Jump to content

World War I War Service Chevrons


Recommended Posts

Photo No. 24: Five of the nine men from the previous photo appear to be wearing a SSI. At least two of them (the 3rd and 4th man from the left in the front row) are wearing the rattlesnake shoulder patch of the 369th Infantry Regiment, whose nom de guerre was ‘Harlem Hell Fighters’. The regiment’s insignia consisted of a coiled rattlesnake ready to strike on a field of black. If you look closely, you can make out the coiled snake insignia on the shoulder of the ‘Black Yankee’, which is what the French called the African American servicemen in the AEF. Also of interest is the so called ‘first over’ star placed above the two gold bullion service chevrons (the first over star will be discussed later in this topic).

post-5143-0-13847700-1393763933.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 127
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Photo No. 25: The third soldier from the left in the back row of photo number 15 looks to be wearing the horizon blue, French helmet on a circular black background. This insignia superseded both the Black Rattler and Black Devil regimental insignias and became the official SSI of all four infantry regiments that composed the 93rd Division (369th, 370th, 371st & 372nd). The period photos show returning Doughboys of the 93rd wearing similar versions of that division’s distinctive emblem. The center photo depicts the unofficial insignia of the ‘Black Devils’, which was the nickname for the 370th Infantry Regiment. Appropriately enough, their logo was comprised of a black devil on a red background. In this case, it has been placed below the French Adrian helmet insignia of the 93rd Infantry Division.

 

post-5143-0-13262900-1393763980.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Photo No. 26: The French 157th Infantry Division was known as the ‘Bloody’ or ‘Red Hand’ Division because of a particularly violent engagement that division experienced early in the war. After decimated during the Third Battle of the Aisne in 1918, the division was reconstituted with a fresh French infantry regiment, along with the 371st and the 372nd Infantry Regiments borrowed from the U.S. 93rd Infantry Division. After fierce fighting in which the 157th Division helped save Paris, the African American Doughboys adopted the ‘bloody’ or ‘red’ hand insignia as a symbol of their service with the French Piolus. Later that insignia was replaced by the profile of a blue Casque de Adrian, which had become the SSI for all regiments of the U.S. 93rd Infantry Division.

The new shoulder patch depicting a French helmet was adopted because it gave a single insignia to the entire division and because some believed that the red hand emblem would be perceived as a symbol of aggression by whites back in the U.S. To ensure that the controversial insignia didn’t reach America, MP were posted at the embarkation center in Brest. They were under orders to remove the bloody hand patches from the uniforms of any soldier before allowing him to board a transport ship bound for home.

post-5143-0-46506200-1393764027.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Photo No. 27: The hip length woolen Mackinaw with roll collar and matching waist belt was often substituted for the heavier overcoats. Mackinaws were issued to AEF troops whose ability to perform their duty was hampered by wearing the longer and bulkier overcoats like engineers and dispatch riders. The shorter length of the Mackinaw worn by the soldier at left is clearly visible. The dispatch rider’s Mackinaw to the right shows a single service chevron that is in all probability situated similar to the War Service Chevrons seen on the longer 1917 and 1918 pattern overcoats.

post-5143-0-05043000-1393764072.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

War Service Chevrons on the U.S. Army Officer’s Service Coat

 

U.S. Army commissioned officers were issued gold, light blue and silver War Service Chevrons based on the same criteria, and through the same supply channels as the enlisted men. Most officers however, had the luxury of having both their uniform and insignia custom made by a professional tailor either in America or in Europe. Because of this, a collector today is more apt to encounter a wider variety of types, sizes and materials in regard to service chevrons on an officer’s uniform when compared to those on the enlisted men’s uniform.

 

Regulations specified that all War Service Chevrons destined for a commissioned officer’s service coat were to be sewn point down on the lower left hand sleeve, with the point of the lowest chevron one inch above the brown mohair cuff braid for commissioned officers or the black mohair cuff braid for staff officers that signified the wearer was an officer in the U.S. Army.

