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Branch colors - cap piping color reference


Garth Thompson
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Garth Thompson

Here is a basic reference for the various colored piping used on WW2 and earlier overseas hats. I can't take credit for this. It comes from Dr. Howard Lanham's excellent US Military Insignia site. I printed it and use it for a handy reference. Hope it can be of use to our members.

Garth

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I have wondered what piping would/could be worn on Bandsmen uniforms? I have a grouping for a Bandsman Tech Sgt. that included an overseas cap piped in red/white. This is the standard Engineer piping. It appears that current Bandsmen uniforms seem to be piped in red but then the dress (performance) uniforms are different as well. Just a troublesome question that has been troubling me for awhile.

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I may have a partial answer to your question. Go the The Insitute of Heraldry's website at: http://www.tioh.hqda.pentagon.mil/Branches...larInsignia.htm

 

If you click on Army Band, it says at the bottom that the bands are regimentally affiliated with the Adjutant General Corps. Go the the Adjutant General page, and it says their current branch colors are dark blue piped with scarlet.

 

Branch of service colors have changed throughout the years, so I can't really answer your question about WWII colors. I will say though, that what looks to us, 60 years later like "red and white" might originally have been "scarlet and buff" or something to that effect.

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Was there any difference between the "mottled" piping and the "lined" piping or was it just manufacturer differences.

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Garth Thompson

From what I've read there is no difference between mottled or lined. It's just manufacturing differences.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The thread on red and black piping on the overseas hat reminded me of something I have wondered about for quite a while. Does anyone know what the branch colours were for the more obscure and short lived branches like Bureau of Insular Affairs, Special Services (not 1st Special Service Force), and Army Security?

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  • 3 months later...
  • 4 weeks later...
CNY Militaria

Chemical Warfare was Cobalt Blue and Golden Yellow. Thats the closest thing I can think of.

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  • 3 weeks later...

So whats going on with this Armored corps confusion? Green and white or Green and Yellow? Why is it listed as both in Differant sources?

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  • 5 months later...

Emerson's Encyclopedia of United States Army Insignia and Uniforms has some interesting material on cap piping that has not surfaced in this topic.

 

Emerson devotes several pages of Chapter Seventy-Four to this type cap and of main interest are two detailed charts. One lists WWI overseas cap piping for officers (enlisted mens' caps were plain, without piping) and the other lists WWII garrison cap piping for both officers and enlisted soldiers (on pages 540 and 542, respectively).

 

According to Emerson, the Army discarded the overseas cap soon after WWI. It was soon revived, however, for wear by Air Corps officers as the "...field cap...with branch-colored piping..." During the 1920s and 1930s authorized use of the field cap spread throughout the Army. Officer field caps were trimmed with branch-colored braid and enlisted caps had no braid, with some local variations which Emerson describes. By 1940 these practical caps were once more in general use throughout the Army and by then known as garrison caps. In 1940 officers officially switched from branch-colored piping to gold braid (general officers), gold and black (other commissioned officers) and silver and black (warrant officers and later flight officers), while branch-colored piping was relegated exclusively to enlisted garrison caps. Emerson points out one important exception to the expected use of branch-color piping: "Caps were issued by the Quartermaster Corps without braid during WWII...[and the]...colored trim was issued separately. Many new soldiers, or those transferred from one branch to another, wore caps without any trim until [they] sewed on the appropriate braid." (p. 541) This explains why evidently worn but untrimmed overseas caps turn from time to time.

 

Branch-colored overseas cap piping disappeared in 1956 with the advent of the Army Green uniform, except on garrison caps of soldiers who continued to wear them with their khaki or OD uniforms during the official transition period.

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  • 3 months later...

Hello,

 

That's excellent topic for all reenactors and other lovers of history, military heraldry and traditions.

 

I would like to ask you for some help with the glider pilots who were so-called "Flying Sergeants" as well as WOJG, CWO and FO where this last rank ironically is called sometimes "3rd Lt".

 

Q1:

What ought to be OS cap piping, if only, for the glider pilot so-called "Flying Sergeant"? Were those pilots' OS caps piped or not? If so, what in that case is heraldic antecedence -- the color of service branch (and what branch because glider pilot is "on the border" of infantry and Air Corps) or regulation on piping-less EM OS caps?

 

Q2:

Craig's post No. 10 informs as follows:

Warrant Officers – black and silver piping

Officers – gold piping

Other officers – gold and black piping

Question: What does it mean "Other officers"? Does Flight Officer belong to this category? What ought to be piping of FO glider pilot -- ultramarine blue and golden orange for USAAF (according to general piping regulations) or gold and black for "Other officers" category?

 

Q3:

The same problem with WOJG and CWO glider pilots. What is heraldic antecedence in piping of their OS caps? USAAF piping or black and silver for Warrant Officers?

 

I would be very thankful for your help!

 

Best regards

 

Greg

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craig_pickrall

Gregory re-read post # 10. It says General Officers are gold and other officers (2nd LT - COL) are gold and black.

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...I would like to ask you for some help with the glider pilots who were so-called "Flying Sergeants" as well as WOJG, CWO and FO where this last rank ironically is called sometimes "3rd Lt"...

