police organization which would take the place of all the existing military and police forces of the Republic.
This idea met with the favor of the Haytian and the United States governments and on September 16, 1919, a Treaty was signed between the two powers which among other agreements stipulated that a Gendarmerie should be organized which should take over all the military and police activities of Hayti.  The enlisted men of this organization were to be Haytians and the officers to be Americans until such a time as qualified Haytians could be found to take the places of these latter."

"With the exeption of the senior grades, practically all the officers were selected from the ranks of the Marine Corps. These young men selected from an organization of picked men soon mastered the difficulty of making themselves familiar with both the native dialect and many of the customs of the country."

In the following posts, I will show some close up portraits of Marines serving in the aforementioned capacities and you can observe the unique devices worn on covers, collars and shoulders during their time in Haiti.



#2 SgtMaddoxUSMC

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 12:27 PM

First, let's discuss the Coat of Arms of Haiti because a version of it was adapted when creating the Gendarmerie device.  

(From Wikipedia:) "The coat of arms of Haiti was originally introduced in 1807, and has appeared in its current form since 1986.
It shows six draped flags of the country, three on each side, which are located before a palm tree and cannons on a green lawn.  On the lawn various items are found, such as a drum, bugles, long guns, and ships anchors.  Above the palm tree, there is a Phrygian cap placed as a symbol of freedom.  On the lawn between the drum and ribbon there were supposed to be two pieces of chain with a broken link symbolizing the broken chain of slavery.  The ribbon bears the motto: L'Union Fait La Force (French, "Unity Makes Strength").

When it was adapted for use by the newly established Gendarmerie, the ribbon instead read "Gendarmerie d'Haiti" and after 1928 when the unit was renamed Garde d'Haiti the ribbon was redesigned once again to reflect the new organizational name.

Here is a variation of the coat of arms of Haiti on the cover of Livre Bleu d'Haiti:

Untitled.jpg
 



#3 SgtMaddoxUSMC

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 12:41 PM

Here is the first variation insignia reading GENDARMERIE D'HAITI  (this is taken from another forum thread but I cannot remember where... if this is your image and you like it removed please contact me)

post-503-1227890015.jpg


Edited by SgtMaddoxUSMC, 19 August 2016 - 12:42 PM.


#4 SgtMaddoxUSMC

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 12:44 PM

Here is the second style insignia after 1928 which reads GARDE D'HAITI (Image from Flying Tiger Antiques)
gardedhaitihtbdgusmc1928obv.jpg



#5 SgtMaddoxUSMC

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 01:41 PM

These came in bronze and also gold finishes and also were made in a smaller size for wear on lapels.  Here is one such gold lapel pin.  (Again, I cannot remember where I saved this image from so if you own it, please let me know!)
1_23c203178875cfd62cbabbb4ea2e9e09.jpg



#6 SgtMaddoxUSMC

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 01:51 PM

Here are two Marines wearing the device on campaign covers.  The Marine on the right is unidentified but the Marine on the left is William Robert Button who was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1919 after he (as a Corporal) led an engagement against rebels resulting in the death of the bandits' leader, Charlemagne Peralte.  He died in Haiti as a Sergeant a year and a half later from malaria.  

Note the inverted chevron device on the Marine's cover on the right.  I do not know the significance of this device - If anyone has any information relating to these devices, please let me know!

william r button MOH.jpg

UPDATE!! It appears the unidentified Marine is Sergeant Fausin Wirkus! See page two of this thread to read his interesting story

Edited by teufelhunde.ret, 20 August 2016 - 10:52 PM.


#7 SgtMaddoxUSMC

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 02:04 PM

Here is another Medal of Honor recipient (Sergeant) Herman Henry Hanneken wearing the same device while he was in Haiti.  He led the fight against Peralte alongside Button and received his MoH for the same action.  Five months later he shot and killed Osiris Joseph who was the rebel leader who succeeded Peralte - for this he was awarded a Navy Cross. He was commissioned as an officer shortly thereafter and trained the Gendarmerie d'Haiti.  He would go on to live a long life (dying at 93 of natural causes) after retiring from the Marines as a Brigadier General.  His service after Haiti included time in Brazil and Nicaragua, Commanding Officer of the 7th Marines at Guadalcanal, he also served in Peleliu and Cape Gloucester and he over course of his career was also awarded a second Navy Cross, Silver Star, Bronze Star and Legion of Merit. 
Hanneken_HH.jpg



#8 SgtMaddoxUSMC

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 03:23 PM

Here are several pith-style helmets with the device being worn.  These are courtesy of Peter Suciu at MilitarySunHelmets.  Check out their information on the origins of this style helmet! 
http://www.militarys...iber-sun-helmet

The first two helmets (which both appear to be Gendarmerie d'Haiti) are in the custody of the Museum at Quantico and the last (which is a Garde d'Haiti) is in a private collection.

(While the Marine Corps three-star General rank was not held until Thomas Holcomb was promoted to the rank in 1942 and a Marine four-star General did not appear (in an active role) until Alexander Vandegrift was promoted in 1945, Marines who trained Gendarmerie were appointed ranks that the regular Marine Corps did not at that time recognize - For example, a Major Smedley Butler was commissioned a Major General by the President of Haiti.)