 

Each additional chevron was to be one-quarter inch above the existing chevrons. The exception being, commissioned officers in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps who served on board a ship during the war. Like the enlisted Marines and sailors, Navy and fleet Marine officers were authorized to wear one gold War Service Chevron point up, not down for each six month period they served at sea. It was also possible for Navy and Marine officers to wear a combination of points up and points down service chevrons if they saw service both on a ship and with the AEF in France during the war.

 

Photo No. 28: Left, Captain Eddie Rickenbacker of the 94th Aero Squadron has opted for three service chevrons that are noticeably smaller than those issued by the QTMC. Note how small they are compared to those in the next two photographs. At center, this junior aviator has removed the stiffener from the crown of his 1911 Service Cap, just as Colonel and later General Douglas MacArthur of the 42nd Division had done. Note that the point of his single chevron is almost touching the officer’s mohair cuff braid while Captain Rickenbackers’s and General Harbord’s chevrons have been placed well within the guidelines of existing uniform regulations. Right, Brigadier General James G. Harbord, the only U.S. Army officer to command the 2nd Division’s 4th Marine Brigade during the war wears three oversized gold tape War Service Chevrons on his lower left sleeve. The French Adrian helmet bearing a single star denoting the rank of brigadier general is said to be the helmet he wore when he commanded the Marine Brigade during the battle for Belleau Wood.

post-5143-0-60718600-1393764222.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Photo No. 29: Gold bullion thread (right, silver bullion wire, and gold bullion wire seem to be the material of preference in regard to officer’s War Service Chevrons. However, that doesn’t mean that gold tape and gold ribbon were not also used on commissioned officer’s uniforms. What usually dictated the type of chevron used on officer’s service coats was either what type was issued or what type was recommended by a tailor or what type happened to be preferred by the officer.

post-5143-0-79286500-1393764268.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Photo No. 30: Note the assorted shapes, widths and angle of the arms on the War Service Chevrons worn by these AEF officers. The chevrons all appear to be one to two inches from the officer’s cuff braid, except for the artillery captain (2nd from left), whose single chevron looks to be twice as high as the other officers. The diminutive size gold bullion wound and service chevrons shown beneath the period photographs are similar to the smaller chevrons worn by the ‘Ivy’ or 4th Infantry Division medical officer above. Flanking the petite gold bullion chevrons is a “Buckeye’ or 37th Infantry Division SSI and a 4th Infantry Division insignia with a miniature 3rd Army emblem inset at the center. The 4th Division’s insignia was meant to be positioned on the shoulder in the shape of a diamond, not a square. However, it’s not uncommon to find the SSI to be sewn on as a square. Also note how high up the red Discharge Stripe has been sewn on the sleeve of the 4th Division officer’s service coat. The two chevrons worn by the 32nd Division officer at far right, appear to be much larger that those worn by the other officers. Also the ordnance officer at extreme left appears to be wearing three matching service chevrons combined with a similar, but slightly different fourth chevron that was apparently sewn on at a later date.

post-5143-0-87798600-1393764330.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Photo No. 31: The gold service chevrons on these officer’s service coats are all more or less, correctly positioned on the left sleeve. The oversize gold tape chevrons on the right appears to be of the same type or of a similar design to those worn by General Harbord in photo number 20.

 

Beneath the service coats, at left is the 349th Artillery Regiment’s red swastika SSI. Before WW II, the swastika was considered to be a good luck symbol in many cultures. The two artillery brigades of the ‘Buffalo’ or 92nd Infantry Division were the only units within that division that did not adopt the much more familiar SSI bearing a profile of an American buffalo. At the center the 130th MG Battalion is identified by the black and yellow quadrants within the Cross of Santa Fe, which was the 35th Infantry Division’s SSI. The ‘Sunrise’ or 41st Infantry Division SSI at the far right is unusual because it features an unusually large wool backing cloth.