First the answer to Q2 and Q3, as it is most straightforward: Warrant Officers (WOJG and CWO) and Flight Officers wore black and silver braid on garrison caps. Source: paragraph 25.a.( 1 ).( c ). AR 600-35, Prescribed Service Uniform, March 31, 1944.

 

The answer to Q1 is not so easy. According to the same Army Regulation (sub paragraph ( d )), enlisted men wore on their garrison caps "...Cord edge braid of the color of arm, service, or bureau." However, the caps were issued without braid, which was to be attached in the color corresponding to the soldier's unit of assignment (see post #16 for more). This variability in braid colors undoubtedly accounts for some of the anomalies we see from our distant perspective. Still, applied logic probably answers this question with respect to enlisted glider pilots. What was the source of enlisted glider pilots and to which units were they assigned (i.e., AAF or AGF)? My instinct is that glider pilots who were formally trained at USAAF flight schools and officially rated and awarded Glider Pilot wings were considered AAF personnel and they subsequently were assigned to AAF units for duty. The appropriate cap braid in this case would be in Air Corps colors. Was there another source of enlisted glider pilots acquired directly from AGF units?

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Gents,

 

Thank you very much. A forumer may count on you!

 

What was the source of enlisted glider pilots and to which units were they assigned (i.e., AAF or AGF)? My instinct is that glider pilots who were formally trained at USAAF flight schools and officially rated and awarded Glider Pilot wings were considered AAF personnel and they subsequently were assigned to AAF units for duty. The appropriate cap braid in this case would be in Air Corps colors. Was there another source of enlisted glider pilots acquired directly from AGF units?

Yes, I agree that absolute beginners starting from 0 level as the cadets logically ought to have AF colors. Big question is what in the cases of the lowest grade "A" or "B" Class civil glider pilots enlisting infantry before set up of the American Glider Program and after that coming to military gliding from various non-aviation units?

 

Was there another source of enlisted glider pilots acquired directly from AGF units?

This is very good and fundamental question. Heaven knows from how many and what sources they came where the CAA in 1942 had only 160 licensed civil glider pilots. This is totally different situation than in the Polish Air Force where almost all the pilots were former glider pilots because before WWII we had 52,631 glider pilots of various grades from "A" to "D". American glider pilots came from big "head hunting" process -- who knows, maybe also from infantry? For all lovers of aviation enlisted to infantry and not accepted earlier by the USAAC military gliding was great chance to enter via back door elite world of aviation. Maybe through some time they had infantry's OS caps? I do not know unfortunately. Also what happened to well-trained USMC glider pilots never used in any operation due to canceling marine glider program? Were they absorbed by the Army needing dramatically every one man able to fly glider? If so, what could be their piping? Many mysteries…

 

Below I posted "Flying Sergeant" glider pilot Carl Leggett but I am not sure if his OS cap is with any piping.

 

Thank you Gents one more time, best regards

 

Greg

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...American glider pilots came from big "head hunting" process -- who knows, maybe also from infantry? For all lovers of aviation enlisted to infantry and not accepted earlier by the USAAC military gliding was great chance to enter via back door elite world of aviation. Maybe through some time they had infantry's OS caps? Below I posted "Flying Sergeant" glider pilot Carl Leggett but I am not sure if his OS cap is with any piping...

Ah, enlisted glider pilots used by the Army on the basis of their civilian acquired glider licenses. Here's what I think: Current branch assignment trumps earlier branch assignments. Regardless of where enlisted men entered the glider pilot "pipeline" they were eventually assigned to USAAF troop carrier squadrons for operational duties. At this point, if not earlier, the ex-civilian glider pilot became a member of the USAAF and he would fly the Air Corps colors on his garrison cap. That would by my interpretation of the "book" although I would not be surprised to see an enlisted glider pilot wearing (a) other branch colors or (B) no braid at all...and it does look like your staff sergeant glider pilot is wearing some color of braid on his cap and, as he is wearing the USAAF patch, most likely it is Air Corps braid.

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Gents,

 

One more time thank you very much.

 

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/ind...7&hl=glider

Gregory, look at this thread. It appears all of the initial members of the glider force were USAAF personnel.

Thanks Craig. I do not know how could I miss out this topic at the USMF the more so that I have always wanted to buy this "Life" issue.

 

Ah, enlisted glider pilots used by the Army on the basis of their civilian acquired glider licenses. Here's what I think: Current branch assignment trumps earlier branch assignments. Regardless of where enlisted men entered the glider pilot "pipeline" they were eventually assigned to USAAF troop carrier squadrons for operational duties. At this point, if not earlier, the ex-civilian glider pilot became a member of the USAAF and he would fly the Air Corps colors on his garrison cap. That would by my interpretation of the "book" although I would not be surprised to see an enlisted glider pilot wearing (a) other branch colors or (B) no braid at all...and it does look like your staff sergeant glider pilot is wearing some color of braid on his cap and, as he is wearing the USAAF patch, most likely it is Air Corps braid.

Wailuna, thank you very much. Things became clearer now.

 

Best regards

 

Gregory

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  • 1 year later...
Cobrahistorian

Hey all,

I just picked up six overseas caps today, and while five were easily identifiable, I've got one that's puzzling me. It has pink piping. I've seen some transpo corps piping as pink/yellow, but this is PINK and the unfaded portions are pink as well.


Ideas, suggestions, etc?

Thanks!

Jon

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