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Uniform grouping WWII and Korea


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This is a grouping that came up for sale a couple weeks ago in Salem VA from the family. Unfortunately the insignia sold separately very high. I suspect the family picked the items and bought it for shadow boxes which is fine, not everyone needs 50 uniforms hanging around. Some uniforms are missing insignia/patches but often different pieces missing from each uniform. Wish they had left some intact. Harman Paul Bigler graduated from VMI in 1939 as a Civil Engineer. He was called up to active army service in the 99th Field Artillery (a mounted unit, part of 1st cav) in March 1941. The collection includes two WWII era riding pants and an early officer's jacket with hooks for a Sam Browne belt which must belong to this era. I also have the belt but no shoulder strap, not pictured. I am unsure of how long he was in the 99th but I know he spent two years in China with the OSS, Y-Force, and 14th Air Force. I can't wait to get the OSS file and the VMI bio on him to learn more about that. He was in WWII service until 1946 and was recalled for Korea in 1950. Question: am I looking at WWII uniforms with CBI on right sleeve and 2nd Army on left? The uniform pieces seem to date from that period but I know plenty of WWII was reissued for Korea. The 2nd Army clothing shows the two years overseas service but that does not help much since he went to Korea in 1952 and served overseas for a year with the 92nd Armoured Field Artillery, Red Devils. I am trying to get uniforms in order and with proper insignia. Thankfully his obit lists National Defense, Asiatic Pacific with 2 stars, Victory Metal, Korean Service with 3 stars, United Nations, Korean War era bronze star, and one other I forget, not having it in front of me as I type. If there is any help that can be given to date the uniforms I appreciate it. I know the Korean War era patches are different but I am not sure I know how to tell the difference. 

VMI m1895.JPG

WWII dress uniform 1 roanoke.JPG

WWII dress uniform roanoke lable.JPG

WWII dress uniform roanoke overseas.JPG

WWII dufflebag 1.JPG

WWII dufflebag 2.JPG

WWII dufflebag 3.JPG

WWII early class A.JPG

WWII Ike jacket 1.JPG

WWII ike jacket 2 label.JPG

WWII m1943.JPG

WWII overcoat.JPG

WWII pinks riding pants.JPG

WWII riding pants.JPG

WWII shirt CBI and 2nd army.JPG

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Some provenance, newspaper articles, VMI book on the Class of 1939 and an interesting alumni book that belonged to a fellow classmate who was KIA in WWII.

newspaper article 1.JPG

newspaper article 2.JPG

newspaper article 3.JPG

newspaper article 4.JPG

newspaper article 5.JPG

newspaper article 6.JPG

VMI book 1.JPG

VMI book 2.JPG

VMI book 3.JPG

VMI book 4.JPG

VMI book 5.JPG

VMI book 6.JPG

VMI book 7.JPG

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Incredible group.  The amount of field worn Korean pieces you have is fantastic.  Based on the khaki uniform you show with 8th Army on the left sleeve and ghost of 6 o/s bars, to answer your question about CBI / 2d Army combo I would say yes, those are WWII (at least, pre - Korea) uniforms.  I really like the Korean pieces you show.  


If you have not found the 92d AFA website, he is mentioned many times:



In the photos he is featured in (at least one) he is likely wearing one of the shirts you have.  Too cool.



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Thank you Rob, I had seen that website but really was just looking at the unit history. I hadn't idea he had actually submitted information and photos. I'm especially excited about the photos since the family kept those. The one newspaper mentions his promotion to major and battalion XO but I wasn't sure when he went to the 92nd so that helps date it 1952, 53. Wish the rest of the uniform in the picture survived but now I can get the shirt insignia and be certain of it being correct. Does the photo appear to be his HBT?

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  • 10 months later...

Well with Covid and the VMI construction around the library it has taken almost a year but I received the biographical paperwork held at VMI. Wonder when the National Archives will be back open so I can request his OSS file? Good to be able to put together more of his history. I knew he was in the 99th Field Artillery starting in March 1941 but didn't know when he went into OSS service. His newspaper article showing promotion to Captain and command of field artillery battery is dated March 21, 1943. I wish it said what unit but that would be to much information for wartime. I assume he transferred over to OSS at or near that time as he headed to China a few months later on July 26, 1943. Wonder what he did in China from October 1943 to July 1945 as an Intelligence Officer? Pretty neat that his discharge paper shows he was still part of OSS at time of separation. His article about ORC instruction makes me think the uniforms I have are actually all Korean service since I find no evidence he served in 2nd Army at the end of WWII (although I suppose he could have been an instructor also when he returned in August and was discharged in January). I don't know. It's fascinating that none of the articles actually say much of what he did. Probably couldn't. 





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