post-5143-0-02489000-1393764395.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Photo No. 32: Silver War Service Chevrons were also worn by commissioned officers of the U.S. Army who did not qualify for a gold or light blue service chevron. On the right is a junior aviator’s tailor made service coat worn by a flight instructor who served 18 months at a stateside training facility for the U.S. Army’s new Air Service. Above the trio of “issued” silver tape service chevrons shown at lower left, is a curious set of War Service Chevrons that were sewn onto another officer’s service coat. They are made from tarnished fine wire that could have once been either gold or silver. What makes them interesting is that almost all of the backing cloth has been trimmed away, and each chevron has been individually sewn onto the sleeve.

post-5143-0-84811200-1393764437.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Photo No. 33: Generally, you can determine the original color of a badly tarnished gold or silver service chevron by the color of the thread that was used to sew the chevron onto the olive drab backing cloth. Yellow or gold thread was used to sew on gold chevrons (left). White or silver thread was used to sew on silver chevrons (center). The fact that white thread was used to attach the unusual chevron from above and at right, cause me to believe that it was once silver, not gold.

post-5143-0-08555800-1393764482.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

War Service Chevrons on the U.S. Army Officer’s Overcoat

Like the service coat, the War Service Chevron was to be worn point down on all styles of U.S. Army officer’s overcoats. Regulations stated that the service chevrons were to be worn as follows:

  • Officer's Overcoats without the looped knot insignia of rank on the sleeves: were to be worn point down, with the point of the lowest chevron five inches from the bottom edge of the left sleeve.

 

  • Officer's Overcoats with the looped knot insignia on the sleeves: were to be superimposed on the braid that composed the rank insignia so that the point of the lowest chevron was one inch below the lower angle of the knot.

Photo No. 34: Upper left, this photo taken at Chicago’s main train station in 1919, shows Colonel Roberts of the 93rd Infantry Division’s, 370th Infantry Regiment, wearing a single gold Wound Chevron on the right sleeve, and two gold War Service Chevrons over the looped knot rank insignia on the left sleeve of his overcoat. Next to him, stands Captain Prout, also from the 270th Infantry Regiment. He wears a pair of gold service chevrons that are correctly placed on the sleeve of an unadorned officer's overcoat. On the right is Major Ross of the 365th Infantry Regiment, 92nd Infantry Division. His single War Service Chevron is as it should be, superimposed over the three rows of black braid that composed the looped knot rank insignia of a major's overcoat.

Beneath the two black and white photos are the 93rd Division’s insignia, as painted onto the front of a steel helmet and the SSI of the 92nd Infantry Division in light blue, the branch color for the infantry, on a black circular backing cloth.

 

post-5143-0-12830500-1393764606.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Photo No. 35: On the right is an obsolete 1905 or 1909 pattern Officer’s Overcoat with rounded chest opening and sleeve cuffs. Three gold service chevrons have been superimposed over the looped knot rank insignia of a captain. In the center photograph, two War Service Chevrons have been correctly positioned, in accordance with the uniform regulations on the lower left sleeve of 1st Lieutenant James Reese Europe's overcoat. Europe was a well known jazz musician and the bandleader of the 369th Infantry Regimental Band. The photo next to Europe shows a gold bullion War Service Chevron as it would appear on the looped knot rank insignia of a captain's overcoat. The looped knot appears to be composed of two styles of black braid. This typically indicates that the coat originally belonged to a 1st Lieutenant, whose rank was made from just one row of black braid. When the lieutenant was promoted to captain, the lieutenant’s overcoat was modified to reflect the new rank by the addition of a second and slightly different row of black braid.

post-5143-0-68820900-1393764687.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Photo No. 36: This private purchase overcoat belonged to Lieutenant Colonel Cooper D. Winn Jr. of the ‘Rainbow’ or 42nd Infantry Division’s 151st Machine Gun Battalion. The high quality, knee length coat features a looped knot rank insignia comprised of four rows of black braid, with two gold bullion service chevrons superimposed on the base of the knot. Besides the rainbow SSI near the shoulder, what make this overcoat interesting are the embroidered crossed rifles placed beneath the knot of both sleeves, This is a throwback to the 1902 Officer’s Greatcoat, which featured bronze pinback branch of service devices below the looped knot rank insignia on the sleeves. Also of interest is the fact that one of the rows of braid has been added to what was once a major’s overcoat. This likely took place after Winn’s promotion to lieutenant colonel late in the war.

