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A.E.F First Army Shoulder Sleeve Insignia 1918 to 1919


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Photo No. 126: Three First Army shoulder patches, each with a different variation of the Motor Transport Corps motif, comprised of the initials “MTC”. This design was approved by the AEF for all of the Motor Transport Corps personnel who were not posted to the First Army.

 

Left & center photos courtesy of Advance Guard Militaria.com

Right photo courtesy of Bay State Militaria.com

 

 

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First Army Military Police Units

August 30 & September 16, 1918:

 

Army Traffic Police

September 26 & November 11, 1918:

 

First Army MP Battalion

Army Traffic Police

2nd MP Company B

3rd MP Company B

103rd MP Company B

307th MP Company A

316th MP Company A

306th MP – one company

 

Misc. & Unknown First Army Units

 

Photo No. 128: As far as it is known, no official shoulder insignia was ever adopted by either the First Army or by the AEF for military police organizations. However, a long time scholar of WW I era First Army shoulder patches was informed by a WW I veteran that First Army shoulder patches bearing a blue over white insert, as shown here, were Military Intelligence or Military Police related.

 

Can anybody disprove or verify that assertion?

 

Left photo courtesy of the JBPC

Center photo courtesy of the George Morgan collection

Right photo courtesy of Advance Guard Militaria.com

 

 

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Photo No. 130: On the left a First Army SSI has been united with that of the Third Army, resulting in a somewhat curious pairing. Opposite the running greyhound logo of the Postal Service has been superimposed over the First Army “A”.

 

Photos courtesy of the JBPC

 

 

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Photo No. 131: Unidentified First Army shoulder patches - The color green used on the SSI to the left has been associated with Regimental Supply Companies, and veterinary organizations, as well as Regimental Sanitary Trains between World War I and World War II, a green insert in the upper quadrant of the “A” became the insignia for an unassigned enlisted man.

 

The left hand red, white and blue insignia (center) was on a service coat bearing a Quartermaster Corps collar disc and a cook’s private first class chevron.

The front view of a locomotive between the legs of a First Army “A” must surely be the insignia of a Railway Engineer Regiment … But which one?

 

Can anybody positively identify any or all of these First Army SSI?

 

Center photo courtesy of Advance Guard Militaria.com

Right photo courtesy of the JBPC

 

 

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Photo No. 132: The unidentified First Army shoulder patches on the left and right both appeared in the book titled, “United States Army Shoulder Patches and related Insignia from WW I to Korea”, by William and Kurt Keller. According to the book’s authors, there is some unsubstantiated evidence that that the patch with the letter “E” on it, may belong to an AEF Engineer organization. The Keller brothers also ventured that the First Army insignia decorated with a skull and crossbones motif might possibly be connected to the 147th Coast Artillery Regiment, which adopted a similar skull and crossbones design for its distinctive insignia.

The center insignia is likely that of the 37th Infantry Division placed behind, and between, the legs of a First Army “A”.

 

Can anybody positively identify any or all of these First Army SSI?

 

Left & right photos courtesy of the Bill & Kurt Keller collection

Center photo courtesy of the JBPC

 

 

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First Army Corps & Divisions

August 30 & September 16, 1918:

 

Corps:

I, IV & V Corps

 

Divisions:

1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th 26th, 33rd, 35th, 42nd, 78th, 80th, 82nd, 89th & 90th Divisions

 

September 26 & November 11, 1918:

Corps:

 

I, III, IV, V, VI & VII Corps

 

Divisions:

1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th 26th, 28th, 29th, 32nd, 33rd, 35th, 36th, 37th, 40th (Depot), 42nd, 77th, 78th, 79th, 80th, 81st, 82nd, 88th, 89th, 90th, 91st & 92nd Divisions

 

It would seem that the wearing of multiple shoulder patches up and down the left sleeve would have been prohibited by both AEF and First Army regulations. However, based on the number of double and triple patched service coats that have surfaced over the years, the practice of doing so must have, to some extent, been tolerated. If not, then the array of shoulder patches must have been added after the soldier was discharged from military service.

