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Branch Piping Color for Officer's Garrison Caps


Dave
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I was recently offered a really plum overseas cap that has good provenance to a USAAF general officer. However, the piping on it is the intertwined blue and gold (or orange, depending on your opinion of the color) of a standard USAAF officer. Is this correct? I know that GOs normally wore the piping of gold for the other branches, so this one struck me as kind of odd. Thoughts are appreciated!

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The ONLY authorized piping for Army (including AAF) generals has always been gold. In WW1, company and field grade officers wore branch colors, but from WW2 on, officers of all branches wore black/gold piping, except generals as noted above.

 

If this fellow wore blue/gold, it would have been if he was enlisted at the time, that was the AAC/AAF branch color for EMs.

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Welllll.... I had a documented ( I personally purchased from the Vet) AAF Pilot group, and he had a Chocolate Brown, OS cap with AAF piping. Man these guys sure were inconsiderate ...

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Thanks for confirming my suspicions! I thought it looked rather odd & went with my gut on that one.

 

Incidentally, I do have a handful of officer gabardene o/seas hats in my collection that have branch piping on them. I assume then that this wasn't actually authorized?

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I too have officer shade chocolate brown o/s caps in my collection with EM piping and I have seen immediate post WW2 photos of GI's wearing them. I have never seen any regulation approving this however. I would guess it was just an affectation.

 

I am also convinced that the American GI consistently resisted uniform uniforms. They always seemed to want to personalize them somehow. And apparently it was allowed to happen.

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  • 3 years later...
I too have officer shade chocolate brown o/s caps in my collection with EM piping and I have seen immediate post WW2 photos of GI's wearing them. I have never seen any regulation approving this however. I would guess it was just an affectation.

 

I am also convinced that the American GI consistently resisted uniform uniforms. They always seemed to want to personalize them somehow. And apparently it was allowed to happen.

 

Until 1940, the regulation specified that officers would wear the branch-colored piping, and EMs had none. This changed in 1940 to the gold for general officers, black and gold for other commissioned officers, black and silver for warrant officers, and branch colors for enlisted men. This brought it in line with the hat cords worn on the service hats.

 

Cheers!

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True! I guess I assumed the cap under discussion was a late war versi it could well have been a pre-war type or an EM's.

 

Interestingly, when the gold/black (gold for GO's and silver/black for WO's) cords were added, a branch colored disc was placed behind the rank insignia. This was short lived -- gone in '42.

 

Ever seen one?

 

G

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From photo evidence I've seen, this was limited to the 1st and 2nd Armored Divisions (Ft Knox and Ft Benning, respectively). This was during the period before the Army officially added officers' rank insignia to the left curtain of the garrison cap, replacing the DI. The images appear to show a branch-colored cloth disk (felt, I think, but possibly embroidered or even twill) about 2 inches in diameter, much like the airborne cap insignia. Single-colored branches were plain, the two-colored featured a base of the primary color and an outer edge of the secondary.

 

As you mention, this was dropped in the summer of 1942, coincidental with the official uniform change.

 

As an addendum to my previous comment, chaplains frequently kept the plain black piping of their branch; of course there were no enlisted chaplains to confuse them with!

 

Cheers!

Vudu

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