post-5143-0-89764800-1393764723.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Photo No. 37: No regulations existed as to how War Service Chevrons were to be worn on the numerous styles of non-regulation jackets, coats, mackinaws, raincoats and overcoats that found their way onto the backs of AEF officers during the course of the war. Judging by surviving examples and period photographs, most service chevrons were placed at approximately the same height as those worn on the officer’s regulation overcoat. On the left, this heavy, triple layer cloth flight coat has a single gold chevron just above its adjustable cuff strap. The center photo shows the ubiquitous khaki ‘trenchcoat’ that was favored by British officers and later adopted by officers serving in the AEF, as a practical alternative to the heavy 1907 pattern officer’s overcoat. Two War Service Chevrons are visible above the cuff strap on the left sleeve of this 1st lieutenant’s trenchcoat. The private purchased Mackinaw style coat at right features three silver chevrons for stateside service, superimposed over the regulation, looped knot, rank insignia of a 1st lieutenant.

post-5143-0-55632400-1393764772.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

War Service Chevrons on U.S. Army General Officer’s Overcoats

Photo No. 38: General officers were allowed a great deal of latitude in respect to the articles of clothing that they wore. This fact is most evident in the case of footwear and overcoats, as can be seen in the two photographs above. At right, Brigadier General Samuel Rockenback, commanding officer of the AEF Tank Corps, displays three War Service Chevrons above the narrow, upper black cuff band that denoted a general officer on his privately procured Mackinaw style coat. The single star between the two bands, as well as the non-regulation silver star that adorns his steel helmet indicates the rank of a brigadier general. Also of note is the French M2 Gasmask in its half-moon shaped mussette bag slung from his neck.

On the left, Major General John Francis O’Ryan, the youngest division commander in the AEF and the only National Guard general to remain in command throughout the war, chats with another general officer from the 27th on the deck of a troopship bound for the United States in 1919. The two gold service chevrons that he earned during the war are placed per regulations, centered on the sleeve, with the point of the lowest chevron one inch above the upper band of black general officer’s mohair braid.

Below is the triangular shaped SSI of the Tank Corps. The three colors within the insignia, yellow for cavalry, blue for infantry and red for artillery, symbolize the three arms of service which the Tank Corps came to represent. Opposite is the 27th Division’s SSI depicting the constellation O’Ryan, which was selected because it mirrored the name of that division’s commanding officer.

post-5143-0-65719100-1393764852.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

War Service Chevrons Hierarchy and Color Combinations

There was a clear hierarchy in respect to how the War Service Chevrons were worn on the left sleeves of the service coats and overcoats. Although combinations of gold and silver and silver and light blue chevrons appear from time to time, the mixing of chevrons was strictly unauthorized. Mixed chevrons would not have been tolerated either in the AEF or in the stateside Army. Therefore, if a second color chevron was added, in all likelihood, it was sewn onto the uniform after the soldier had been discharged from military service. As far as the War Department was concerned, the war Service Chevrons were ranked as follows:

 

  • Silver: The silver chevron was the lowest of the three colors. A silver chevron could not be worn by any soldier, sailor or Marine who was entitled to wear either the single blue chevron for less than six months service or one or more gold chevrons for six or more months of service overseas in the Theater of Operations. I don’t know this for a fact, but since I have never seen a service coat bearing four silver chevrons, I believe that three silver service chevrons was the maximum number awarded to any soldier, sailor or Marine who served stateside between the dates of April 2, 1917 and November 11, 1918.

  • Light Blue: The light blue chevron was ranked higher than the silver chevron, but lower than the gold chevron. The light blue chevron was not authorized to be worn in conjunction with either the gold or silver war Service Chevrons. Therefore, if worn per regulations, a maximum of one light blue service chevron was allowed to be worn on the left sleeve of either a service coat or an overcoat. Even if a soldier had served six or twelve months stateside before shipping out to France, he was still only authorized to wear one light blue service chevron if his service in the Theater of Operations amounted to less than six months.