 

Regardless of when the secondary and tertiary SSI was sewn on, there are numerous examples of the First Army “A” emblem being combined with the insignia of another organization that was subordinate to the First Army – the most common combinations being Corps and Divisional insignia.

 

Photo No. 133: By far the most prevalent First Army shoulder patch pairing is that of the First Army and the 41st Infantry Division. The inset and the background photo show two examples.

 

Inset courtesy of the Colonel’s Cache.com

Background courtesy of Bay State Militaria.com

 

 

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Photo No. 134: The 41st Division’s “sunrise” logo has been placed here, in both the lower quadrant, and in the upper quadrant of these First Army’s block “A” insignia.

 

Left photo courtesy of the Colonel’s Cache

Center photo courtesy of the JBPC

Right photo courtesy of Advance Guard Militaria.com

 

 

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Photo No. 135: Period photographs showing First Army & 41st Division combos (center & left) and a First Army insignia married to a V Corps, Artillery shoulder patch.

 

Left & right photos courtesy of Bay State Militaria.com

Center photo courtesy of Portraits of War.com

 

 

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Photo No. 136: All of these First Army “A” logos has been embellished by the placement of a 41st Infantry Division shoulder patch above the letter “A”. However, only two of the 41st Division SSI are visible. This is because the center example has had a third patch, in the form of a 2nd Infantry Division, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 1st Battalion, sewn over the underlying 41st Division insignia.

 

Photos courtesy of Advance Guard Militaria.com

 

 

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Photo No. 137: Three period photographs displaying First Army insignia paired with, from left to right: 29th Engineer Regiment (Flash & Sound Ranging: Sections 1 & 2 were flash & Sections 2 & 4 were sound); 93rd Infantry Division “Bloody Hand”; and the 56th Engineer Regiment (Searchlight) shoulder patches.

 

Center photo courtesy of the Milwaukee Public library

Right photo courtesy of the Troy Morgan collection

 

 

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Photo No. 138: Here a First Army “A” shoulder patch has been specifically manufactured to bear both a division and corps insignia. It has the emblem of the 37th Infantry Division in its upper quadrant and the logo of the Vth Corps, in purple for Motor Transport Corps, in its lower quadrant. The photo of the Doughboy shows a similar shoulder patch. However, because he wears an infantry collar disc, the insert within the Vth Corps symbol are likely blue, the color for the infantry branch of service.

 

Inset courtesy of Griffin Militaria.com

Background courtesy of the Troy Morgan collection

 

 

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Photo No. 139: A closer view of two different First Army, Vth Corps & 37th Infantry Division SSI (left & right). In the center is a First Army, Vth Corps (Artillery) combination.

 

Left photo courtesy of Griffin Militaria.com

Center photo courtesy of Advance Guard Militaria.com

Right photo courtesy of the JBPC

 

 

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Photo No. 140: A 37th Division awardee of the Distinguished Service Cross sports a variation of the First Army, V Corps, 37th Division insignia. This variant differs by having the numeral “37” in the center of the division’s emblem.

 

Photos courtesy of Bill & Kurt Keller

 

 

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Photo No. 141: In this final trio of First Army double patch images we have a First Army and 36th Infantry Division combo (left) next to a First Army, Unassigned Officer SSI partnered up with a 79th Infantry Division insignia (center). The right hand First Army, Artillery patch has what, at first glance, appears to be the insignia of the 79th Infantry Division beneath the “A”. This however, is not the case, as that emblem has been positively identified in a unit history as the logo of the 58th Regiment, Coast Artillery.

