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AEF First Over & Early Enlistment Stars

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The Star and Bar appear to be on one piece of material, sewn on the uniform separate form the discharge and overseas chevrons.


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WANTED: U.S. MARKSMASHIP MEDALS AND BADGES AWARED FOR EXCELLENCE-IN-COMPETITION

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Cookieman,

 

That is a very nice photo!

 

WWINerd,

 

The bar is very short, and unusual! About the chevrons, it's impossible to be sure of course, but they almost look like a variant made of wool. The period accounts mention tailors running out of silver bullion due to the demand from stateside men.

 

Here is an example of the ersatz silver chevrons made from white wool, which was sold by AGM in the past. Photo credit: Advance Guard Militaria.

 

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RC


"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

*Sherlock Holmes in "A Scandal in Bohemia"*

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Here is yet another "First Over" or "Early Enlistment" star and service chevron combo. What's interesting is that he's sewn them onto both his service coat and his overcoat. Each insignia appears to be made up of two pieces, i.e. the star on a separate backing cloth and the chevrons, also on their own backing cloth.

 

I'm no expert on this, but the photo studio's painted backdrop looks to be either French or German, so his chevrons are likely gold for overseas service. I have no idea what outfit the guy served in, but his collar disc looks like it could be the crossed rifles of the infantry.

 

The insets show the service coat insignia at the top and the overcoat's below that.

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This is a 42nd Infantry Division Doughboy with a Signal Corps sweetheart pin on his overseas cap. Judging by the fact that he earned three gold overseas service chevrons, the star above them likely represents that he was amongst the first 100,000 American Doughboys to arrive 'Over There'.

 

In this case it appears that the star has been added to the untrimmed backing cloth at the top of his issued service chevrons.

 

Photos courtesy of Bay State Militaria.com

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This particular Doughboy seems to have awarded himself two stars! Note that the upper star looks like it might be made from cloth or embroidered. The lower star however, appears to have been fabricated from stamped metal and probably bears a pin or prongs on the back.

 

We can speculate that the reason for plural stars is because he enlisted and was one of the first 100, 000 troops to arrive in France. But because he's no longer around to tell us why, there's no way for any of us to know for sure why there are two stars present.

 

Photos courtesy of the John Adam-Graf collection

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Excellent additions Brian.


"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

*Sherlock Holmes in "A Scandal in Bohemia"*

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Just adding this:

 

"War Department Warns Against Unauthorized Insignia

 

Washington, D.C. - Under the direction of the Secretary of War, circular instructions

have been issued to post exchanges at military posts forbidding the sale of

unauthorized insignia, such as service ribbons and gold and silver stars. Efforts

are being made to induce stores located near cantonments and military posts

to refrain from selling such insignia."

 

Aerial Age Weekly, February 24, 1919; page 1159.


"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

*Sherlock Holmes in "A Scandal in Bohemia"*

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Forum member Gil Sanow posted the following in another thread devoted to a silver bar above a gold overseas service chevron. Because the information is relevant to this topic, I've re-posted it here. It is yet another possible reason why a gold star was worn over the service chevrons!

 

There may be another explanation for stars on the cuffs! In his book, Orders, Decorations and Insignia, Military and Civil, COL Robert E. Wyllie (G.P. Putnam Sons, 1921) states, on page 208:

 

"In addition, each officer and man in an organization which is cited in War Department orders wears a silver star on the cuff, a second star is added for a second citation. For a third citation, the two silver stars are replaced by a gold star, etc., a gold star is used for every three citations , and a silver star for each intermediate one. This is purely a regimental decoration, and not in any sense personal, it is part of the uniform of the organization and must be removed when the individual is transferred elsewhere."

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Here is another re-post from a recent thread that was devoted to a gold star that was awarded for shooting down an enemy airplane. The information and photos were sent to me by forum member Jagjetta.

 

For those interested, here is a link to that post: http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/259436-gold-star-award-for-shooting-down-an-enemy-aircraft/

 

Apparently, 1st Lieutenant (Field Artillery) Austin T. Foster who served as an observer in the 186th and 90th Aero Squadrons, in a hand written note that accompanied his uniform which was sold by Advance Guard Militaria.com, stated that:

 

"The enclosed star was given for shooting down an enemy plane. We never wore them because we were told that we would be out of uniform and arrested by the MPs when we went into Paris."

 

AEF records confirm that while serving in the 90th Aero Squadron during the Argonne-Meuse offensive, on November 4, 1918, Lt. Foster was flying with Lt. Loren E. Rohrer when four Fokker D.VIIs singled them out and attacked. Foster fired about 80 rounds from each of his guns before they jammed. By the time he cleared his guns, five more Fokkers joined pursuit. Rohrer dropped the plane to 100 meters to attempt escape. When Foster was able to start firing, he managed to shoot down one of the Boche planes and the others broke off the attack. General Orders No. 28 from the First Army Air Service notes and credits Rohrer and Foster for their air victory.