USMC-Helmets-2550.jpg


Edited by SgtMaddoxUSMC, 19 August 2016 - 03:23 PM.


#9 SgtMaddoxUSMC

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 03:30 PM

Here is a portrait from the Blue Book of Lt E.A. Raymond.  In this portrait you can see the inverted chevrons like the one worn by the Marine in post 6, however Raymond wears double chevrons and the are on his shoulder strap.   You can also notice a collar device that the Marines wore which is composed of the letters G D H (Gendarmerie D'Haiti) in overlapping monogram style.  I have included my poor attempt to create a similar design on MS Paint to show it close-up.  Has anyone ever seen this device before in person or have one in their collection?

RAYMOND.jpg   GDH.jpg


Edited by SgtMaddoxUSMC, 19 August 2016 - 03:35 PM.


#10 SgtMaddoxUSMC

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 03:41 PM

These devices, too, appear to have been issued in both gold (like Raymond's) and bronze (shown here in Captain Emil Sorenson's portrait from the Blue Book).  Captain Sorenson also wears chevrons on his shoulder-straps.

SORENSON.jpg


Edited by SgtMaddoxUSMC, 19 August 2016 - 03:42 PM.


#11 SgtMaddoxUSMC

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 03:51 PM

Here is Lt. A.H. Haug wearing gold device on campaign cover and chevrons on shoulders.

HAUG.jpg



#12 SgtMaddoxUSMC

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 03:53 PM

Lt. P.A. Daggett wearing device on campaign cover and wearing chevrons on shirt collar.

DAGGETT.jpg



#13 SgtMaddoxUSMC

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 03:54 PM

Here is Lt. H.R. Kinney wearing the Gendarmerie device on an early crown bell cover and the GDH collar devices.

KINNEY.jpg



#14 Old Marine

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 03:58 PM

This is a good subject and you've done some good research.



#15 SgtMaddoxUSMC

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 03:58 PM

And here is a Doctor Albert Albrecht who served with the Marines wearing the same cover and collar devices as Lt. Kinney but also with what appear to be medical cross collar discs to the rears of the GDH devices.

ALBRECHT.jpg



#16 SgtMaddoxUSMC

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 04:00 PM

This is a good subject and you've done some good research.

Thanks Dennis!  It is something I have always been interested about but it such a narrow subject.  I am hoping some forum members might have some of these various devices! :D 



#17 SgtMaddoxUSMC

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 04:07 PM

Here is a photo of Marines with the American installed Haitian president Phillipe Sudre Dartiguenave.  The Marine seated on the right appears to be Lt. Daggett but here he wears his collar chevrons parallel with the corner of the collars.

maxresdefault.jpg

 



#18 Old Marine

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 04:23 PM

I am sorry that I have nothing to add to this interesting topic.  I have only seen this insignia at the Marine Museum.  I hope this thread draws out some rare insignia.



#19 SgtMaddoxUSMC

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 04:42 PM

Here are some of the chevron devices.  The top set of single chevrons and the double chevron on the right are from old auctions.  I cannot make out the hallmark on them, they may not even be the same manufacturer.  The three screwback chevrons I actually acquired last week, they are not hallmarked.  The image on the right also give you an idea of the dimensions of both the chevrons and the Gendarmerie cover device.

1915-1932-usmc-haitian-guardia_1_14c760c34447881a124ac418ba7ff431haitianguardiapolicacollar.jpg
 



#20 warguy

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 04:47 PM

Hope it is alright if I add a quick shot of my officers campaign hat with what you describe as the first pattern badge on it. Great thread! Kevin

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#21 SgtMaddoxUSMC

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 04:51 PM

Here is a gold screwback Gendarmerie badge:

GendarmerieDHaitiGoldCoverBadge.jpg



#22 SgtMaddoxUSMC

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 04:52 PM

Here is another bronze screwback Gendarmerie badge:

1920s-usmc-marine-corps-badge_1_99ef22e8c089f9c6bb8f2dcad53cfc21 (1).jpg



#23 SgtMaddoxUSMC

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 04:54 PM

Hope it is alright if I add a quick shot of my officers campaign hat with what you describe as the first pattern badge on it. Great thread! Kevin

What an awesome cover, Kevin!  Thank you for sharing it!  How is it attached to the cover?  Do you know if there is a hallmark on the device at all? 


Edited by SgtMaddoxUSMC, 19 August 2016 - 04:54 PM.


#24 SgtMaddoxUSMC

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 04:56 PM

Here is a bronze screwback Garde d'Haiti that also has a stabilizing pin at the top:

gardedhaitihtbdgusmc1928obv.jpg



#25 SgtMaddoxUSMC

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 05:07 PM

Here is an interesting bronze device with four prongs, Garde d'Haiti:

haitian-wwi-usmc-garde-haiti-hat_1_3d59040cdd036fc0deb217d6989433a3.jpg




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