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4th Marine Division Alpha


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So its not as great as everyones find durring SOS but yesterday I found this salty USMC Alpha at my favorite army surplus store. I got a great deal on it probably due to the fact that a previous owner(probably the vet) had stripped it of the ribbon bar and 4th division patch that had been on it. Its pretty neat that it popped up in the time frame of the 75th anniversary of the battle of Iwo Jima.

 

The history behind the uniform is really interesting, it is dated 1940-41 and named to Robert Monroe who enlisted in May 1941 before Pearl Harbor and was with the 5"/.51 caliber artillery group in Guantanamo bay and I believe he then relisted in the summer of 1943 and was assigned to the regimental weapons company of the 25th marine regiment 4th Marines. Judging by the time that he appears on the rosters he served on Kwajalein, Saipan, Tinian, and Iwo Jima probably with the mortars since that would make the most sense for an artillery man.

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One of my favorite things about it is that it has several period repairs such as reatached buttons (upside down even) and patched holes that add to the saltiness of the uniform and is consistent with being used for 4-5 years during his career that spanned the duration of the war.

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I do have a question for anyone who is willing to share their opinion, what are the ethical considerations of restoring a uniform that has clearly been stripped? In the past I have replaced pins and awards that had clearly been there and I had evidence that the individuals had received but had always drawn the line at repatching uniforms. That being said I am really tempted to find a salty uniform removed 4th Marine patch to replace the one removed. That wouldn't ruin the integrity of the uniform right? I have been reviewing past threads on the forum on 4th uniforms and it seems that patched 4th uniforms are pretty uncommon and I saw several rants against 4th marine uniforms that had been dressed up with patches added, If I replaced the missing patch would I be part of that problem?

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Hi Ray - Good find. In my opinion, to honor the veteran, there is no problem tastefully restoring the tunic. I have seen others recommend putting a note in the pocket that states what is original versus added.

 

It is yours, so do with as you see fit.

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Go ahead and restore the period patch to it. Then down the road if you let it go just let the new caretaker know about it.

RIP Molly...Oct. 2000 - July 2013 For 13 years you have been my best friend and companion, giving love and asking only for love in return. May you rest now, free from your pain. I will miss you girl, and will keep you in my heart forever....the sweetest dog and best friend ever! I'll see you again one day.


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Thanks guys that is good advice, I will definitly include a note in the pocket for whenever down the road it leaves my collection, although I do not see that being any time soon. As a younger collector I think it is good to know what the collecting community's opinion of this issue to avoid trouble. My concern was that at some point down the road someone might call the legitimacy of the entire uniform into question and whether it even had the 4th patch on to begin with since adding the patch would probably obscure the faded area and make it harder to tell what was really there and it would be a shame for me to potentially ruin a veterans uniform. I think your advice would prevent that from occurring however so thank you.

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