 

Left & center photos courtesy of Advance Guard Militaria.com

Right photo courtesy of Bill & Kurt Keller

 

 

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First Army Liberty Loan Insignia

 

If we exclude the plethora of AEF insignia that was manufactured for returning veterans following the end of the Great War, the last style of First Army insignia produced at, or shortly after the signing of the Armistice, is the style known as “Liberty Loan.” As far as it is known, only six different First Army Liberty Loan shoulder patches were ever produced. Or at least that is the total number that has thus far been seen by the collecting community at the time this was written.

 

Photo No. 142: Half of the six variations are shown here – The letter “A” with angled sides, a block letter “A” bearing an Air Service roundel and another block “A” with a red engineer’s castle.

 

Photos courtesy of Griffin Militaria.com

 

 

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Photo No. 143: Variations three, four and five are from left to right: Artillery – Railway Artillery and an incorrect variation of the Artillery patch with the colors reversed, i.e. white over red. It is not known why only five designs were selected, or why so many of the other recognized designs were overlooked during the production of the Liberty Loan line of shoulder patches.

 

Left & center photos courtesy of Griffin Militaria.com

Right photo courtesy of the JBPC

 

 

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First Army Misc. Insignia

 

Photo No. 144: A miniature First Army insignia bearing the numeral “1” for First Army and an engineer’s castle is sewn onto an overseas cap that once belonged to a member of the 20th Engineer Regiment (Forestry).

 

Photos courtesy of Advance Guard Militaria.com

 

 

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Units Attached to the First Army Without A Known Insignia Of Their Own

August 30 to September 16, 1918:

 

Cavalry

2nd Cavalry Regiment

Miscellaneous

First Army HQ & HQ Troop

HQ Battalion First Army

 

September 26 & November 11, 1918:

Miscellaneous

First Army Regional Replacement Depot

First Army Advance Replacement Depot

First Army Regulating Replacement Depot

First Army Punishment Battalion

Labor Companies 17 & 18

Army HQ Guard (Troop C 2nd Cavalry Regiment)

First Army HQ Detachment

First Army HQ Regiment

Prisoner of War Labor Companies No. 23, 25, 30, 31, 54, 56, 57, 60, 61, 62, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68 & 90

Prisoner of War Escort Companies No. 23, 25, 30, 31, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 82, 84, 87, 88, 90, 91, 94, 95 & 96

 

Note: All of the First Army organizations listed in the above topic were found on pages 82 through 84 of:

“Order of Battle of the United States Land Forces in the World War”, Vol. I, 1988

 

End of post. Thanks for looking.

 

Also, don’t forget to Post em’ if you got em’. Show us your WW I era First Army shoulder insignia.

 

Thanks for looking … World War I Nerd …

 

 

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Excellent thread WWINerd!!

"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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Photo No. 73: The proliferation of unendorsed SSI among Engineer units, such as the unsanctioned, unapproved and unofficial insignia shown below, likely fueled the fires that led to the advent of Memorandum’s No. 45 and 46. Keep in mind that at one point, the First Army had seventeen separate Engineer Regiments, many with their own unique insignia: Counter-clockwise from upper left: Unknown Engineer Regiment – 13th Engineer Regiment (Railway) – 18th Engineer Regiment (Railway) – 34th Engineer Regiment (Utilities & Installation) – 29th Engineer Regiment (Sound & Flash Ranging) & 33rd Engineer Regiment (General Construction).

 

Photos courtesy of Advance Guard Militaria.com

 

 

Your upper left patch is for the Near East Relief organization. Founded in 1915 as the American Committee for Syrian and Armenian Relief, it was formed through the efforts of Ambassador Henry Morgenthau. It supplied aid to Armenians devastated by Turkish oppression and genocide, and as the war progressed it supplied aid to Syria, Persia (Iran) and displaced people in Greece. It became the Near East Relief after the Armistice. It took care of over 45,000 orphans. I believe it functioned until 1930. I have a tunic from a woman who belonged to this organization buried in one of my trunks. MHJ

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