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usmcaviator

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    Advanced collector seeking and paying top dollar for the highest quality EGA collar and hat devices.

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  1. Korean War to early 1960's era. Value, I'd expect $125-150 for the collars and $150-175 on the hat. Nice to find on very nice cards like this. Mike
  2. Yes, WW1 era. Those insignia were worn from 1912-1920. That 2 inch high standing collar of the uniform is also another tell-tale giveaway of a WW1 era uniform. Mike
  3. I miss that group and wonder what else may be "out there" related to Angstadt. When I first acquired it, the fellow who purchased it said that their were some additional items that were not for sale at the estate liquidation. A couple years later I happened across his riding trophy and horse tack, so I suspect more is out there related to him. Mike
  4. I bought one of these in 2002 from the squadron S-5 when I was attached to the Gunfighters, one of the Captain's had a father who was with the unit during Vietnam and I think he had some made commemoratively a few years before. I have no idea where he procured them, but mine looks a lot like this.
  5. Thank you Jeremiah and Bob. Very humbled to have celebrated my career with Dirk and these fine gentlemen. A great and fun day. Mike
  6. Dirk, It was awesome to be a part of it with you. You are on your way to becoming a "seasoned" show guy, a regular ol' BobGee! The display was magnificent and the comments from those passing by matched. It is hard to make a dent in the "gun show" when it comes to recognition of a display such as this, but maybe we can grow it next year? I just need to stop selling my stuff! Maybe we can get the Gunny and the USMC Historical bubbas to dress the part of the China Marine and hang around for a full immersion experience?! Bring in a rickshaw for kids rides? Serve up some UB? My ideas are endless.... ! S/F, Mike
  7. Great find Dirk, glad you were able to snatch it up at the show! Mike
  8. Follow-up, I looked in June-Dec 1946 Leatherneck and couldn't find the article, but I know I've seen it somewhere in Leatherneck. Below is the text from the article pulled from Marine Corps Association website. I did find it in my Chevron bound copy for 1946, photo of article attached. Best, Mike ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Operation Alcatraz By PFC Robert Prosser Marines were called when a band of this country's worst cutthroats made a frantic bid for freedom Lying offshore in the early evening light, the 20 Marines in the PC boat could taste the thrill of excitement. Each could also taste the bitterness of salt water as the crowded craft bobbed and ducked in the grey waters of San Francisco Bay. Up ahead, rising almost vertically from the water, lay "the Rock," and although the craft was still 200 yards away, the dull echo of rifle fire could be heard. "They must be expecting us. I hear their reception committee warming up," one Marine grunted nervously. "Yeah, but I'd rather land this way and be shot at than be on their welcoming committee," his companion returned. Except for a single word splashed in letters of red on the roof of a towering building ahead, the clean, compact rock and its brilliant snowflower vegetation, this might have been another enemy stronghold, daring its invaders. But the single word was "ALCATRAZ." The day was 3 May 1946, and the occasion was an attempted prison break during which a crime-crazed band of the nation's worst criminals attempted to blast its way back into a society from which it had been banished. The Marines were the first of several groups rushed to the fight from nearby Treasure Island at the request of aged Warden James A. Johnston. The Marines were called three hours after the first shot had been fired by a frenzied convict. When they arrived the cons already held hostages, a seizure that resulted in the killing of two guards and the wounding of 14 others. As the Marine craft bobbed in the swift current off the Rock it could not be determined how many cons had been casualties of the prison guards' guns. Before the last shot had been fired and the beaten, humbled cons had crawled back into their bleak cells, three of them lay dead and murder charges were being prepared against another trio of ring-leaders. Primarily, the Marines were called to guard the large body of case hardened prisoners who had not yet had an opportunity to join the rioters. One hundred and fifty of these prisoners had been scattered over the Rock performing various prison tasks when the riot flared. It became the duty of the Marines to ride herd on them for as long as the riot would last. "They're in an ugly mood," a prison official warned the Marines who took charge of the group. The rounded-up prisoners milled