 

  • Gold: Of the three colors of chevrons that were issued, the gold chevron was the highest ranking. Any serviceman who served six months or more in the Theater of Operations was authorized to wear one gold chevron for each six month period that he served overseas. Like the silver and light blue service chevrons, the gold chevron was not prescribed to be worn with any other color of chevron.

 

Photo No. 39: Despite the fact that any soldier’s war time service, both at home and abroad could technically be more accurately depicted by combining the various colors of chevrons, the practice of doing so was simply not allowed.

 

The mixing of gold and silver, gold and light blue and light blue and silver War Service Chevrons was prohibited by AEF, Army and War Department regulations. The fact that the various colors of service chevrons were mixed cannot be disputed. However, the mixed chevrons were most likely added to Doughboy uniforms after the soldier had been discharged from military service.

 

Both of the examples shown appear to be professionally sewn onto a single piece of olive drab wool backing cloth. One has been neatly trimmed to conform to the shape of the chevrons, while the other has been cut into an asymmetrical rectangular shape. This suggests that mismatched chevrons may have been commercially manufactured and marketed to the veterans after the war through veteran organizations and at the numerous annual reunions that took place in the decades that followed the Great War.

post-5143-0-06575600-1393764940.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Number of War Service Chevrons Authorized

Photo No. 40: It’s common enough to see Doughboy uniforms and period photographs displaying one, two, three and sometimes even four War Service Chevrons. But a fifth or an unheard of sixth chevron, if not common, they apparently were within the realm of possibility.

The first picture in the top row is of an 87th Infantry Division man wearing a single gold service chevron for between six and eleven months of overseas service. Next the 2 gold chevrons worn by the 82nd or ‘All American’ Infantry Division shows that he’s already served anywhere between twelve and seventeen months in the Theater of Operations. Opposite the All American Doughboy, a member of the 13th Engineer Regiment has earned three War Service Chevrons, signifying eighteen to twenty-three months of duty in Europe.

In the bottom row, a Yankee in the 26th Infantry Division has accrued a total of four service chevrons which represent twenty-four to twenty-nine months of service with the AEF. In the middle is a 3rd Army soldier with five service chevrons for thirty to thirty-five months of collective service in France, and or occupation duty in Germany. He has also adopted the practice of wearing colored discs of felt behind the collar discs on both the collar of his service coat and on the overseas cap. The final and somewhat grainy photo is of a 3rd Army musician wearing the 1912 Russet Leather Garrison Belt and the smaller version of the 1904 Musicians Pouch, which is slung from his right shoulder. On his left sleeve is an impressive array of six gold service chevrons that equal a total of thirty six to forty-one months of overseas service.

post-5143-0-80281700-1393765017.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

As soon as war was declared on April 2, 1917, any serving military officer or enlisted man who happened to be on duty in what would eventually become the Theater of Operations, began to earn time towards the accumulation of gold War Service Chevrons. This was based on the May 1918, amended regulations that altered the circumstances under which AEF personnel met the requirements. A cutoff date for War Service Chevrons was established for the AEF when War Department General Orders No. 123 of 1919, decreed that no time after October 4, 1919, would count towards a gold or light blue service chevron, except for the men serving in Siberia and for the troops serving in the Army of Occupation.

 

Therefore any Doughboy, Marine or sailor who served the maximum amount of time possible which was from April 2, 1917 to October 4, 1919, or approximately thirty months in the Theater of Operations would be entitled to wear no more than five gold service chevrons. This of course, would not be the case if the soldier’s served with the 3rd Army in Germany after October of 1919. According to the Stars and Stripes newspaper, there were very few members of the AEF who would gain five or more gold service chevrons who did not serve after October 4, 1919 in the Army of Occupation.

 

Fourth Gold Chevron Is Now Amongst Us

And only Four in A.E.F Dare to Break it Out

Yet-A-While

It has appeared among us – that fourth service stripe. There are thousands of ones and twos and threes, but that fourth one sticks out like a beacon in a fog, and sets everyone to wondering if the wearer didn’t make a mistake and tack it on the wrong arm.

