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Shoulder Cords


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Would anyone know if there is a published source and or web source for shoulder cord awards? I searched the web but did not find what I was looking for. I’m assuming they are specific unit awards, am I calling them by their proper name (shoulder cords)? I’m not talking about the French fourrageres or the blue infantry cords. The one I seen, that comes to mind was three cords braided together. The colors were red, black and white. I’m looking for information on the different awards associated with these cords and the time period of the awards. I realize there are cords for ROTC, etc. but the ones I have seen were on WWII era Ikes.

 

Thanks,

Brent

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Honoring the memory of my ancestors:
American Revolution: Captain George Musser
War Between the States (American Civil War): Private Martin Musser, 79th Pa. Vol. Inf.
WWI: Private John Buniski, Pontoon Tn. 465th Engineers
WWI: Sergeant Anthony Buniski, Troop G 2nd Cavalry, Troop G 19th Cavalry, Battery D 77th FA
WWII: Private John Musser

 

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The only authorized cords are the French Fourragere (two different for different number of awards) Belgian Fourragere and the Netherlands Orange Lanyard. There are also gold Aiguillettes worn by White House Aides and the blue infantry cord that started in the 1950s. Anything else are ROTC, Military School, band, or fantasy

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The only authorized cords are the French Fourragere (two different for different number of awards) Belgian Fourragere and the Netherlands Orange Lanyard. There are also gold Aiguillettes worn by White House Aides and the blue infantry cord that started in the 1950s. Anything else are ROTC, Military School, band, or fantasy

 

Actually, there were 3 different French fourrageres, the Belgian, the Dutch Orange Lanyard and an RVN red/yellow fourragere too. The latter was converted to a unit citation ribbon later.

 

The FSSF wore a red/white/blue shoulder cord too.

 

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What is the third French Fourragere, I am only aware of the red and green and yellow and green ones. According to Decorations and Medals of the Republic of Viet Nam by Sylvester and Foster, the VN Fourragere was not authorized to be worn by US Troops. As for the 1st SSF cord, I had forgotten about them but I would not touch one of those unless it was coming directly from the hands of a vet I know and then only if he was giving it to me and not selling it. Way too easy to fake and sell for way too much.

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I believe that the red, white and black fourragere that you are referring to was actually a Royal Canadian Airforce award but was widely worn by US servicemen serving on occupation duty in Germany after World War II.

We can argue all we want about what was authorized vs not autorized, but these are the "cords" that I can think of off the top of my head.

1. Braided green with red flecks or stripes- French fourragere to the Croix de Guerre

2. Braided green with yellow flecks or stripes- French fourragere to the Medalle Militaire

3. Braided red with green stripes (also shows up as pink) Belgain fourragere to the Croix de Guerre.

4. Orange single cord- Order of Willem Knight 4th class- aka the Dutch Orange Lanyard

5. Braided red white and blue cord- First Special Service Force (once you've handled a couple of real ones, you won't be fooled by a fake)

6. Braided red, white & black cord- RCAF usage but worn unofficially by many US troops on Occupation duty in Germany

7. Red and yellow braided fourragere- Republic of Vietnam (SVN) fourragere to the Cross of Gallantry (awarded and worn though later forbidden by regulation)

8. Red braided cord- Royal Thai Parachute brevet. Forbidden for wear to US forces though occassionally encountered.

The Gold cords are worn by aides to General officers in the army, flag officers in the navy.

Allan

Never under-estimate the power of prayer.

 

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The three French fourragere's I was referring to were: for WW1, WW2, and for the Medal Militaire. The WW1 and WW2 are both green/red, but the weave is different -- as the ribbons for the WW1 and WW23 medals are different.

 

There may have been another, quite obscure, given by Luxemburg -- yellow and blue I think. If I recall correctly these went only to a small unit or two.

 

The gold cords worn by attaches and aides are called aguilettes (sic) and are a symbol of office.

 

I think I can photo and post pix of examples of all (except the FSSF and Lux) of these -- but not till tomorrow at least. Can anyone else get something going photowise sooner?

 

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I thought that only White House Aides wore the Aiguillettes and I checked the Regs and Allan H. is right all aides wear them the difference being White House Aides wear them on the right shoulder and others wear them on the left. But while I was looking at the Regs I came across another authorized cord, it is for the US Army Marksmanship Unit and subordinate training units. It is described as a blue cord 3/16 inch in diameter bearing at 9/16 inch intervals a serrated band of 1/16 inch white, 1/16 inch red, 1/16 inch white; overall length not to exceed 52 inches. I have never seen one of these, if any one has one I would like to see a picture. There are also locally authorized white cords worn by MPs along with their white hats and belts on ceremonial occasions, you don't see this too often but it is done. As for unauthorized cords they are made and worn in every branch colour but only the Infantry Blue ones are authorized. Man, have I got too much time on my hands.

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Aiguilettes are worn by attaches overseas too -- on the other shoulder.

 

These are worn either as a full cord or partial, depending on the uniform being worn at the time.

 

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Thanks for all the replies.

 

I was able to dig up a couple of photos of the coat in question. I apologize for the poor quality of the photos; they were taken with a cell phone. However, I can try to get better photos of the shoulder cords in the next couple of days. The one on the left shoulder is red/white/black. I’m not 100% sure of the color on the right. I know it has some white/red in it, but I can’t remember if there are any other colors. Also of note is the Germany bar on the Occupation ribbon.

