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101st Airborne Ike Jacket


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I just got this from my cousin - her father's jacket.  It has been in an American Legion post museum for several years and she graciously got it back and sent it to me

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He did not serve in the Pacific - we think someone in the family put that ribbon on here.  The EAME has three bronze and one silver star.  I suspect he rated an arrowhead for Normandy and maybe he added the silver star instead?  Gorgeous CIB.  Unfortunately it is barely hanging on - one pin is gone except for very small remains - it looks as if the badge was glued on where the left pin was missing.

 

 

 

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His discharge papers: 

 

- list his grade at discharge as T/5.  Rank on jacket is Corporal.

 

- Organization says 101 Airborne Signal Co.  Branch on the (screw back) collar disc is infantry and he had described to me many actions that sure had me convinced he was Infantry.  Could this have been his unit throughout or maybe he was assigned to it at the end of the War?

 

- Only has the EAME and DUC listed.  (Noted Ardennes, Central Europe, Rhineland)  No mention of any other awards on that document (the only one my cousin had).  Seems he would have also had the WWII Victory and Occupation.

 

Questions:

 

1.  Should I restore it to show his actual awards and not the incorrect / incomplete ones that are on here?

 

2.  Should I have the CIB repaired by a jeweler so it can remain on the jacket?

 

3.  Should I have the jacket dry cleaned to help preserve it?  (Am a bit dismayed by the mothing.)

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The CIB looks post war to me. Send me his name and i'll see if I have any records of him.

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Nice jacket. The CIB is British-made IMO...

 

I think your relative must have served in some other unit prior to the 101st given the number of overseas stripes. 

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50 minutes ago, 12A54 said:

His discharge papers: 

 

- list his grade at discharge as T/5.  Rank on jacket is Corporal.

 

- Organization says 101 Airborne Signal Co.  Branch on the (screw back) collar disc is infantry and he had described to me many actions that sure had me convinced he was Infantry.  Could this have been his unit throughout or maybe he was assigned to it at the end of the War?

 

- Only has the EAME and DUC listed.  (Noted Ardennes, Central Europe, Rhineland)  No mention of any other awards on that document (the only one my cousin had).  Seems he would have also had the WWII Victory and Occupation.

 

Questions:

 

1.  Should I restore it to show his actual awards and not the incorrect / incomplete ones that are on here?

 

2.  Should I have the CIB repaired by a jeweler so it can remain on the jacket?

 

3.  Should I have the jacket dry cleaned to help preserve it?  (Am a bit dismayed by the mothing.)

..also to address some of the other questions:

 

- Enlisted rank was far more fluid in WWII than it is today. The rank on a WWII uniform often doesn't exactly match what is found on the discharge document for many different reasons. There is no issue IMO

- People are aware that the 82nd stayed in Germany on occupation duty after the war...but the 101st stayed in the ETO as well. They were based in France to refit and train for a potential transfer to the PTO. This never happened and the division was dissolved in France ~ Dec 1945. In the summer of 1945 large numbers of men with lower points transferred in to the 101st from other airborne units, most coming from the 17th and 82nd. I used to own a uniform to a guy that served in the 513th as an infantryman but transferred to the 101st Signal Company after the war. I say this because a trooper that served the entire war w/ the 101st typically ended up with four overseas stripes. Your jacket has six, which implies to me that he may have served in another unit prior to the 101st. Given his discharge entitlement for three ETO campaigns, the overseas time must have occurred elsewhere. 

- I think you need to get some additional info about his service before changing anything on it...also DO NOT dry clean it. Given the moth damage etc I don't think you would have a good outcome.

I will pay top dollar for original WWII items pertaining to:

 

OSS

OSS Maritime Unit

NCDU

UDT

Scouts and Raiders

FSSF

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Thanks very much for the great feedback.  I plan to get his full service record once NARA reopens.  The discharge shows 10 Apr 42 as his entry onto active duty, arrival in ETO of 14 Jul 42, and departure to US on 7 Sep 45.  Continental service was 2 mos, 27 days; Foreign service was 3 yrs, 2 mos, 16 days.  The Asiatic ribbon is clearly something the family put on there (that was his daughter's reaction).  He had a brother in the USAAF who may have served in the Pacific - no one has papers or info, so that's my next project.

 

Criteria for the Occupation Medal began on 9 May '45, serving there for 30 days - which he clearly did.

 

Completely understand re rank.  T5 was "highest rank held" and I remember him telling me that his rank was pretty fluid (busted when off the line and misbehaving, promoted on the line when in combat).  Some of the stories he told me caused my surprise at the GCM ribbon when I saw it.

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If he arrived in the eto in 42, the 34th div was the first unit in the eto I believe, and in 1942. And some of them went into the ranger bn's that were being formed. I don't know if any other units in the eto that early.

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I show him in the signal co, 101st AB. He was promoted to a T-5 (pfc) June 14, 1945 and then transferred to the 501st. I do not show him in jump training. 

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Nice jacket! Definitley some info needs to be found on it. I wouldn't change anything about it. Fully restoring jackets, especially airborne ones could raise some eyebrows in the future questioning it's authenticity. Plus "restoring it" wouldn't neccessarily be accurate. Most homebound veterans did not necessarily have all of the decorations they were entitled to on their uniforms so I would say it would be more accurate to leave it as they wore it home. PTO ribbon might have been added on though. NARA records should clear stuff up. 

 

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I believe the CIB to be Korean or Japanese made as it looks like so many others from that time period. If it were English made as suggested, I would expect it to have an English pin back on it rather than clutch prongs.

Since you know that he didn't serve in the Pacific, but the ribbon is there, it is possible that other insignia was also added. I would guess that this CIB was one of the added items.

The campaign count on the ETO could well be correct based on his six overseas bars, but as has been mentioned previously, he was serving in another unit prior to his post war assignment to the 101st.

 

Allan

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Could the CIB be German made?

 

I would bet that if he ever got his missing ribbons they would have been added over the existing three.

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From Kadet's link - the pin back is an exact match.  "Both of these Combat Infantryman Badges were manufactured in England during WWII. Both are covered in my book "Combat Infantryman Badge 1943-1975"."

 

So based on all this great feedback, now my concern is that he was SC (signal corps) on his discharge form, he was a glider rider - and a good part of the 101st Signal Company went into Normandy by glider.  BUT, the jacket has an infantry branch disc and a CIB.  I know when I served in the Cav, we made every Soldier wear Cav brass - medics, mechanics, commo guys, etc.  Was that a practice in the 101st - everyone wearing infantry branch (unlikely)?  Could an SC guy earn a CIB?  I suppose everyone was an infantryman in Normandy, Market Garden, the Bulge.  He told me that he was part of a bazooka crew, assigned a jeep and trailer.  (Note that the infantry disc is a screw back while the US is a pin back - not matching.)  Could he or someone else have embellished this with infantry branch / CIB?  (Him, family, the American Legion post, etc.)

 

 

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I wonder if an easier explanation would be he served in Alaska prior to joining the 101st? I know they pulled guys for glider duty at times.

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I don’t think that’s likely as he departed for the ETO less than three months after entering active duty.

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  • 3 months later...

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