about a prison exercise yard which now served as a giant bull pen. The truth of the official's observation was soon proved when it became necessary to forcibly subdue one rotund little gent whose professional name was "Machine Gun Kelly," and whose criminal nuisance value had finally brought him to the attention of the FBI. After a series of scarlet epithets, hurled at the Marines, fatso Kelly received a workmanlike bopping about by Marines and guards, who then hustled him off to solitary confinement. "Yaaa yu lousy _________... I bought more War Bonds than any of yu . . . I helped win the war too." This is a well-laundered version of the Kelly tirade against Leathernecks who would prevent him from joining his rioting associates. Other Marines had been summoned because of their knowledge of special weapons that were unknown to the prison guards. These included Warrant Officer Charles L. Buckner, holder of the Silver Star from Guam and the Purple Heart from Bougainville and who had been officer of the day at Treasure Island when the Alcatraz SOS was sounded. Buckner came armed with hand and rifle grenades. The use of the latter caused civilian newsmen to report that bazookas were being used against the cons. Barricaded within section D, or the center of the cell block, the cons commanded a full rifle sweep of the western approaches to the Rock. Aware of this, the Marines landed on the eastern side of the island after a midstream transfer from their craft to a passenger ferry which regularly serves the Rock. As the last Marine jumped ashore from the big prison barge the white-sided ferry pulled away and shoved off for the safety of midstream. Five Navy and Coast Guard cutters, loaded with watchful prison guards, stood off Alcatraz in the swift bay current. "Just to be safe," a sweating guard explained. "The cons can't get away so long as they have no water transportation, so we'll keep the Alcatraz excursion steamer out of reach." Within the protective shadow of a grey Alcatraz wall, a prison guard explained to the Marines how the break had begun. A few hours earlier the prison had lain, as usual, basking on the Rock in the warm sun, its guards unaware of the bubbling ferment that was coming so close to the surface within the cells. The fury had suddenly boiled over, without a moment's warning. Bank robber Bernard Paul Coy, ironically a " trusty,"had been able to mount a window-cleaning ladder near the gun gallery and, using a variety of tools in getting through a wall of bars supposedly impenetrable, he had been able to surprise and over-power the guards. "Escape," the guard further explained, "is the only thought these men have. They plan for years how they will exploit some weakness of the guard or the prison system. The fact that the odds are thousands to one against them doesn't stop them from making a try." On Alcatraz there is no such thing as a real trusty, the guard said. Coy had been allowed to work on a cleaning detail outside his cell when the break occurred. The Marines knew that even those men who weren't actively engaged in the armed break attempt were dangerous. Perhaps the prisoners in the yard were more vicious than those who had arms inside, for on the outside only a five-foot wall, the swift current, and prowling guard boats separated them from San Francisco and freedom. One of Coy's weapons had been a heavy wrench which he had stolen earlier while working on a detail cleaning the plumbing alley, a dank, steel-sided recess which tunneled beneath cell block D. With proper poetic justice this steel tunnel was soon to become a crypt holding the bodies of Coy and two of his companions, Joseph Paul Cretzer and Marvin Franklin Hubbard. Coy's other weapon had been a window cleaner's squeegee, when he climbed the ladder and touched off one of the most spectacular revolts in the annals of American penal history. Using the wrench to pry his way into the gun galley, the convict lay in wait for the approaching guard, and at the proper instant attacked with both of his improvised weapons. With the squeegee he raked Guard Bert A. Burch close to him and battered him into insensibility with the heavy wrench. Then he siezed a set of keys that would unlock all the doors within Cell Block No. 1 and took possession of Burch's .45 caliber pistol, and a .30 caliber rifle, with ammunition for both. Burch was a "gun guard." Cell blocks at Alcatraz are constructed like steel catacombs, tier upon tier of cell rows. Each cell has its own steel-barred door and each tier is further confined by barred balconies. Three complete cell blocks stretch the length of the huge building and are parallel to each other. Guards who had the run of the cell blocks carried no weapons. Only the gun guard, himself a prisoner in a cage that ran along the end of the building, had firearms. He had a commanding view of all the cell entrances, and