 

There are just four men, as far as is known now in France who have gained the right to stick that extra gold V on their left sleeve. Col. C. W. Exton, Paris representative of the Army educational committee is one. The colonel was military attaché in Switzerland when the United States declared that a state of war existed between it and Germany. Being overseas when the war began, and coming thus within the pale of the regulation prescribing the right to wear the gold stripe, his six month period began to run coincidentally with our participation in the conflict.

 

Others overseas at the same time were Brig. Gen. Frank Parker, now with the 1st Division, at that time an observer over here; and Col. Sanford Wadhams U.S.M.C., A.E.F., another American soldier who was in France in April 1917.

 

Incidentally, four-stripes will begin to appear on others very soon, for May 1917 saw several American hospital units landing in France. Most of these Yanks have sailed for home but a good number is left.

 

However, that fourth golden V will be rare enough to narrow scrutiny and mayhap a question or so.

 

Stars and Stripes Newspaper, Volume 2, No. 13, May 2, 1919, page 03

Photo No. 41: On the left, the 87th Infantry Division’s insignia was comprised of a golden acorn on a green backing cloth. At center are the initials ‘A’ and ‘A’ in white for, ‘All American’ on a red field which represented the 82nd Infantry Division. The thirteen stars surrounding the Corps of Engineers castle is the symbol of the 13th Engineer Regiment.

post-5143-0-22596100-1393765179.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

“Lafayette we are still here…”

The American Army of Occupation

“Lafayette we are still here” became the rallying cry of thousands of AEF troops who had the misfortune to be posted to the American 3rd Army, otherwise known as the ‘Army of Occupation’. The Army of Occupation is the designation given to U.S. troops assigned to serve in Germany, Austria and Hungary for postwar service between November 12, 1918 and July 12, 1919 (after that date the occupying force was called the American Forcer in Germany. Many of the homesick men in the 3rd Army or Armed Forces Germany were the recipients of the seldom seen fifth, sixth or perhaps even more gold War service Chevrons.

 

With the Imperial German Army in full retreat back to the Fatherland, and only a cease fire agreement, not a formal peace treaty signed; the Allied Nations were concerned that the German Army, once across the border and safely inside Germany would refit and again resume hostilities. To ensure this did not happen, England, France and America agreed to send troops across the Rhine River onto German soil to disarm and monitor the activities of the presumed defeated German Army.

 

Photo No. 42: Unfortunately this photo was too large to post. When I resized it the resolution was such that it was not really worth posting. Therefore my solution was to split it into two halves. Obviously this is the first half; the caption for both halves precedes photo number 43, which is the second half.

post-5143-0-05457100-1393765303.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Army that was to occupy Germany came into being on November 7, 1918 when General Pershing directed that a third American Army be organized for occupation duties in Germany. Initially the 3rd Army was composed of the III Corps, comprised of the 2nd, 32nd and 42nd Infantry Divisions and the IV Corps consisting of the 1st, 3rd and 4th Infantry Divisions. On November 22, 1918, the VII Corps made up of the 5th, 89th and 90th Infantry Divisions was added. However, only the Doughboys of the III and IV Corps crossed the Rhine River. The men of the VII Corps, minus the 5th Infantry Division remained in Germany, west of the Rhine River. Later, the 5th Division, along with the 33rd Infantry Division were both dispatched to Luxembourg to guard the 3rd Army’s extended lines of communication. Once there, the 5th and 33rd Divisions fell under the command of the American 2nd Army. It should also be noted that both the 6th and 7th Infantry Division’s marched on Germany after the Armistice was signed. Both divisions were attached to the 3rd Army for a brief period of time.

 

Photo No. 44: Left, this soldier has racked up five gold War Service Chevrons for his combined service in France and Germany. It also appears that he has a ‘special duty or ‘runner’s’ stripe beneath the lowest chevron. However, it may just be a shadow caused by one of the folds in the fabric. In the center are three variations of the 3rd Army SSI. Next to this is an Army of Occupation MP. Both he and the soldier to his left have placed colored discs of felt behind their collar discs.

