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Large Aluminum WWII Honorable Discharge Emblem, "Ruptured Duck"


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I am hoping someone can shed some light on this for me. There is so little in terms of recorded history for this emblem, at least that I have found.
I have recently collected books, magazines and newspapers covering the events of the first and second atomic bombings of Japan. One of the magazines I purchased was the October 1945 issue of Popular Science. Here is a photo of the cover:
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I became interested in a symbol I had never seen or heard of, the Honorable Service button shown in larger detail here on the cover:
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And again at the back of the magazine:
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I thought it was an amazing design, unlike anything I else coming from the war department at the time. After researching the emblem I started to collect a few examples, but I could never find any that resembled the picture from the article. I have learned from my research that there was a push to inform the public about this emblem to let them know what it represented. In every image the picture used is the same as the one above on the cover of the magazine.

 

The Ruptured Ducks I purchased looked nothing like the photo. The eagles were more naturalistic, with none of the art-deco elements shown in the photographs. I can only assume a change was made to avoid echoing designs that might remind people of Nazi imagery.

 

Earlier this month a handful of large metal versions popped up on ebay and I immediately recognized the design. They are missing the finer detail of the lines in the disc portion of the device, but everything else about them exactly matches the images in the periodical:

 

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Closer view with a standard Honorable Discharge brass lapel pin for scale:
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I purchased two of these, the two which seemed to have the most detail. They are made of aluminum, have no markings of any kind, and have small mounting holes drilled in their backs near the chest of the eagle where the metal is thickest.
I just want to know if anyone has any background on when and why the design was changed? It would also be great to find out what these large versions might have been used for?
Any thoughts would be appreciated.

 

 

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post-68028-0-38659000-1475025462_thumb.jpg

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I think these could have been used for grave markers or automobile grille badges

 

Bill

"The Americans on this Island are not ordinary troops, but Marines, a special force recruited from jails and insane asylums for blood lust." -Japanese Newspaper found during the Battle of Guadalcanal - "They Got That Right!!" Chesty Puller

 

 

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I think these could have been used for grave markers or automobile grille badges

 

Bill

 

I have seen a bunch of grave markers, door knockers and automobile badges using the known design, I have not seen any that resemble the original concept model. The timing of when the design changed, and the use of aluminum, is what's bugging me enough to want to know their purpose.

 

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Whats th back look like?

 

Grave markers typially have a fixture to hold a rod thats used to palce in the ground.

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doyler, on 27 Sept 2016 - 11:07 PM, said:

 

Whats th back look like?

 

Grave markers typially have a fixture to hold a rod thats used to palce in the ground.

It is shown below. There is a small mounting hole. The three I have pictures of all show a different type of hole and position. The two I own have a smile diameter drill hole and the other one has a threaded hole for attaching to a bolt.

 

I'd say grave marker too except this design is exactly the same as the reference photos, with the eagle not bearing any resemblance to the one in the final design of the Honorable Discharge emblem. The manufacturing quality is quite good as well, which is not the case for many ancillary items using the Ruptured Duck design.

 

Also, aluminum? That is not the metal of choice for a grave marker.

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Hmmmmmm... very odd.

 

Cannot wait to find out what, exactly, it is.

HONORING FAMILY LtCol Wm Russell (1679-1757) VA Mil; Pvt Zachariah McKay (1714-97) Frederick VA Mil; BrigGen Evan Shelby, Jr (1719-94) VA Mil; Pvt Vincent Hobbs (1722-1808) Wythe VA Mil; Pvt Hugh Alexander (1724-77); Lt John R. Litton (1726-1804); Bvt BrigGen/Col Wm W. Russell (1735-93) 5th VA Rgmt; Lt James Scott (1736-1817); Capt John Murray, Sr (1747-1833); Capt John Sehorn, Sr (1748-1831) VA Mil; Pvt Corbin Lane (1750-1816) Franklin/TN Mil; Cpl Jesse D. Reynolds (1750-1836) 5th VA Rgmt; Capt. Solomon C. Litton (1751-1844); 1Lt Christopher Casey (1754-1840) SC Mil; Pvt Mark Adams (1755-1828); Pvt Randolph White (1755-1831) Bailey's Co. VA Rgmt; Capt. John R. Russell (1758-1838); Pvt Joseph T. Cooley (1767-1826) Fort Hempstead Mil; Pvt Thomas Barron (1776-1863) 1812; Capt. John Baumgardner (1787-1853) VA Mil; Pvt Joel Estep (1828-1864) Co B 5th KY Inf CSA & US; Pvt George B. Bell (1833-1910) Co C 47th IL Inf US; Cpl Daniel H. Barron (1838-1910) Co B 19th TN Rgmt Inf CSA; Capt Richard K. Kaufman (1908-1946) 7th PRG/3rd AF CCU; T-5 Vernon L. Bell (1926-95) 1802nd Spec Rgmt; PO2 Murray J. Heichman (1932-2019) HQSB/MCRD; PFC Jess Long (1934-2017) US Army; PFC Donald W. Johnson (1931-) 43rd ID HQ; A1C Keith W. Bell (1931-2011) 314th TCW; A3C Michael S. Bell (1946-) 3346th CMS; A1C Sam W. Lee (1954-2017) 2d BW; AW3 Keith J. Price (1975-) VP-10; 1Lt Matthew Wm Bell (1985-) 82nd Abn/SOC








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From the pictures, the casting quality of your aluminum Honorable Discharge emblem doesn't look to be very good, which isn't surprising if they were created via a simple sand-casting process (imagine how a photo-copy of a picture isn't as detailed as the original).

