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Panama Canal Department Dress Uniform help please!


MarkM

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Hope everyone is hanging there! Picked up this dress uniform (jacket and pants) and have identified the patch as a Panama Canal Department patch but have questions about its age. It looks like the Panama Canal Department was operational between 1917-1947 so how do we determine when this uniform was worn? I haven't seen too many belted jackets like this - what is it called if something other than a Class A? I am assuming the six hash marks indicate years of service? Any help with information I can use in a listing would be greatly appreciated. Thanks and God bless!   Mark

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You are looking at a WWII era officer's 4 pocket blouse which is supposed to have a matching belt. Obviously, you have the trousers as well. On the officer's uniform, the trousers could either match the dark OD wool or the wearer could wear a pair of salmon colored trousers called "pinks." The six bars on the cuff indicate three years of overseas service. Officers did not wear hash marks indicating three years of service per hash.

 

You may be able to find some information on the original owner and be able to approximate the insignia that should be on the uniform. 

 

Allan

Never under-estimate the power of prayer.

 

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Alan - thank you for the information. I looked at the wwii-enlistment.com site for Paul W. Warlick and came up empty. Is there any other data bases that may have his information? Also, while I have you, does the lighter colored green band near the cuff on the blouse sleeve have any significance? The brass buttons say "Waterbury" and "Superior Quality" if that means anything. Couldn't find a laundry mark? Thanks again - Mark

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Brian Dentino
1 hour ago, MarkM said:

Alan - thank you for the information. I looked at the wwii-enlistment.com site for Paul W. Warlick and came up empty. Is there any other data bases that may have his information? Also, while I have you, does the lighter colored green band near the cuff on the blouse sleeve have any significance? The brass buttons say "Waterbury" and "Superior Quality" if that means anything. Couldn't find a laundry mark? Thanks again - Mark

Mark, I will take a stab at your questions above although I am not nearly as advanced in my knowledge as Allan!

The reason Warlick didn't show up is that this is an officers uniform, and unless he was initially enlisted he would not be included on this list (his officer SN would start with O-#####).  Since he has the Panama patch, I am reasoning that he went in as an officer in some sort of admin/clerical/command staff position.  The lighter green is typical of most of these 4 button officers jackets and no significance of anything other than officers.  Waterbury is simply the manufacturer (very common manu.) of the buttons.

Always looking for 325th G.I.R. and WWII USMC items!

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Nicely responded Brian.

 

I do want to mention that there were a fair number of soldiers that served in Panama as the Canal was of vital military and strategic importance. The Canal was protected by Coast Artillery which also performed anti-aircraft artillery responsibilities. There were also infantry units assigned as well as the various combat support and combat service support units there. We collectors don't tend to think of Panama Canal Zone as being overly exciting or "sexy," but during the war, the soldiers serving there were protecting a VERY vital asset.

 

Allan

Never under-estimate the power of prayer.

 

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Brian - your explanation makes sense - thank you. And sorry I misspelled your name Allan! Thanks again! Mark

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1 hour ago, Allan H. said:

Nicely responded Brian.

 

I do want to mention that there were a fair number of soldiers that served in Panama as the Canal was of vital military and strategic importance. The Canal was protected by Coast Artillery which also performed anti-aircraft artillery responsibilities. There were also infantry units assigned as well as the various combat support and combat service support units there. We collectors don't tend to think of Panama Canal Zone as being overly exciting or "sexy," but during the war, the soldiers serving there were protecting a VERY vital asset.

 

Allan

 

My late father was born in the Canal Zone in 1937 and his earliest memories are of Navy ships passing through the canal, anti-aircraft emplacements, blackouts, barrage balloons and anti-submarine patrols.  

 

WRT the Overseas bars, nowadays a soldier has to serve in a designated 'combat zone' to be entitled to wear them but isn't it true that in WWII it was just "overseas duty" that rated an overseas bar, IOW, service outside CONUS? 

 

So it's possible this officer spent 3 years in the CZ and that is what the 6 OSBs signify?  

Martin

Englewood, CO

US Army 1980-2005

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Brian Dentino
8 hours ago, Allan H. said:

Nicely responded Brian.

 

I do want to mention that there were a fair number of soldiers that served in Panama as the Canal was of vital military and strategic importance. The Canal was protected by Coast Artillery which also performed anti-aircraft artillery responsibilities. There were also infantry units assigned as well as the various combat support and combat service support units there. We collectors don't tend to think of Panama Canal Zone as being overly exciting or "sexy," but during the war, the soldiers serving there were protecting a VERY vital asset.

 

Allan

Mark, Allan brings up a VERY good point that I assumed was understood in the fact that the Panama Canal Zone was (and still is) one of the most vital strategic points to the US military and shipping both then and now.  I was wrong to mislead you in thinking that this was some sort of non-consequential area of interest for the US.  My main point I was trying (vailed as it was) is that this was not considered an active combat zone so there were far less officers commissioned from the enlisted ranks in these "quieter" areas during WWII then there were in other theaters of the war.  This is what I based my assumption on that Warlick was MORE THAN LIKELY already an officer when he was assigned to this Zone of Operation.  I hope this clears up a little of my thoughts.......but again, I may be wrong!  Wouldn't be the first time for sure!  

Always looking for 325th G.I.R. and WWII USMC items!

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