a clear field of fire. The wall of bars between him and the cell block protected him, theoretically at least, from attack if prisoners should get the run of the building. Coy figured this out and worked out his plans accordingly. By employing his cunning, Coy had been able to become the commanding figure within the cell block. At the steel door to the outside, however, Coy's rule ended. The gun guard's keys would open doors in the cell block, but Coy had neither the key for nor the knowledge of how to operate the electric doors to the outside. Although the escape plot was doomed to failure from the first, long confinement had warped the convicts' reasoning until, to them, liberty lay just past the next set of steel doors. A dozen convicts responded to Coy's profane invitation to "shoot every _____ guard and blast our way out of here." Cretzer, bank robber and killer of a U. S. marshal, soon took the lead, even surpassing Coy in the fury of his attack against the guards. To Cretzer, Coy gave the .45 caliber pistol, a weapon that was used in killing one and wounding at least a half-dozen guards. Guard Robert R. Baker gasped out his story to Marines who heard how he lay for ten hours feigning death on the steel floor of a cell after being shot by Cretzer. At the wailing of the first alarm soon after Coy attacked the gun guard, Baker and a half-dozen other guards rushed to the scene of the trouble. Unarmed, they at first expected far less serious trouble, but they were met by Cretzer who, brandishing the pistol, herded them into two empty cells. Then he snarled, " And now I'm going to kill you." Cretzer singled out Deputy Warden William A. Miller from the group and demanded his keys. "The keys, give me the keys, you _________ . Give me the keys or you'll wish you were never born." As he continued to brandish the stolen pistol he suddenly spat a savage oath and slugged Miller in the face with the pistol. Miller fell to the steel floor and Cretzer directed the other convicts to hold him over a rude prison bench. "Hold him. I'll show you how to get the keys," he boasted, and when the other convicts complied, Cretzer began to kick the helpless guard. "Let me help. I owe that _____ a little trouble, too," another convict volunteered, and as he did, still other cons took up the cry. One of the torturers kicked Miller from the bench and with his heavy prison boots jumped repeatedly on his chest and body in a frenzied rage. Numbed with torture and coughing blood with every savage blow from the convict's boots, Miller surrendered those of his keys which were a duplicate set to the ones the prisoners had taken from the gun guard. At the first sign of trouble Miller had disposed of the key that would open the door between the cells and the outside. "These keys aren't the ones," Cretzer stormed as Miller relinquished the set. "We're just as fouled-up as ever." When Cretzer found that Miller hadn't given him the right key he seemed to go crazy. "He shot Miller," said Baker, "and he ran up to where we were in a cell and poked his pistol through the bars and started firing. No one could count the shots or had any time to think. I fell to the floor when I was hit and I heard the others hit the floor around me." The faint smell of freedom that had earlier intoxicated the penned killers was now fast disappearing, leaving in its wake a murderous deadlock, during which armed convicts roamed the cell block and the lives of the hostage guards were at stake. Wounded or just blood-splattered, the captive guards hugged the cold floors of their prison and heard the motley prison strategists ponder their fate. "Let's hold them for hostages," one prisoner suggested. "Hostages, hell, we ain't going to make any bargains. All we want are the keys out of here," Cretzer was heard to reply. "Let's kill all these witnesses," another con offered. A few moments later a con, hurrying past the cells containing the imprisoned guards, sent a full magazine of .45 caliber slugs ricocheting among the bleeding forms on the floor. Possum-playing, wounded guards were later unable to identify this wanton gunman. The fight soon centered around the rescue of these guards in a test tube battle, with Marines and free guards chalking the deadly score from behind a glass visitors' shield which offered a full view of operations within the cell blocks. In a counterattack measure the guards adopted Marine street-fighting tactics, moving into the cell block under a protective curtain of small-arms fire. WO Buckner was lavish in his praise of the guards' actions. "In the best Marine tradition," he later told a radio audience, "those guards braved the fire of the convicts to rescue their wounded comrades. They'd all make good Marines." It was in this phase of "Operation Alcatraz" that veteran guard Harold B. Stites was killed by a rifle volley fired by a hidden