 

MPs on occupation duty also adopted the practice of wearing a rectangular shaped piece of red cloth (usually felt) with rounded corners behind their collar discs. In this case it looks as if the initials ‘M’ and ‘P’ have been embroidered onto the red backing cloth in lieu of the prescribed MP collar disc, as the initials are far too big to appear on a collar disc. It also looks like this MP’s pistol belt and pistol magazine pouch have been bleached to a lighter shade of khaki or possibly even a white color.

post-5143-0-87130400-1393765431.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Photo No. 45: At top is the caltrop shaped III Corps Insignia. Ordinarily the blue background featured an inverted white triangle. Here it is yellow to signify that it belonged to a cavalry regiment. The III Corps was comprised of the 2nd Infantry Division, which served in the 3rd Army until July 1919. This example of that division’s HO Detachment insignia includes a miniature Army of Occupation shoulder patch. Beside it is the red arrow of the 32nd Infantry Division, which remained with the 3rd Army until April of 1919. Following that is the red, yellow and blue rainbow emblem of the 42nd Infantry Division’s SSI. That division departed from Germany in May of 1919.

post-5143-0-31372300-1393765511.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Photo No. 46: Above is the circular shaped SSI divided into two white and two blue quadrants of the IV Corps. Attached to the IV Corps was the ‘Big Red One’ or 1st Infantry Division. Leaving in August 1919, it was the last AEF Division to depart from the nation of its former foe. In the center is the white and blue SSI of the ‘Rock of the Marne’ Division, which is better known as the 3rd Infantry Division. At the time of writing I could not find the date on which the division left the Army of Occupation. The last SSI is the 4th Infantry Division’s ivy insignia. This example also features a diminutive 3rd Army emblem. The 4th Division left for home in July of 1919.

post-5143-0-43757100-1393765547.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Photo No. 47: VII Corp’s insignia was comprised of the numeral ‘7’ on a dark blue shield shaped background. It was made up of the 89th Infantry or ‘Middle West’ Division’s rolling ‘W’ logo. Each organization within the 89th was identified by various color combinations placed in the openings created by the ‘W’ within a circle. Here this combination of red and white represents the 164th Field Artillery Brigade. The 89th Division ended its service in Germany in May of 1919. The initials ‘T’ and ‘O’ forged into the shape of a cattle brand stood for “tough hombres”, which is the Spanish language means “tough men”. It moved out for America in June 1919.

post-5143-0-89813900-1393765601.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

While the pacification of Germany was progressing, the transfer of AEF troops from France to America moved forward at a rapid pace. As of May of 1919, every American combat division, except for the five divisions: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th that made up the Army of Occupation, had either already sailed or had received orders for their embarkation to the United States. With the dissolution of the 3rd Army on July 2, 1919, any organizations that remained with that organization were repatriated to America as rapidly as possible. By August of 1919, the 1st Infantry Division was the last of the five divisions to depart for home.

 

The 6,800 man force that stayed remained in Germany was christened the American Forces in Germany (AFG) on July 12, 1919. The AFG tenure on the Rhine River would last for another three and a half years. The American occupation of Germany officially ended on January 24, 1923, when the American zone was turned over to the French three days after that date.

 

The clock that measured the amount of time an officer or enlisted man spent either in the AEFs Theater of Operations or as a member of the Army of Occupation in Germany continued to tick away until (I think) the AFG was disbanded late in January of 1923. If the impossible happened, and a soldier happened to be in the Theater of Operations when America entered the war on April 2, 1917 and he served continuously with the AEF until the Armistice, and then with the Army of Occupation until it became the American Forces in Germany, and he then stayed with the AFG until it departed from Germany on January 24, 1923, he would have served for 70 consecutive months and been eligible to wear a staggering eleven gold War Service Chevrons!

 

Photo No. 48: The ‘Red Diamond’ or 5th Infantry Division was initially part of the original 3rd Army. It served in Luxembourg until July 1919, along with the ‘Prairie’ or 33rd Infantry Division. It went home two months before the 5th in May of 1919.

post-5143-0-82163900-1393765678.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.