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Uniforms of MG Arthur L. West, Jr., ca 1965


GIl Sanow

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Several months back I was offered several uniforms attributed to Major General Arthur L. West, Jr. The lot included two sets of Army greens with ribbons, two blue mess jackets, a set of whites, a set of wool fatigues and a tan TW set, plus some caps to match some of the uniforms. As I studied the lot, it became clear that I was seeing the uniforms of two men. Several were marked to Arthur L. West, but the decorations did not match up -- one was clearly from a WW2 through Korea vet while the other seemed to show Vietnam and later only. I surmised that these were father'r and son's Arthur L. West Jr. and III.

 

The seller wanted far more than I cared to invest, but I was able to secure three that belonged to the father, the major general. Due to several post office delivery issues, the three uniforms finally arrived weeks later. I had selected the Army greens with sewn ribbons, the tan TW's and the wool OG 108's.

 

In the meantime I had ordered a service biography of the general from the Army Center of Military History at Fort McNair and a portrait photo from NARA Still Pictures Branch. The bio came in within a week via email, but the photo proofs took about three -- again due to USPS delays (would you believe 12 weeks from the postmark date -- First Class?)

 

SInce the greens had nothing on them but the ribbons, I then proceed to raid my insignia supply for stars, US's and the missing badges, using the bio as a guide. The photo proof showed a fourragere, but I could not determine whether it was French or Belgian. I suspected the latter since the bio showed West was assigned to the 10th Armored Infantry Bn, 4th Armored Division during WW2, and that outfit had liberated Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. The color photo disproved that when it arrived, so I put the proper green French cord on.

 

I decided to pass the TW uniform on to another Forum member since I did not have another set of badges on hand, plus I would have to have a set of ribbons made.

 

I kept the OG 108s because they were interesting -- the shirt has full color insignia for a BG, 3rd AD, a position West held in the mid '60's. Interestingly, the shirt has shoulder loops, a feature commonly seen on fatigues worn by officers in Germany during that period. The tail of the shirt appears to have been trimmed off to provide material for the straps. I assume that green leader loops, and perhaps even DIs were worn on them. There is no sign of a CIB though -- perhaps he didn't wear it, or he wore metal insignia.

 

West was commissioned in 1940, having graduated from Oklahoma A&M, now Oklahoma State. During the was he was promoted from platoon leader to company commander and finally to CO of his battalion.. He was awarded the DSM, Silver Star and several Bronze Stars, not to mention two Purple Hearts. He later also received the Legion of Merit and, though it does not show on his greens since it was apparently presented to him as a retirement award, he got a DSM. After WW2 he served with the 72nd Constabulary Bn and graduated from the Command and General Staff School and the National War College. He was a staff officer during the Korean War and spent much of the rest of his career at the Pentagon on the Army, Department of Defense and Joint Chiefs of Staff.

 

The cap, shirt and tie are not West's.

 

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Here's a closeup of the left side of his greens.

 

It is interesting that he did not leave any SSI's on this uniform. His last job was with Combat Developments Command, but there is no patch. There is a faint ghost of an armor triangle, presumably 3rd AD, on the left shoulder, but nothing on the right.

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Here is West's OD wool shirt. Note it seems to have been shortened to provide material for the shoulder loops.

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Nice job on the restoration Gil. As always 1st class.

 

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"I am not broke but you can see the cracks, you can make me perfect again. All because of you". U2

 

Jace, Tim, and Mike you will always be my buds. God's Blessings guys.

 

" It's awful squatchy out here"

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And here is West's official portrait photo -- from NARA Still Picture Branch.

MG Arthur L. West  Jr 001.jpg

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Great photo & the ribbons are great !!!! Blue Skies Mark

In Memory of Air Corps Technical Sergeant Carl F. Durfee. He died of wounds on 30 December 1944 while serving in the South Pacific. You are not forgotten.

ASMIC member

American Legion member

US Air Force & Air National Guard TAC - MAC

JOHN N. DANIELS ---152nd COMPANY C New York State Infantry--- captured 1864 survivor of Andersonville ---- Great-Great-Great Uncle

Captain Robert L. Hosler, 522nd Fighter/Bomber Sq. 12th Army Air Corp. World War Two P47 Pilot - 1 DFC- 5 Air Medal & 0ne Purple Heart---Uncle

1st Sgt Ann Barry, US Army Air Corp WAC World War Two --ETO --- Aunt

Sgt Willam M. Barry, USMC----Pacific World War Two--Father





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Kill's me that here is a MG GEN that has obviously seen a lot of action, DSC, SS, BSM, PH, etc.Plus Gen Staff, JCS & Sec Def badges.If he was a MGEN now he would have ribbons going all the way up and over his shoulder.Not saying they don't deserve the awards they get now, i look and my own from the 80's and can't believe it, just saying.

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ASMIC #1098

 





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easterneagle87

Real nice grouping!!!!

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I "primarily" collect Gulf War 1 patches. All branches (USA, USAF,USN, USMC & USCG) and ALL Countries..
US - Op.'s Desert Shield / Storm / Provide Comfort /Some Southern Watch - F-4G's Wild Weasels
UK - Op.'s Granby / Sabre / Warden
Canadian - Op. Desert Storm / Op. Friction
French - Daguet / Aconit
Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, South Korea, etc.
Looking for the oddities, including unfinished & flaws
I HAVE EXTRA's!! Will trade as well.

 

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It may be just my old monitor and even older eyes, but isn't he wearing a gold service aiguillette in the picture rather than a fourragere?

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It's definitely greenish with red hints.

 

The only authorization for a gold service aiguillette would have been for a general's or presidential aide or a military attache -- and he was never any of those, certainly not as a MG.

 

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Hopefully you now have enough info to do the job properly. Let's see it when you are done.

 

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And here is West's official portrait photo -- from NARA Still Picture Branch.

Is that a cotton knit tie he is wearing? I don't think I've ever seen that being worn with an Army uniform.

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Sean, I had another GO's uniform from the same era that also had a knit tie -- I think it was some sort of synthetic or possibly a wool blend. I have seen others in photos too, so I guess this was a way of getting around the regs which may not have been all that specific I write it off as a simple variation or matter of taste.

 

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  • 1 month later...

Well I've been anxiously waiting to complete this uniform and post some photos.

 

You'll note the snaps for the original ribbon bar and I too was a bit perplexed as to how I would get something to line up. I decided against a Leu's ribbon rack because of this and set out to line up a set of ribbon slides. In order to create the Cheon-Su Medal, I used an Army Good Conduct ribbon. It appears this is how some places are doing it as well: http://www.af.mil/information/bios/bio.asp?bioID=7034

 

And the photos!

 

So glad to have an Oklahoma A&M (Oklahoma State) grad uniform back in Oklahoma.

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T.S. Akers, MA

Always looking for US Army and Air Force General Officer uniforms and hats.
http://gouniforms.blogspot.com/

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