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Study: USN WWII Gray Uniforms 1943-1949


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Here is the gray uniform being worn by a fellow being awarded the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service medal in February 1945.  He was a "boatswain."

 

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On 9/16/2019 at 12:38 PM, Justin B. said:

That embroidered breast badge is great! The boards would have been interesting, this officer was probably wearing the uniform in merchant service. The USN regs of the day were very clear that the merchant marine reserve insignia "shall not be worn with the naval uniform."

 

Excellent photos just posted above to add to this topic.  We were discussing the wearing of the USNR Eagle earlier and you've added a photo to illustrate that they were worn by merchant mariners on greys despite the USN regs.

 

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Hi folks, i was wondering if the slate gray combination cover used "scrambled eggs" for O-5 and above ... i seem to remember a photo of ADM King wearing a gray combo cover with without it ... but i could be wrong ... and my second question is i've seem the gray combo covers with both gold and black chin straps ... i know the black one is uniform corrrect ... but what about the gold one?  thanks, mark

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4 hours ago, navyblue said:

Hi folks, i was wondering if the slate gray combination cover used "scrambled eggs" for O-5 and above ... i seem to remember a photo of ADM King wearing a gray combo cover with without it ... but i could be wrong ... and my second question is i've seem the gray combo covers with both gold and black chin straps ... i know the black one is uniform corrrect ... but what about the gold one?  thanks, mark

 

King's original intent was plain visors and black chinstraps for ordinary duty, and scrambled eggs and gold chinstraps for dress occasions, for blue covers as well as gray. This became  regulation for about a month in June 1943. After a lot of complaints and press coverage about the expense of obtaining the new uniform articles, a new order came out in July and plain visors and black chinstraps became optional.

 

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Is this a gray uniform? And what kind of jacket is it? The photo caption reads: "Thomas Wright, Jr., chief commissary steward, is visiting with his 6-month-old son, Don Thomas, for the first time at the home of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Wright. His father, Thomas Wright Senior was recently discharged after 34 years in the Navy. Wright enlist in the Navy 7.5 years ago. He has been stationed on a cruiser with both the Atlantic and Pacific fleets since Feb. 1942. He wears 5 campaign bars and the red Navy Good Conduct ribbon representing four years of exemplar service. He is shown in his uniform with coat, standing by a bare wall with hands behind his back and smiling. Published in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram evening edition, July 4, 1945."

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"Lt. (jg) Robert James Stevenson, who is completing a 37-day leave with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. R.J. Stevenson, has accepted a commission in the regular Navy after spending two years in the naval reserve. Stevenson has just returned to the States after 23 in the Pacific aboard a destroyer, the USS Wickes. During the Okinawa campaign his vessel was a member of the radar picket squadron that acted as advance scouts. For his outstanding work in reporting enemy actions to both the fleet and land forces, he was awarded the Bronze Star. Stevenson was commissioned in the first class of Navy graduates at the University of Texas in February 1944. Ten days later he was aboard the Wickes. he is also a graduate of Paschal High School.

Date Created: 1946-02-08"

Navy Gray.Robert James Stephenson.1946.jpg

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1 hour ago, seanmc1114 said:

Is this a gray uniform? And what kind of jacket is it?

 

It certainly looks gray. I think a lot of tailors tried to sell extras to their customers, including non-regulation windbreaker-type jackets. The khaki ones were often styled like the summer flying jacket, and I would assume gray ones were, too. I'm not familiar with that style, though, and wearing ribbons on it seems fairly unusual.

 

A gray zip-up jacket can be seen in these two photos, but the details are not visible.

https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/our-collections/photography/numerical-list-of-images/nhhc-series/nh-series/NH-104000/NH-104418-KN.html

https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/our-collections/photography/numerical-list-of-images/nhhc-series/nh-series/NH-104000/NH-104419-KN.html

 

Thanks for the photos!

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6 hours ago, Justin B. said:

 

It certainly looks gray. I think a lot of tailors tried to sell extras to their customers, including non-regulation windbreaker-type jackets. The khaki ones were often styled like the summer flying jacket, and I would assume gray ones were, too. I'm not familiar with that style, though, and wearing ribbons on it seems fairly unusual.

 

A gray zip-up jacket can be seen in these two photos, but the details are not visible.

https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/our-collections/photography/numerical-list-of-images/nhhc-series/nh-series/NH-104000/NH-104418-KN.html

https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/our-collections/photography/numerical-list-of-images/nhhc-series/nh-series/NH-104000/NH-104419-KN.html

 

Thanks for the photos!

