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Foreign awards on US Army uniforms


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#1 FTLewisBrat

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Posted 29 October 2019 - 04:39 AM

My morning routine is pretty standard; get up to let the dog out, make a pot of coffee, wife comes down flips on The Today Show, I do my best to ignore the inane babel emanating from the TV.

This morning however there was a segment about US military dogs and their role in the raid that recently killed an ISIS leader.

Within the story GEN Milley was talking about the K9 involved in the raid. As he was making his announcement, I noticed a set of French Paratrooper Wings on the right side of his uniform above his breast pocket.

I don't know why, but after 40 years of collecting I don't think I never noticed foreign awards on us uniforms.

When I looked up the generals official awards, one is the French Paratrooper award. After finding the most current uniform regulation that talks about wearing foreign awards, I found myself wondering when this started.

Does anyone know when US Army personnel started wearing foreign awards, or, have any old school uniform pictures where this is the case?

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Edited by FTLewisBrat, 29 October 2019 - 04:41 AM.


#2 MattS

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Posted 29 October 2019 - 04:52 AM

Technically it's foreign badges, not awards (which would be worn as ribbons on the bottom of the rack). This has been standard practice for decades, always worn on the right side opposite US qualification badges, and foreign decorations always have the lowest precedence on the ribbon bar. From AR 670-1:

a. Personnel may not wear more than one foreign badge at a time. Only those badges awarded in recognition of military activities by the military department of the host country are authorized for acceptance and permanent wear on the Army uniform. The only Vietnamese badges authorized for wear are the parachute, ranger, and explosive ordnance disposal badges. Soldiers must obtain approval from HQDA, in accordance with the procedures provided in AR 600 8.22, to accept, retain, and wear a foreign badge.

b. Males wear a foreign badge 1/8 inch above the right pocket flap, or 1/2 inch above any unit awards that are worn (see fig 29.84). Females wear the badge 1/2 inch above the nameplate, or 1/2 inch above any unit awards that are worn (see fig 29.85). Personnel may not wear a foreign badge unless at least one U.S. medal or service ribbon is worn at the same time. Foreign badges are not authorized for wear on mess or utility uniforms. Personnel may not wear foreign badges that are awarded only as cloth badges. Personnel may not wear foreign badges that cannot be worn properly because of size or configuration.

[1]
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c. The German Marksmanship Award (Schuetzenschnur) is authorized for wear only by enlisted personnel. Officers may accept, but may not wear the Schuetzenschnur. If authorized, personnel wear the award on the right side of the uniform coat, with the upper portion attached under the center of the shoulder loop, and the bottom portion attached under the lapel to a button mounted specifically for wear of this award.

 

 

General Norman Schwarzkopf with his Republic of Vietnam Master Parachutist badge:

Gen Norman.jpg

 

 


Edited by MattS, 29 October 2019 - 04:57 AM.


#3 MattS

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Posted 29 October 2019 - 05:03 AM

GEN Gary Luck wearing his Vietnamese parachutist badge in 1983. Many SF soldiers in Vietnam wore these on their fatigues also. 

General_Gary_Edward_Luck.jpg

 

GEN Hugh Shelton wearing his German Parachutist badge in bronze. 

384px-General_Henry_Shelton,_official_portrait_2.jpg

 

 



#4 FTLewisBrat

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Posted 29 October 2019 - 05:09 AM

Thanks for the info. I can't believe I've never noticed the foreign badges before, I suppose I should start paying more attention to dress uniforms.

Edited by FTLewisBrat, 29 October 2019 - 05:15 AM.


#5 MattS

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Posted 29 October 2019 - 05:36 AM

I don't know how far back this tradition goes, but I'm reminded of the Eagle Squadron pilots of WW2 that wore their RAF wings in that position. 

MAJ James Goodson, USAAF

Eagle squ.jpg

 

https://www.obitofth...41/jamesgoodson


Edited by MattS, 29 October 2019 - 05:36 AM.


#6 manayunkman

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Posted 29 October 2019 - 05:41 AM

There are a wealth of threads on the forum about foreign awards.

#7 patches

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Posted 29 October 2019 - 03:34 PM

Goes back long long time FtLewisBrat.

 

A 1956 example, the Exec of the 2nd Battalion 60th Infantry 9th Infantry Division Major Felix W.Stanley at Ft Carson Colorado, wearing the first pattern 1948 Nationalist Chinese Jump Wings.

 

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#8 patches

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Posted 29 October 2019 - 03:39 PM

And even on Fatiques, here a direct embroidered subdued cloth version of the Nationalist Chinese Airborne Basic badge on a  Green Beret officer in Vietnam.

 

post-34986-0-64304300-1369854034.jpgpost-34986-0-39006500-1369854043.jpg



#9 patches

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Posted 29 October 2019 - 04:01 PM

Laotion Jumps Wings, again Vietnam Green Berets, Laotion Wings are practically like the French ones, cause the French formed them.

