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Let's talk about USMC specialist insignia worn on the lower sleeve


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#1 American Heritage

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 08:22 PM

OK, I found out that US Marines who served on Naval vessels sometimes stitched rate-like specialist or specialty patches to their uniforms - how common was this practice and what else is known about it? Any info available on these?

Seems that there are quite few of these insignia to be found today on uniforms to include naval gunnery badges such as Gun Pointer, Battle E's etc. worn on blues and alphas.

Has anyone collected any of these rate insignias on USMC uniforms? and can you show some? These must be rather rare or at least harder to find than most items, I would guess?

Here's an aviation machinst mate example...

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  • usmc_aviation_machinist_mate.jpg


#2 Long Trang

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 11:14 PM

OK, I found out that US Marines who served on Naval vessels sometimes stitched rate-like specialist or specialty patches to their uniforms - how common was this practice and what else is known about it? Any info available on these?

Seems that there are quite few of these insignia to be found today on uniforms to include naval gunnery badges such as Gun Pointer, Battle E's etc. worn on blues and alphas.

Has anyone collected any of these rate insignias on USMC uniforms? and can you show some? These must be rather rare or at least harder to find than most items, I would guess?

Here's an aviation machinst mate example...


I know in the back of my 1937 USMC uniform regulations they illustrate all the specialty rates. Which you have already mentioned. I know that some Marine units would man gun mounts and such and assist in naval bombardments. I recall a awhile back a blues blouse on ebay that had a gun pointer rate on the cuff. I haven't seen to many myself. :think: I would love to have a blouse with a rate that dealt with gunnery. My father was a gunners mate so it would be extra special. :lol:

Sean

Edited by Long Trang, 10 December 2010 - 11:21 PM.


#3 Long Trang

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 11:19 PM

I'm not sure if this is where you found your info but here is an excellent link explaining all the rates.
US Navy and Marine cuff rates

Semper Fi!
Sean

#4 Long Trang

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 02:21 AM

This is the same uniform I was talking about. Seems to keep making the rounds on Ebay. Anyhow it has a gun pointer specialty on the cuff.
USMC blues gun pointer on ebay

#5 shrapneldude

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 05:18 AM

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Some examples from my collection. Interestingly -- the cross-flags guy has the striker on both cuffs.

Edited by shrapneldude, 11 December 2010 - 05:19 AM.


#6 teufelhunde.ret

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 05:36 AM

Here is an older thread w/ some truly rare ratings and insignias:
http://www.usmilitar...d...2&hl=rating

#7 sigsaye

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 05:51 AM

John Stacey wrote an excellant book on these patches, any one interested inMarine uniforms should look into picking it up. Basically, they were not all authorized. The thing to remember is that there is a differance between a "Speciality Mark" (what every one refers to as "Strikers") and "Distinguishing Marks"The Speciality Marks are for a specific rate skill such as Signalman Gunners Mate and so forth. "Distinguishing Marks are for additional skills such as pointer, gun captain, Battle "E". Shipboard Marines ad always been authorized to wear the Distinguishing Marks for which they qualified. They were made in all Marine uniform colors.

During WW 2, Marines attended the same schools as Sailors such as Radioman, Aviation Machinests Mate and so no. Manufactuerers jumperd ther gun and made marine colored versions of ALL Navy Speciality Marks and Distinguishing Marks based on a rumor that the Marines were going to authorize their wear. The Marines did not authorize them. But, young men being what they are, they went into the shops and got them any way. Many commands allowed them to continue to be worn as a morlae thing. Theyre are several copies of instructions published by the Marine HQ calling for their removal, but as you can tell by surviving examples, not all were.

OK, purely shipboard marks (I love that Signalman Speciality mark). Quite often, shipboard Marines would "volunteer" to be assigned to various divisions aboard ship. I can remember having several every deployment on the amphibs I rode asking if they could stand watches on the signal bridge with us. This relieved the boredome for them as there is nothing to do but PT and clean weapons and occassional classes. Most of these guys picked up the basic qualls during the cruise. It was something for their evals. Usually, the COmm guys were assigned to Radio to cover Marine traffic. So, I can see where these marks would find their way onto Marines uniforms, as they were available in the shops off base. But again, they wern't really authroized, just unofficially worn and mostly allowed.

Steve Hesson

#8 0bx

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 10:46 AM

Here is my limited collection of USMC distinguishing marks for the various color uniforms(excluding the black/green marks at the bottom which are Warrant Officer marks, and the crossed rifles at bottom left which are WW1 rank insignia). Steve has already mentioned that many of the marks were never authorized but many were worn anyway. There are still others that I have not been able to find.
-Fritz



usmc_003.jpg

#9 0bx

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 10:47 AM

usmc_004.jpg

#10 0bx

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 10:49 AM

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#11 0bx

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 10:50 AM

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#12 shrapneldude

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 01:30 PM

usmc_007.jpg

What is the lion one? Never seen one like that.

AMAZING collection of strikers by the way. :jeal0001: :twothumbup:

#13 Alec

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 02:51 PM

Here is the rate on my 1904 pattern blues.

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#14 camopara

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 03:45 PM

I don't think this one was ever authorized.

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#15 0bx

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 03:56 PM

What is the lion one? Never seen one like that.

AMAZING collection of strikers by the way. :jeal0001: :twothumbup:



According to John Stacey's book referenced earlier, " The source of the lion insignia gave one collector and the author, on separate occassions, the explanation that they came with the winter service uniform of a Marine stationed at the U.S. Embassy in London during the war". However, John goes on to say that no verification has been found for this explanation. I just happened to stumble across it so I picked it up. Thanks for the "thumbs up".
-Fritz

Edited by 0bx, 11 December 2010 - 03:58 PM.


#16 American Heritage

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Posted 12 December 2010 - 11:45 AM

WOW. some truly great info you all have contributed here - thanks to all who posted photos and links. This is a truly interesting aspect of collecting usmc. OBX, that is a "limited" collection??? That is impressive to say the least. And camopara, that para insignia must be rare! Those uniforms are amazing esp. those blues. You just do not see them like this on a regular basis.

Thanks again for the great contributions!


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