Really great references. I’ve never seen the gray zip up jackets before. And, interesting how most of the officers in the group photos from USS Sanborne, are in Grays. 

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I don't know who the admiral is because the photo is misidentified, but notice he is an aviator with the Medal Of Honor and Navy Cross. Any idea what the ribbon is next to the Navy Cross?

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4 minutes ago, seanmc1114 said:

I don't know who the admiral is because the photo is misidentified, but notice he is an aviator with the Medal Of Honor and Navy Cross. Any idea what the ribbon is next to the Navy Cross?

 

That's Richard Byrd the polar explorer. The ribbon is the Silver Lifesaving Medal.

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On 8/3/2020 at 9:12 AM, Justin B. said:

 

That's Richard Byrd the polar explorer. The ribbon is the Silver Lifesaving Medal.

Thanks for the quick reply. 

 

From Byrd's Wikipedia entry: 

“As a senior officer in the United States Navy, Byrd served on active duty during World War II. He was recalled on active duty on March 26, 1942 and served as the confidential advisor to the Commander in Chief, United States Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Ernest J. King. From 1942 to 1945 he joined the South Pacific Island Base Inspection Board, which had important missions to the Pacific, including surveys of remote islands for airfields. On one assignment he visited the fighting front in Europe.

 

On February 10, 1945, Byrd received the Order of Christopher Columbus from the government of the Dominican Republic. Byrd was present at the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945. He was released from active duty on October 1, 1945.

 

In recognition of his service during World War II, Byrd was twice awarded the Legion of Merit.”

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I assume this is a Navy petty officer. He is wearing the Navy Good Conduct ribbon and you can see service stripes on his lower left sleeve. However, the photo caption reads as follows:

 

"Director, Marine Corps Division of Public Information William E. Riley and Mrs. Riley on their wedding day. A man and his wife standing next to each other.

Date Created: 1946-02-27"

Navy Gray.Marine Corps.jpg

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1 hour ago, seanmc1114 said:

As a senior officer in the United States Navy, Byrd served on active duty during World War II. He was recalled on active duty on March 26, 1942 and served as the confidential advisor to the Commander in Chief, United States Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Ernest J. King.

 

Admiral King's biography tells of a young officer newly assigned to COMINCH-CNO headquarters. King told him he had only one duty: "Keep Dick Byrd out of my office." 

 

21 minutes ago, seanmc1114 said:

I assume this is a Navy petty officer. He is wearing the Navy Good Conduct ribbon and you can see service stripes on his lower left sleeve. However, the photo caption reads as follows:

 

"Director, Marine Corps Division of Public Information William E. Riley and Mrs. Riley on their wedding day. A man and his wife standing next to each other.

Date Created: 1946-02-27"

 

If they can mis-identify Byrd, one of the most famous men in the country at one time, I'm not surprised. I can't offer anything about this chief, of course, but coincidentally General Riley also served on King's staff in WW2.

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Dear Gents

 

I wonder what cap we have here???

I decided post this US NAVY VISOR with a longer visor(may pre-war) and buttons eagle facing as different side (pre 1941)than eagle and apart I was said gray one but really on hands lokkks really a green one from those used for US naval aviator even I was searching info and I read than those green for US Navy pilots were USUALLY made in wool but is not possible than here we have an exception and visor is a green one made in another material different than wool?

Please leave your thoughts

 

 

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That's a gray cover. It may look a little greenish from age, but it would be like a sore thumb if worn with the forest green wool aviation uniform.

 

 

+1    I have several Grey covers which look like this due to age and being exposed to seven decades of handling, dust and sunlight.

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21 hours ago, Justin B. said:

+1    I have several Grey covers which look like this due to age and being exposed to seven decades of handling, dust and sunlight.

 

I didn't write that, anyone have any idea how it appeared in my post?

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On 8/9/2020 at 9:35 AM, Justin B. said:

That's a gray cover. It may look a little greenish from age, but it would be like a sore thumb if worn with the forest green wool aviation uniform.

 

 

+1    I have several Grey covers which look like this due to age and being exposed to seven decades of handling, dust and sunlight.

 

That was my additional comment Justin.

Seems that the quote feature hiccuped and merged it with your post.

Mystery solved

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9 hours ago, Salvage Sailor said:

 

That was my additional comment Justin.

Seems that the quote feature hiccuped and merged it with your post.

Mystery solved

 

Ah! Thanks.

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