 

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Edited by patches, 29 October 2019 - 04:14 PM.


#10 patches

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Posted 29 October 2019 - 04:05 PM

There a really great topic were a 3rd Pattern West German Jump Wing is sown to a 60s fatique shirt but can't find it now.

 

This type here, one on shirt was the subdued version.

 

kkl300.jpg



#11 FTLewisBrat

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Posted 29 October 2019 - 04:06 PM

Those are cool pics, thanks!

Edited by FTLewisBrat, 29 October 2019 - 04:09 PM.


#12 patches

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Posted 29 October 2019 - 04:11 PM

And one more, a 1970s Drill Sergeant wearing a full Color West German Einezelkämpfer badge (Commando Course if you like)

 

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Edited by patches, 29 October 2019 - 04:15 PM.


#13 patches

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Posted 29 October 2019 - 04:13 PM

https://ec.militaryt...s/r600_8_22.pdf

Army Regulation 600-8-22  Appendix D and E  has list of authorized foreign badges and awards



#14 Martinjmpr

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Posted 29 October 2019 - 06:02 PM

There's no limit to the number of foreign awards a soldier can receive but they can only WEAR one at a time, and only on the Class A or B uniform.  

 

When I first came in back in 1980 it was fairly common to see foreign awards on fatigue uniforms too.  I don't know if it was officially sanctioned but it was pretty common to see.  Particularly guys who had been in Vietnam would often have Vietnamese jump wings or other badges on the right side of their fatigues above the name tape.  That practice continued into the BDU era, I even remember seeing it as late as 1987.  Some time around then the "official" word came out that foreign awards were not authorized on BDU uniforms and AFAIK that rule still exists with regard to combat/duty uniforms.  



#15 MattS

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Posted 30 October 2019 - 04:13 AM

I agree Martin, by 1990 foreign awards on BDUs were verboten. My 1SG at my first duty station (Ft Hood) was a Vietnam vet with a different combat patch for every day of the week. I didn't know he had Vietnamese jump wings until he showed up for our first Class A inspection all decked out. I still remember a PFC asking, "What's that ribbon, first sergeant?". Top Hawkins looked down and replied, "Purple Heart". PFC Snuffy (not his real name, he actually later retired as a 1SG himself from the 10th Mountain) asked, "What do you have to do to get that?", and Top replied quietly, "Get shot." 



#16 jeeplover

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Posted 31 October 2019 - 07:32 PM

well now i have a question? would foreign awards be recognized on the service record? does any one have records that show this? ok so it was 2 questions.



#17 Grunt1SG

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Posted 31 October 2019 - 10:14 PM

well now i have a question? would foreign awards be recognized on the service record? does any one have records that show this? ok so it was 2 questions.

 

If they went through the proper steps as outlined by Matts above it will be added to their service record.

 

My records show all of the foreign badges that I did the paperwork for.


Edited by Grunt1SG, 31 October 2019 - 10:15 PM.


#18 Martinjmpr

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Posted 01 November 2019 - 09:01 AM



well now i have a question? would foreign awards be recognized on the service record? does any one have records that show this? ok so it was 2 questions.

 

There should be a set of orders.  The orders would say something like "The following individual is awarded the [insert name of foreign award]." 

 

When I was in (1980 - 2005) there were basically two categories of foreign awards. 

 

The first were those that had been "recognized" as eligible to be awarded to soldiers, because so many US soldiers had been awarded them.  This includes things like the German marksmanship badge (Schuetzenschnuer), airborne wings from most NATO countries and other recognized US allies (Australia, South Korea, South Vietnam, etc), Ranger or "Commando course" badges for various NATO countries or US allies, and so on.  

 

For those, all it took was a simple memorandum, usually from the Battalion, Group or Brigade S-1 (personnel officer or adjutant) stating that the soldier met the qualifications to be awarded the badge as of such-and-such date.  Often these were "group" orders, that is to say, the S-1 would issue one "order" and it would have a list of names and SSN's on it, and all of the personnel listed would be awarded, and all of them would receive a copy of the memo to be put into their 201 file (official military records.)  At the time the soldier was discharged, as long as the order for the award was in the official records, it could be put on the DD-214 (discharge certificate) under "awards and decorations" and from that point on, it is a "permanent" award for all practical purposes. 

 

The second, and much smaller category, were those foreign awards that had not been "officially certified" and accepted by the US Army.  Often times these were awards from countries that the US military had very little contact with, which is why their awards had not been previously "recognized." 

