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USMC UNIS marked uniform


camopara
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I am familiar with the codes for the 4th and 5th Marine Divisions.

I believe this is for the 1st Div. since the lozenge is on it's side. My question is can we read the numbers like the 4th Div?

 

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It should be L. Smith. It is stenciled in the waist band and on the rear pocket.

 

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So, if we read this like the 4th MarDiv markings, the 600 series would be artillery..

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suwanneetrader

Diamond on it's side (Horizontal) is 3rd USMC Div.. Ref Books all copied each other in saying it was 1st Div. Lots of Photographs from Iwo Jima showing the Horizontal diamond on tanks, water truck etc. and the 1st was not on Iwo. The numbers won't work out using the 4th Div. code. I have correspondence from about 3 or 4 years ago from the Marine Corps Museum saying they had not found the keys for the 3rd or 1st Div. UNIS markings. Richard

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Markings on trucks, jeeps and water containers do not necessarily correlate to the unit the same way they do as a UNIS marking does on a uniform. I think I posted markings before about this, but can't find it at the moment.

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suwanneetrader

Yes--Even the Marine corp museum thinks the 1st Div and 3rd Div.UNIS marking designation may have been reversed in one of the first publications and that it was quoted in references that followed it. I did dig out one of the correspondence from Owen Conner to me and Robert Sullivan and Neil Abelsma. Here it is. This was Jan 2012. Richard

 

Mr. Marquette,

You have stumbled on to one of the more difficult but fun topics relating to WWII era Marine insignia.

Unfortunately, UNIS markings are an incomplete puzzle. As you will see in most references (particularly Alec Tulkoff's "Grunt Gear" or Bruno Laurenti's "Marine Corps Uniforms & Equipment...") the symbols and their numbers are only well known and understood for the 4th and 5th Marine Divisions.

That I am currently aware of: there is no known "key" to decipher the number designations for the 1st, 3rd, and 6th Marine Divisions.

Here at the National Museum of the Marine Corps we will be cataloging and photographing our entire collection of the next few years. As this occurs, I am confident that the artifacts that we do have (sea bags, HBT shirts, canteens, vehicles, etc.) will reveal several "Rosetta Stone" type pieces that will finally begin to reveal the exact units represented by these symbols. This will take some time though.

In regard to your helmet. Much of the confusion lies in the use of the diamond shape. I found the internet forum where the helmet was being discussed and the image someone posted showing the division symbols there had a key mistake. They had flipped the 1st and 3rd Division markings. The 1st Division is the horizontal (wide) shape. The 3rd Division is the narrower vertical diamond. This is confirmed in both our references and documented artifacts in our collection.

Unfortunately, in looking at your helmet you see one of the major problems in this system. Often the square or rectangle, or in this case vertical or horizontal diamond can be easily "stretched" when the numbers are added inside. This can make the positive identification of one or the other divisions more difficult.

While the diamond looks to be a side-ways/horizontal diamond of the 1st MARDIV it could just be a bad stencil by someone representing the 3rd MARDIV!

This is made more difficult because the number 444 does not readily correct the problem. The number systems for the 1st and 3rd Divisions were not as transparent as they were with the 4th and 5th MARDIV (See attached scan). With those divisions the infantry regiments were easy to spot as their unit corresponded to the series number: e.g. the 300 series indicated 23rd Marines (matching the three in 23), the 400 series to the 24th Marines, etc.

We know however that the there were no units in the 1st or 3rd Divisions that obviously "matched up" in this manner. (for example the 1st Division is composed of the 1st, 5th, 7th, and 11th Marine Regiments). This means that the initial "4" in your "444" must be deciphered with a UNIS key that we do not currently have. In our collection we have a sea bag from a documented 1st Parachute Battalion Marine that shows his symbol as the horizontal diamond and the numbers "325". There would be no real way of knowing this without a key or the man's records showing which units he served in though.

The good news is it looks like you have a great find here and a neat Marine family connection in either way. I will keep a file here on your helmet and if/when I uncover more I will be sure to let you know.