convict. The guards had ranged themselves behind the visitors' glass and, after blasting portholes in the heavy panes, which provided covering fire, with their rifles, pistols and riot guns attempted to drive the cons away from the cells containing the captive guards. Since the glass was not bulletproof guards hugged the steel lower wall to get as much protection as possible from the convicts' fire. Although the two pieces taken from the gun guard were the only weapons in the cons' possession during the entire riot, the prisoners were able to use them with deadly accuracy. By passing the guns around among themselves, they could snipe from any of a hundred steel-sided cells. After delivering several withering blasts from riot guns and rifles, Stites and several others rushed toward the cell where it was thought the imprisoned guards lay. Instead of completing the rescue, Stites was killed and his companions wounded by convict fire that seemed to come from everywhere. New volleys from behind the glass drove the convict snipers to cover and while the guards kept up a steady covering fire, a second group of guards recovered Stites's body. A similar, third action was carried out later when the rescue of the dying Miller and the other imprisoned guards was completed. As a priest performed the final rites of the Catholic church, guard Miller signed a statement which took the last of his failing strength. It said tersely: "I was shot to death by Joseph Cretzer." With the rescue of the guards, the bombardment of the embattled cons began in earnest under the direction of WO Buckner. Although the pounding given cons lasted more than 24 hours, a single methodical plan rah through the entire operation. To all requests for negotiations, aging, tired Warden Johnston simply replied, "Throw out your weapons." To this ultimatum the cons had their own eloquent reply-a fresh burst of shots. Buckner's plan was to drive the battered cons away from the two outside cell blocks and thus deprive them of the mobility which they enjoyed as the only armed men within the building. After isolating them he hoped to pound them into submission with a variety of weapons. As a beginning step, guards covered the outside windows while Buckner used a grenade thrower against the center windows. This proved only partially effective since few of the grenades could be aimed carefully enough to pass between the bars. The over-all strategy was sound, though, and with the first burst of a smoke grenade against the windows the cons were seen to go scurrying toward the center cells. More than that, the actual ring-leaders climbed to the top of the cells where they perched between the cell block roof and the roof of the building. When the cons left the outside cells, riot gun guards could move in closer and pin them down in their new positions. Apparently the cons felt themselves in a position to withstand a lengthy siege. But they were due for a second shock. With the aid of the guards, Buckner started to methodically raise the roof. He called for tools to gouge a duct through the massive roof. When the first small hole was completed, he drew the pin from a hand grenade and dropped it through. Screams of terror came from the surprised convicts. "We surrender . . . we surrender . . . don't do that again . . . don't" were among the cries that echoed back through the hole in the roof. A guard approached cautiously to receive the surrendered weapons, and received instead a defiant shot which had apparently been fired blindly by a now-frenzied con. Realizing that their refuge on top of the cell block was no longer safe, the cons, still armed, moved to a lower level. The grenade shower followed them. By lowering pineapples through cold air ducts on strings, Buckner was able to methodically herd the cons into the one protected spot in the cell block. This was the steel alley, deep in the entrails of the building, which served as an outlet for the cell, block plumbing. Thus, in isolating themselves, the cons signed their own death warrants. Grim-faced guards sent blast after blast from their riot guns rattling down the steel tube. Forty-five hours after the revolt first flared, Bernard Paul Coy lay stiff in rigor mortis. Apparently the first to die, Coy was society's mad dog even in death. Although his stolen rifle had been used by others for hours after his death, his arms were still locked in firing position. Near-by, and dead, too, lay Cretzer, and kidnapper Marvin Hubbard. The surviving cons had crawled back into their own cells and there sullenly awaited the next move, which was to be the law's. The Marines went back to Treasure Island and caught the liberty due all who participated in the operation. With their tongues in their cheeks they were already asking for Alcatraz campaign ribbons. They suggested black and grey horizontal prison, stripes for the design.