 

For those awards, there was a two-step process.  First, the commander of the unit that wanted to award the badge had to get it "approved", I think by the first 1 star or higher command (in practical terms, that meant Division or higher.)  For Special Forces units, that often train with foreign military forces in small countries around the world, this usually meant it couldn't just go to Group level (An SF Group is commanded by a full colonel, O-6), instead it had to go to USASOC (US Army Special Operations Command), which was the 3-star command that was over all Special Forces units.  I believe (not 100% sure) that USASOC then had to get the concurrence of the "Big Army" G1, or DCSPER (Deputy Chief of Staff, Personnel). 

 

Once THAT was done, then the battalion or group could request that the soldiers be awarded the badge. 

 

The reason I know this is because when my unit (3rd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group) deployed to Zimbabwe in 1995 for an exercise called Flintlock 95, we all went through the Zimbabwe Airborne course and were "awarded" the Zimbabwe parachutist badge.  I worked with the assistant Defense Attaché Officer (DAO) to submit the paperwork to USASOC and DCSPER to get the Zimbabwe parachute badge "recognized' as an authorized award for US Army personnel.  The auth took a couple of months to come through, but after it did, we received published orders that awarded us the Zimbabwe Parachute badge. 

 

Since the US no longer has military relations with Zimbabwe (due to their human rights abuses), the Zimbabwe parachutist badge is probably the "rarest" award I have.  I would estimate than not more than 300 soldiers in the US Army ever received that award. 

 

Last time I got a DD-214 (when I returned from the Iraqi theater in 2004), the clerk asked me about awards and I said "make sure you put my Zimbabwe parachutist badge on there."  He said "ha ha, funny" thinking it was a joke, until I showed him the orders. 


 



#19 collectsmedals

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Posted 02 November 2019 - 01:52 PM

My Father was in World War II with the 509 Parachute Infantry Regiment. He wore a French 3rd Zouave badge on his uniform right pocket and a set of British Parachute wings over right pocket flap. I have heard (but cannot corroborate) that the 3rd Zouave badge was the first foreign badge allowed to be worn on a U.S. uniform in World War II.



#20 patches

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Posted 02 November 2019 - 04:54 PM

My Father was in World War II with the 509 Parachute Infantry Regiment. He wore a French 3rd Zouave badge on his uniform right pocket and a set of British Parachute wings over right pocket flap. I have heard (but cannot corroborate) that the 3rd Zouave badge was the first foreign badge allowed to be worn on a U.S. uniform in World War II.

This is true, but in this case the badge for the 3ème Régiment de Zouave is not a qualification skill badge in the way the wings are, even South Vietnamese ARVN badges like Armor, Engineers etc, Foreign Ranger/Commando type badges etc  but will be a unit badge, today it's still worn in the 509th,
 
While the 3rd Zouave Badge could still be worn by WWII vets of the 509th PIB still serving in the 50s-60s, it will not be worn by say a guy who served in the 509th in the 60s and moved  on to another unit, even say a non jump infantry unit, it will be a piece of insignia worn only hen in the unit.
 
Here's a talk with photos on the badge.
 


#21 63 RECON

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Posted 04 November 2019 - 12:45 AM

OG 107 Shirt named to Alvin E Graham with Bolivian jump wings. He was part of a MTT that trained Bolivian soldiers in '67. 

 

Shirt with wings is not mine but I have another named to Graham and another jungle jacket named to a Daniel Chapa and you can see the outline where the same wings were.

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#22 Gregory

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Posted 04 November 2019 - 06:26 AM

I don't know how far back this tradition goes, but I'm reminded of the Eagle Squadron pilots of WW2 that wore their RAF wings in that position. 

MAJ James Goodson, USAAF

attachicon.gifEagle squ.jpg

 

https://www.obitofth...41/jamesgoodson

 

The same goes for the Polish Pilot's Badge.

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#23 Gregory

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Posted 04 November 2019 - 06:43 AM

But this position was not an iron rule...

 

Lt. Col. Francis Gabreski.

 

 

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#24 patches

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Posted 04 November 2019 - 08:25 AM

Gegoy, were these Polish Air Force Badges purely honorary?



#25 Gregory

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Posted 04 November 2019 - 09:23 AM

Gregoy, were these Polish Air Force Badges purely honorary?

 

It depends for whom.

 

1. In my first post Maj. Gen. Samuel E. Anderson can be seen. He received this badge honorary.

 

2. Francis Gabreski is an other story. The Polish Air Force fighter pilots and the USAAF 56th FG fighter pilots were the friends. When more AAF fighter pilots arrived UK (after the BoB and US Eagle Squadrons episode) the RAF and PAF fighter pilots trained AAF fighters and explained them the German tactics and mentality. And the USAAFers fought in the PAF Fighter Squadrons. Next the roles were reversed -- the PAF fighter pilots fought in the AAF 56th FG, you know Łanowski & Company, so to say. In this case both Gabreski's and the other AAFers' Polish Pilot's Badge would be hard to call "honorary". They were received by the AAFers absolutely in the combat conditions. A very nice US-Polish episode of WWII.




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