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USMC Quartermaster numbers theory- help sought for testing


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I was looking into the IOH numbers and came across the USMC QM numbers mystery. While reading some of the discussion on it here, I came to the same idea as Chris, "Hink441".

It wouldn't make sense for one MANUFACTURER to have multiple numbers, but it made sense that a single pattern or type each had a number (issued at acceptance) and, if a manufacturer made more than item, they would use multiple numbers. Different people had various numbers for H&H, but all their parachute wings shown or mentioned were marked "678". This makes me think 678 was assigned to H&H's parachute wing pattern. If this is true, then it should hold for the whole number system.

My Theory

  1. Each item or item type from a manufacturer was assigned a different number. The more items they made, the more numbers connected to them.
  2. The numbers were on more than just metal insignia. That would explain the large gaps in the number range. Whatever the QM accepted a pattern for got a number.
  3. The first number could refer to a category. Insignia collectors would only find numbers in a certain range. 200s, 300s, and 600s have been mentioned. The others went to other things, like uniforms, web gear, etc.

My Test

I'm going to list the known numbers by the the number, then the maker, then what it is found on. If the same number is found on different things or different ones on the same thing, I'll have to revise, but I'm curious enough to stay with it. I'm not a Marine collector, though. I have maybe a dozen USMC items in my collection. I'm asking you guys to join in to see if we can collectively make sense of it.

Here's what I've gleaned so far from discussion. What additions or refinement can you contribute?

The List


135- Hilborn and Hamburg-

154- Vanguard-


210- NS Meyer-

220- Gemsco-

270- NS Meyer-

298- Gemsco-


307- Hilborn and Hamburg-

310- Hilborn and Hamburg-

396- Hilborn and Hamburg-

397- Hilborn and Hamburg-

398- Hilborn and Hamburg-



501- Sugerman-

592- -EGA set

593- NS Meyer- M1962 Officer EGA set


622- Hilborn and Hamburg-

678- Hilborn and Hamburg- Parachute Wings (Gold)


716- Wolf-

719- NS Meyer-


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I think that you are on to something. I have often wondered about the odd numbering system found on certain insignia. I have posted below a few examples. My interest is in Parachute badges, but I did notice that the H&H 307 number was also used on Naval flight wings, but that would be  a different type item. Maybe it is a contract number used on an specific order. Also the GEMSCO wings are seldom seen with a USMC number, but here is an example. Perhaps we can get input from others and shed more light on this question. Thanks for getting the ball running.





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Maybe the Navy had a separate system of numbering. That would be a whole different mystery! I saw someone mention the Aviator pin as 307 and an NFO wing as 310 for the Navy. Now, I'm wondering about that. If I knew how to edit a post, I'd update my initial one.

Since you are interested in parachute wings, you might be able to answer a question for me. Are there two patterns of USMC Parachute wings? I've seen two different numbers for H&H wings- 307 and 678. Was there an early style and a later one? Yours are very different from the ones marked 678.

https://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/10614-usnusmc-parachutist-wing-question/&do=findComment&comment=1599697 posts 53 and 54

(My sole Parachute wing is a patch for a foreign service that the guy couldn't remember. It came in a lot from the Wilmington show last year and I haven't gotten though it all yet.)

There is the other style of wing marked 15-81 just below the above that is OEC.

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The only USMC parachute badge I have with a number is this Vanguard example with the 154 number that you listed above. Vanguard is still in business so perhaps they can shed some light on this numbering system.


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  • 1 year later...

I had this number down simply as "Aviator Wing' without a maker in my notes. So far I don't have more than this. I do have a single number used twice "298"= Gemsco Basic Parachutist and "Aviator Wing- Shirt Size". I'm now wondering if there is the possibility of TWO number sequences- one Navy and one Marine.

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