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USMC Marksmanship Badges


Brig
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Laury Allison
Well, Laury so much for U.S. Army regulations AR 600-35!!!!!!!!! What can I say without totally speculating. PERHAPS, he is a pre-war soldier, who qualified as 'expert' before the regs changed. Looks like he's wearing the distinctive 9th Infantry buckle as well as a French fouragerre, as awarded to the 9th in 1918. Nice historical pic!

Thanks....Bobgee

 

Bobgee,

 

I remembered seeing that photo and dug it up. It was in the ASMIC Trading Post a while back with an article about the Manchu Buckles. He was probably a late hold out for changing back to an Army badge. The photo was planned to be used as a recruiting poster and apparently wasn't. There was some speculation with the article that the poster may have been scrapped because of the badge. He is a squared away looking trooper...guess he didn't like change. think.gif

 

Laury

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I have a nice studio photo of my friend Sherman Oyler of 2/502 in WWII. In the photo he is wearing his "pre war" Expert rifle badge on his Ike jacket after the end of hostilities.

I'll edit the photo into this spot when I get home.

Allan

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Lieutenant Colonel William K. Emerson I believe did a book on marksmanship badges - he is the leading authority on such militaria. Major James M. McDuff and John A. Stacey are leaders in the field also! I have the Army of the United States issue which is like the USMC, but mine is all gold. I have Army Regulations for the late 1920s and early 1930s showing the Maltese Cross type like worn now, but knew soldiers who went off post and bought and wore the older style. Also have the USMC with and without the Eagle/Anchor/Globe centered on them too! May donate mine to the USMC Museum at Quantico, Virginia as I am long in tooth! think.gif

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Hello All,

I've been searching the forum trying to figure out if this Sharpshooter badge is Army or USMC and an approximate time of use.

I think it is around WWI or just after.

Another question, why does this piece have three suspension rings? I've been looking around and have seen plenty of examples with one and two rings but have yet to see another with three rings (maybe I'm not looking hard enough!).

Thanks in advance,

Charlie

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that type of pin clasp, and the badge with 4 rings is often associated with typical USMC use. As for the three rings, it may have been to suspend a bar with the dates of qualification on it

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Thanks Brig, that sounds like a logical use for the suspension rings.

 

I could be wrong, but I think my badge has three rings instead of four

which if I understand correctly could mean this badge could be Army or Marines.

 

Anyone have one like this?

 

Charlie

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craig_pickrall

The 1937 USMC Uniform REGS show that badge except that it has just the one center ring. In 1937 only the expert badge had 2 rings as that was the only one that hangers were used with. I think your's is USMC but an earlier period.

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  • 2 months later...

 

 

Sorry to be the sand in the ointment, but this shooting badge is much later than WWI. I'm thinking WWII at the earliest, so if it was engraved for or by this Marine, it was done long after the fact. Your badge sports the '03 rifles from what I can see and all of the attributed WWI Expert badges I have owned and still do own have always had Muskets. I don't believe the '03's were added to shooting badges until the 1937 uniform reg changes, and the .30-40 Krag rifles preceded the .03's. If I were to see this grouping for sale today, I would say someone engraved and added the badge to enhance value to the group. If it is an attributed and documented group, I'd say the Marine had a later badge engraved to reflect his shooting abilities. My .02 cents!


I am not sure what you mean by "muskets" on the earlier badges. The first rifles that I am familiar with were the Krag that appears on the Expert badge about the time it was introduced circa 1903. The Krags remained on the badge for many years, but certainly were replaced by the Model 1903 prior to WW1. Earliest badges were two piece with applied rifles, normally a "generic" Krag, but the one piece badge with the safety pin catch also were in use prior to WW1. This is not to say that the earlier style was not used during WW1, it certainly was and commonly so, but the later one piece version with improved catch and Model 1903 rifles was certainly in use by 1916 or even earlier. I don't see any problem with the engraved badge shown being "of the period" especially since it was late in the war.

Gold colored badges (for some reason called "bronze" by the Army) were awarded to Militia (National Guard) troops who fired a special course called the Qualification Course, Organized Militia as opposed to the Qualification Course, Regular Army. The Marines, according to what information I have available, fired the same course as the Regular Army.