 

However, it must be related in some manner to the emblem shown on the cover of your Popular Science magazine from 1945. The design elements look to be identical, just lacking in detail on your aluminum version. In fact, I'd bet the emblem pictured on the magazine cover is fairly large, possibly the same size as your emblem. More than likely one of the originals was used to create a sand mold for the emblems like yours, which would explain the loss of detail.

 

I could certainly see them being used for grave markers, for decor at a building related to a military veteran organization (American Legion, VFW, etc.), or who know what else. It's more likely these are NOT official government produced versions, and likely made by a third-party who somehow acquired a copy of the original version emblem and used it to create these aluminum copies.

 

Does the aluminum show any signs of age/oxidation?

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From the pictures, the casting quality of your aluminum Honorable Discharge emblem doesn't look to be very good, which isn't surprising if they were created via a simple sand-casting process (imagine how a photo-copy of a picture isn't as detailed as the original).

 

However, it must be related in some manner to the emblem shown on the cover of your Popular Science magazine from 1945. The design elements look to be identical, just lacking in detail on your aluminum version. In fact, I'd bet the emblem pictured on the magazine cover is fairly large, possibly the same size as your emblem. More than likely one of the originals was used to create a sand mold for the emblems like yours, which would explain the loss of detail.

 

I could certainly see them being used for grave markers, for decor at a building related to a military veteran organization (American Legion, VFW, etc.), or who know what else. It's more likely these are NOT official government produced versions, and likely made by a third-party who somehow acquired a copy of the original version emblem and used it to create these aluminum copies.

 

Does the aluminum show any signs of age/oxidation?

A molded copy makes sense. I bought the two of the three with the best detail. Both had oxidation in the form of a dark/dingy spotted coating, but not the sort you see from exposure to the elements. I cleaned the one pictured and left the other as is for later comparison.

 

Aluminum would have been available as a surpluss metal at the time, and makes sense if you want to save costs in shipping these copies. The rub for me on these is timing. The original design photos were sent to the press in mid to late September 1945. Prior to this a design existed for the Honorable Service lapel button, designed by Anthony de Francisci. With the removal of the "National Defense" wording at the top, Francisci's design became the Honorable Discharge lapel button. Those buttons began to be issued sometime in November and December 1945 as best I can tell.

 

My version of the eagle design was floated between September and November/December 1945, but then disappeared completely. It looks like it was meant to be a similar, but distinct design which was scrapped at the last minute. For it to exist in any form beyond the newspaper and magazine photos is what interests me.

 

Aluminum as the casting agent makes a lot of sense since it's an easy metal to work with, and I agree that this was replicated using a simple process, but who had ready access to aluminum in 1945 and a copy of the design to work from? Each of the three copies I have seen show a little less detail with each new casting, and a sand mold would explain why. I just wish I could track down where the new design came from, why it was changed and what samples may have gone out.

 

Thank you for your insight.

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"For it to exist in any form beyond the newspaper and magazine photos is what interests me."

 

Me too...

HONORING FAMILY LtCol Wm Russell (1679-1757) VA Mil; Pvt Zachariah McKay (1714-97) Frederick VA Mil; BrigGen Evan Shelby, Jr (1719-94) VA Mil; Pvt Vincent Hobbs (1722-1808) Wythe VA Mil; Pvt Hugh Alexander (1724-77); Lt John R. Litton (1726-1804); Bvt BrigGen/Col Wm W. Russell (1735-93) 5th VA Rgmt; Lt James Scott (1736-1817); Capt John Murray, Sr (1747-1833); Capt John Sehorn, Sr (1748-1831) VA Mil; Pvt Corbin Lane (1750-1816) Franklin/TN Mil; Cpl Jesse D. Reynolds (1750-1836) 5th VA Rgmt; Capt. Solomon C. Litton (1751-1844); 1Lt Christopher Casey (1754-1840) SC Mil; Pvt Mark Adams (1755-1828); Pvt Randolph White (1755-1831) Bailey's Co. VA Rgmt; Capt. John R. Russell (1758-1838); Pvt Joseph T. Cooley (1767-1826) Fort Hempstead Mil; Pvt Thomas Barron (1776-1863) 1812; Capt. John Baumgardner (1787-1853) VA Mil; Pvt Joel Estep (1828-1864) Co B 5th KY Inf CSA & US; Pvt George B. Bell (1833-1910) Co C 47th IL Inf US; Cpl Daniel H. Barron (1838-1910) Co B 19th TN Rgmt Inf CSA; Capt Richard K. Kaufman (1908-1946) 7th PRG/3rd AF CCU; T-5 Vernon L. Bell (1926-95) 1802nd Spec Rgmt; PO2 Murray J. Heichman (1932-2019) HQSB/MCRD; PFC Jess Long (1934-2017) US Army; PFC Donald W. Johnson (1931-) 43rd ID HQ; A1C Keith W. Bell (1931-2011) 314th TCW; A3C Michael S. Bell (1946-) 3346th CMS; A1C Sam W. Lee (1954-2017) 2d BW; AW3 Keith J. Price (1975-) VP-10; 1Lt Matthew Wm Bell (1985-) 82nd Abn/SOC








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Since the outbreak of bronze grave marker theft for scrap at the cemetary where my father is buried, all new and replacement markers placed by the American Legion or VFW there are aluminum. Of course they all have the standard pair of flagstick loops cast on the back rather than bolt mounting hole.

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