  9. Nice pin! It is of a pattern that existed as far back as WW1, however was made well into the 1940's and 1950's (ways to tell is material, craftsmanship/construction, method of suspension, maker, etc). Yours is the latter, and does indeed look like a sweetheart piece based of the odd placement of the pin. Value... probably around $40? Hope this helps you. Mike
  10. A 1946 Leatherneck detailed all the action to include mentioning some of the Marines that took part. I'll have to see if I can find it....Think I also have it in USMC Chevron Newspaper. I think I also have photos of the frag marks on the deck of the cell house where the Marines dropped grenades on the rioters from the vents on the rooftop. Mike
  11. There are three "books" on the subject. 1. The longest standing work was done by Col John Driscoll, as an official Marine Corps Museum Technical Monograph Series (number one) for the 100 year anniversary of the insignia. It is titled "The Eagle Globe and Anchor 1868-1968" and it is readily available on open source internet. It was, at the time, the best study conducted, however only used items from the then still growing USMC collection. Photos are black and white and copies of copies have made many pictures very pixelated. If you can get a copy of the original 1971 release, it is worth having. It does contain some errors in timeframe and maybe one repo. So pretty darn good. 2. After years of waiting for a modern definitive reference work, Tim Klie authored a book in 2016 entitled "EAGLE, GLOBE AND ANCHOR EMBLEM: 1868-1963". It is a Pictorial Guide and by far has the most content (350+ pages) with color photos of front and back and photos of devices in wear in some cases. Though not all emblems are accurately identified to timeframe and described, it is a must have guide. 3. In late 2016, Dr Fred Bruier authored "UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS EMBLEMS 1804 TO WORLD WAR I". It is essentially Vol 1 of a multi-volume planned study (190+ pages). It goes further back to the rarest of Marine insignia (pre EGA) and covers pretty well the repos and fakes. It is wordy, only shows the fronts of emblems, but is by far the most accurate. It also has a photo appendex to accurately prescribe a timeframe of use for devices. Most collectors eagerly await the release of Vol 2 that should hopefully cover the 1920's to WW2 era. I would say all three are needed for anyone who likes Marine emblems. You could probably find all three for $150 or so. Mike
  12. It is a mid-1930's production of the enlisted dress hat device. Patterned after the official insignia adopted by change of 1925. The design was widely not accepted by Marines and the Corps continued to contract earlier style hat devices for issue. Manufacturers however, in an attempt to prescribe to the "official insignia", sold the device as private purchase. This emblem has the manufacturer of Hilborn Hamburger. By 1937 a new insignia was adopted and manufacturers retooled their dies in an attempt to bid for government contracts. It is widely sought after by collectors, however they seem to have been surfacing more frequently than in past years. Still a nice piece. Usually fetch in the neighborhood of $500-700. Years ago they went for $1000. Hope this helps. Mike
  13. Ken, Also.....shots of the correct dual prong fasteners found on the earliest versions of the 1892 helmet devices. This one is attributed to a Marine starting service around 1894, I believe (going off memory). I think you can see the similarities with your bronze insignia. S/F, Mike
  14. Ken, Here are some photos of a recent piece that I picked up at the MAX show last year. While it is an officer piece of high gilt and silver flash, officer 1892 devices were cut from the exact same dies as enlisted insignia. Hopefully, you can see the slight "curve" I refer to, especially in the southern latitudes. They are slightly angled to conform to the curvature of the globe. I cant be exactly sure, but it looks like your two pieces have this, which from my decades of study, is correct for period pieces. Reproductions have latitudes that are perfectly straight across the globe, as if someone was evenly cutting a piece of cake, the lines are perfectly symmetric and parallel. Again, I cant explain the beak not being cutout on the bronze piece. But I surmise that given that this is a "harder" material that wont bend, as you said, the die may not have been able to cut the normal depth. Lastly, sense it is made for a saddle cloth, less snags could have been built into the die design (even though it is highly unlikely a manufacturer would recut new dies for this small point). I also surmise that these saw very limited use, given the fact that yours shows a wingtip missing (most likely snagged and broken), these are rarely seen, and the Corps eventually went to leather insignia, supports this summation. Thanks for posting, this thread opens a new chapter on an insignia that is one of my personal favorites and one that few people have any expertise due to the age and scarcity. S/F, Mike
  15. Bob, Yes! I had not heard of this maker or seen an example. Just goes to show you that stuff still "pops" up and never say never when it comes to EGAs!! Tim, Again, nice snag and thanks for posting. Hope one day to see a set! S/F, Mike
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