Respectfully,

Owen Conner
Curator
Uniforms & Heraldry
National Museum of the Marine Corps
owen.conner@usmc.mil
Follow us online at www.usmcmuseum.org
Join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/USMCMuseum

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It has been 10 years since I published Grunt Gear. We as a collective community with access to Ancestry have an opportunity to fill in the blanks. Eveyone should search their UNIS marked materials and post so we can figure this out once and for all. I will find my other materials and post them over the next week. I know I have Engineer, Pioneer UNIS marked materials as well as Artillery and Infantry.

 

I have pretty complete Iwo Jima Muster Rolls and Pelelui too. This should help in this quest.

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Alec,

That is a super idea. I'll have to think this one through as how to do it. We probably don't need anything from the 4th and 5th since they are documented well in your book as well as others.

 

It would be nice to see some 1,2,3 MarDiv items and figure out which unit they belong to. I was talking to a 2nd and 4th MarDiv vet the other week and he remembers marking his equip not with UNIS but with colored stripes and remembers them vividly.

 

Kurt - I'm already married...plus, guys don't do anything for me!

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suwanneetrader

My helmet with 444 in diamond had no proof of vet Div. I cannot find the Iwo water truck photo but if I remember correctly it was taken (as was the tank and seabag pics) on Iwo Jima by Gordon L. Cornell. They were posted on the forum by a member with many others. I do not remember if he owns the collection or photos are his family or family friend. He did not want them copied so if he sees this maybe he will post the ones with UNIS looking paintings on vehicles, equipment and sea bag etc. I believe he said Cornell was in HQ supply. Richard

 

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suwanneetrader

Can you show an overall pic showing placement of diamond on helmet? Is it on the back rear?

In first pic, it would be right above the fixed bail on the wearer's right side. Richard

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In regards to your comment about shapes on Tanks and trucks and other items on Iwo this is from a January 1945 document in regards to markings for Vehicles and equipment boxes and containers. You can see clearly the 4th Division UNIS Symbol found on HBT uniforms being used for the 7th Marines and also a diamond shape being used for the 1st Marines.

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The above listing is from a January 1945 Divisional General Order Number 174 for the 1st Marine Division. If this was occurring in this division with this type of multi-usage of Symbols it could have easily occurred in other units as well. I believe that this is the coding found on duffle bags as well. If you look at the map case I posted above, it has an inverted black triangle with white lettering. The 1st division calls for white background with black letters. Seems to have some uniformity to it.

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Kurt Barickman

Kurt - I'm already married...plus, guys don't do anything for me! Are you sure about guys?? I thought you like our founding fathers and former presidents like Jackson, Grant and Franklin!!

 

Kurt

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guadalcanaliwo

Alec

 

It looks like you have the document that I have been looking for the last few years!!! A few years ago I realized that the WWII 1st Marine Division unis marks on items I had in 1st Division groupings did not conform with what had long been thought to be the only 1st Marine Division unis markings. It appears for a period of time, the 1st Division marked stuff not by a single unis mark for the entire division, but by a unis mark for each regiment. I noticed a pattern in named 1st Division unis marked items in my collection and in other named unis 1st Marine Division items I saw and hoped that the document Alec just posted ,existed to help fill in the blanks. Alec, is there any chance that you would post the remaining pages of the document?

 

By the way, it is a small world. I was just talking to camopara a couple of days ago on the phone and he mentioned the uniform that started this topic. I am really glad that he posted it because this has been a topic that I have been wanting to see discussed for a long time.

 

Also, Kurt, congrats on the new uniform!

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guadalcanaliwo

Just saw doylers question regarding 1st marines. 1st Marines would only refer to the 1st marine regiment, not the division. During WWII when they used the word "marines" without the word division behind it, it is referring to the regiment not the division.

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Correct, Marines is just for the Regiment. I will try to find some time to post some more material from the document. Only able to find enough time once in awhile. My regiment of children takes precedence. The black triangle on my other post is from a 2nd Division Marine though. The front is for the 7th Marines. Two different map cases.

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Just saw doylers question regarding 1st marines. 1st Marines would only refer to the 1st marine regiment, not the division. During WWII when they used the word "marines" without the word division behind it, it is referring to the regiment not the division.

 

Thanks

 

Thats what I was thinking.

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airborne53

hello

great camo uniform !!!!

l have small Unis code on P1 canteen case

Quentin H Joy 1st lieutnant 3rd tank battalion , 3rd Div

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olivier

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