 

Anyway this is another possible reason for wearing a gold star on the lower left cuff of the service coat.

 

Images of Lt. Foster’s uniform, note and gold star courtesy of Advance Guard Militaria.com

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Here is another Early Enlistment Star (I think) on an Advance Sector Service of Supply Doughboy's service coat.

 

This guy seems to have decorated his uniform with unauthorized insignia as if it were a Christmas tree. In addition to the early enlistment star, he has added an enameled pin and miniature wings to his overseas cap, as well as a couple of what look to be unissued campaign ribbons!

 

Photos courtesy of the John Adam-Graf collection

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One more "First Over Star". This one on the service coat worn by a member of the 103rd(?) Infantry Regiment, 26th Division. The star above his three gold overseas service chevrons is made from stamped metal rather than embroidered.

 

Note that he has scratched his regimental number above the crossed rifles on the infantry collar disc. When enlarged it looks as if he'd scratched the numerals "one", "zero" and what looks like the letter "S" ... The two brigades of infantry in the 26th was made up of the 101st, 102nd, 103rd & 104th Infantry Regiments. Could the last character be a very badly rendered "3"?

 

If not a three, then what?

 

Photos courtesy of the John Adam-Graf collection

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Is this beginning to be too repetitive for anybody?

 

Until I hear otherwise, I'll keep adding ... to wit, here is yet another First Over Star.

 

This particular example definitely looks as if it is made from stamped metal. The soldier is wearing an artillery collar disc which identifies him as a member of Battery F, 12th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Division. I'm not sure, but it appears as if he is not wearing a 2nd Division shoulder patch.

 

Photo courtesy of the John Adam-Graf collection

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Is this beginning to be too repetitive for anybody?

 

Until I hear otherwise, I'll keep adding ... to wit, here is yet another First Over Star.

 

This particular example definitely looks as if it is made from stamped metal. The soldier is wearing an artillery collar disc which identifies him as a member of Battery F, 12th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Division. I'm not sure, but it appears as if he is not wearing a 2nd Division shoulder patch.

 

Photo courtesy of the John Adam-Graf collection

 

Nope, you keep posting them and I'll keep reading them!


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" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

View my website honoring the men and women of Indiana: http://indianavets.wix.com/indiana-at-war and follow my updates on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IndianaModernAgeofWar/
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Well, here's another period interpretation of the star above service chevrons--this time from a Tank Corps and 30th Division perspective:

SOURCE: Greenville (SC) News, 17 Jan 1919, page 1, “Tank Commander tells of thrilling experiences in breaking Hindenburg Line; Lieutenant Hobbs…Young officer wears special insignia…” (Lt. Henry Ash Hobbs, 301st Tank Bn., Co. A)

 

“The young officer’s uniform is distinguished by his wound stripes and service stripes, and most important of all, by a gold star on his left sleeve which was conferred on him for being one of the men who helped break the Hindenburg Line. All the men who took part in that great feat, which resulted in an early victory for the allied arms, art to have this gold star, it is understood, although quite a number of them have not yet received them. This means, of course, that virtually all the members of the Thirtieth Division will have this mark of honor.”


Top dollar paid for WWI AEF Tank Corps uniforms, medal groups, equipment and photos,
unit histories and rosters...especially anything associated with

301st (Heavy) Tank Bn
Drop me an email and let me know what you have.

 

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I just wanted to contribute to this thread further. No information was provided for this photo. I saved it from an auction site months ago. Note a bar above the star.

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Nice addition mrwocco. I'm still working (without much success) on finding out what the gold and silver bars situated either above or below the service chevrons actually signified.

 

If you come across any more service chevrons with added stars or bars, please post them. Maybe one will provide a clue.

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I bought this lot out of Massachusetts. It is marked with a US 50 along with the appropriate markings for a CAC Regiment. So I am assuming that it's 50 Artillery CAC, unless the disc was put on later, which doesn't seem to be the case here given where and how I bought it. Problem is that the 50th didn't arrive until late October and served overseas less than 6 months. I am comparing ship lists going over vs. coming back to see if I can take out those who transferred in after arriving in France. If I find a soldier who transferred in from another unit and arrived earlier, I might have an interesting argument. Thoughts?

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I bought this lot out of Massachusetts. It is marked with a US 50 along with the appropriate markings for a CAC Regiment. So I am assuming that it's 50 Artillery CAC, unless the disc was put on later, which doesn't seem to be the case here given where and how I bought it. Problem is that the 50th didn't arrive until late October and served overseas less than 6 months. I am comparing ship lists going over vs. coming back to see if I can take out those who transferred in after arriving in France. If I find a soldier who transferred in from another unit and arrived earlier, I might have an interesting argument. Thoughts?

 

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Brock, congrats on a great find. Please post more information regarding the soldier or the star insignia, if you come across anything germane to this topic.

 

It could be that the star on your uniform is an enlistment star, which proclaimed that the wearer had enlisted, as opposed to being drafted.

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