 

Thanks,

Brent

 

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Honoring the memory of my ancestors:
American Revolution: Captain George Musser
War Between the States (American Civil War): Private Martin Musser, 79th Pa. Vol. Inf.
WWI: Private John Buniski, Pontoon Tn. 465th Engineers
WWI: Sergeant Anthony Buniski, Troop G 2nd Cavalry, Troop G 19th Cavalry, Battery D 77th FA
WWII: Private John Musser

 

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I aquried two shoulder cords last spring.They both are white trimmed in green.The green is sewn to the edge of the white braidedcord.They were purchased at an auction and the man who wore them had been in the Army at the end of WW2 with an ordanance outfit.He then joined the Air Force.He served in the occupation forces.In the group there were two MP arm bands.Also a lot of unassigned Air Corps patches.I dont know if the cords were authorized but he definately wore them.

 

I have a 5th Army,2nd Lt. ike jacket.It has a black/yellow-gold shoulder cord on the left sleeve.I have owned it for around 20 years and have no idea what the cord is.Nothing stands out on the ike.There is a purple heart ribbon on the ribbon bar.The 5th Army patch is a standard US made cotton patch.No combat patch on the right sleeve and no name or Serial number.

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The red/white is Engineers -- unauthorized equivalent to Infantry type.

 

If the other is red/white/black, it could be some sort of variation of the Berlin Brigade cord. I will post a good one later today if all goes well.

 

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Here are four examples of the WW1 French Croix de Guerre fourragere. The two to the left are wool, those to the right are synthetic -- probably nylon. Note the red/green stripes. Units awarded these in WW1 still wear them!

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I'll post a pic of the French Medal Militaire fourragere tomorrow.

 

In the meantime, here's a shot of the Belgian C de G fourragere. These are WW2, and are similar to the French WW2 version, but with the colors reversed. Red is dominant, with green flecks. Sometimes the red is more pinkish.

 

This particular one is actually Belgian-made. It appears on the uniform of BG Clare Hibbs Armstrong who commanded "Antwerp X", the anti-aircraft defenses of Antwerp. He was later attache to Belgium.

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Here are a couple of French Medal Militaire fourrageres. One is stripes and one is flecked, both are yellow and green. I don't think any US units were awared this one for WW1, but several received it in WW2.

 

The French C de G fourrageres were awarded to units twice cited in the orders of the French Army. A unit cited twice again received the MM fourragere. I belive several 1st Div units received it in WW2 though their first citations were in WW1.

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Here are a couple of more uniforms with the above mentioned cords in place.

 

First is an occupation era 16th Infantry LT's Ike with the MM fourragere.

 

Second is a 327th GIR Ike with both the Belgian C de G fourragere and the Dutch Orange Lanyard.

 

Third is a Korean War era 9th Infy Ike with both the Infantry cord and the WW1 French C de G fourragere.

Note also that the infantry blue cord is worn with matching disc backgrounds indicating a combat-ready unit.

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Next is the Vietnamese fourragere for the cross of gallantry. I believe these were authorized for a time before they were replaced by a framed ribbon. These are yellow/red.

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This RVN cord is now found on the "dress" jungle jacket of LTG Julian Ewell. When I first acquired the jacket I was puzzled by the button located atop the left shoulder. A frien located a photo of Ewell at a ceremony wearing a similar shirt with the red/yellow cord attached as shown. Problem solved.

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The Berlin Brigade cord is shown below. These were apparently commonly worn and I suspect they were authorized by brigade HQ. The red/white/black are the city's colors, I think.

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And, finally, a set of dress aiguilettes as worn by BG Clare Hibbs Armstrong when he was military attache to Belgium after the war. It is shown on the special evening dress formal coat.

 

These gold cords were worn on the left shoulder by attaches and on the right by aides to generals, secretaries and the president. This is the full dress style. In recent times there has also been a service aiguilette which is a single braided cord and "pencil"on the Army green uniform and on the blues when the four-in-hand necktie and ribbons are worn.

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Gil,

THanks for sharing those images of the cords- fourrageres and aguillettes too. My only comment is that the fourragere to the Medalle Militaire really isn't very commion. IIRC, only the infantry regiments of the 1st Infantry Division earned them having been cited twice for the Croix de Guerre in World War I and twice in World War II.

 

One other "cord" that I thought of is the Distinctive Insignia of the Old Guard. It is a black leather strap with buff leather intertwined down the center.

 

Allan

Never under-estimate the power of prayer.

 

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The 3rd Infantry (The Old Guard) insignia is not a "cord" at all. It is the approved Distinctive Unit Trimming of the unit and has been since the 1920's when the Army adopted Distinctive Unit Insignia. Back then the DUIs were supposed to be "distinctive." So, you had insignia like the 9th Infantry belt buckle, 2nd Infantry cloth cuff insignia and 4th Infantry ribbon insignia. The 3rd Infantry metal DUI, the "Cockade," was only approved after many years of on and off unofficial use. It was originally approved at the unit level and worn as a device to secure the approved "Buff Strap" in place on the shoulder and only one was worn.

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I'm sorry about the use of the improper terminology when referring to the Distinctive Insignia of the 3rd Infantry Regiment, but was using the term to classify it as another example of an accouterment worn around the shoulder in the same fashion as fourrageres, aguillettes, etc. The 3rd's leather strap is akin to the red white and blue armcord of the First Special Service Force as it was unit specific. However, former members of the Old Guard don't wear them after leaving the 3rd where FSSF members continued to wear theirs whether it was authorized or not.

Allan

Never under-estimate the power of prayer.

 

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