Shown here is the front and back of a Expert Rifleman badge that came from a local National Guard soldier who served in the WV Guard prior to WW1. I have the box it came in marked as One Expert Rifleman's Badge, Bronze and Rock Island Arsenal. Whether made there or procured by them for issue I do not know. However, it is dated 1916 and is one piece with the safety pin catch and crossed M1903 rifles as shown in the first post.

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Gary: He qual'ed ER 20 Jun 18 while at Paris Island....received the badge 27 Jun 18. Middle initial is "E" looks like he spent his time at Paris then out in 1919...seems to have disappeared May 1919 but cant find him past Apr

 

Photo of the ER in the '17 regs shows a Krag

 

Dirk,

 

I'm thinking we need to contribute donations to you for your ancestory subcription. You have been providing invaluable information to us! :) The ancestory archives match the engraving, but I'm certain this wasn't his 1918 "issue" badge. He most likely had the much later badge engraved during the WWII patriotic fervor.

 

Are you sure the rifles shown in the 1917 regs are Krags? From my shooting badge collecting days, the Krags were associated with the 1920's and 1930's, .03's from 1937 until 1957 and Garands from there on.

 

Here is my wife's great-uncle's WWI Expert Rifleman Badge next to an attributed WWII Paramarines Expert Badge. Her great-uncles badge was awarded in 1918. The WWII badge was awarded in 1942. While the WWI badge has two seperate pieces in the wreath and rifles, the WWII badge is one-piece stamped and showing .03 Springfield rifles, identical to Steves. I've owned all four types of ER badges and I'm fairly certain the safety pin catches shown on his and my Paramarine badge didn't make the seen until the mid to late 1930's, with earlier badges (as in WWI, 1920's and most of 1930's) having loop catches.

 

All in all, I wouldn't kick Steve's badge out of my collection. I just think it was a much later badge and engraving. It is a nice grouping!

 

s/f, Gary

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I am not sure what you mean by "muskets" on the earlier badges. The first rifles that I am familiar with were the Krag that appears on the Expert badge about the time it was introduced circa 1903. The Krags remained on the badge for many years, but certainly were replaced by the Model 1903 prior to WW1. Earliest badges were two piece with applied rifles, normally a "generic" Krag, but the one piece badge with the safety pin catch also were in use prior to WW1. This is not to say that the earlier style was not used during WW1, it certainly was and commonly so, but the later one piece version with improved catch and Model 1903 rifles was certainly in use by 1916 or even earlier. I don't see any problem with the engraved badge shown being "of the period" especially since it was late in the war.

 

Gold colored badges (for some reason called "bronze" by the Army) were awarded to Militia (National Guard) troops who fired a special course called the Qualification Course, Organized Militia as opposed to the Qualification Course, Regular Army. The Marines, according to what information I have available, fired the same course as the Regular Army.

 

Shown here is the front and back of a Expert Rifleman badge that came from a local National Guard soldier who served in the WV Guard prior to WW1. I have the box it came in marked as One Expert Rifleman's Badge, Bronze and Rock Island Arsenal. Whether made there or procured by them for issue I do not know. However, it is dated 1916 and is one piece with the safety pin catch and crossed M1903 rifles as shown in the first post.

 

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bayonetman,

 

One reason I gave up collecting shooting badges after only 20 or so years was that you can't find any two collectors who agree on any given badge. Many have tried to write references books on the subject, including USMC Historical Branch, and if anything, the subject has become even more muddled.

 

From my own collecting experiences, I found, through attributed sources, three distinctive shooting badge colors from the WWI period. Silver for Regular Army and Marine Corps, actual Bronze for National Guard, of which you speak, and Brass (or gold) metal for National Army and/or Reserves. I hope I have the Bronze and Brass colors correct? It might go the other way around? Been a long time since I collected them. Anyway, as you can see from my wife's great-uncle's 1918 awarded badge, it doesn't have Krag rifles, but also not a musket as I assumed because of the stock. He was Regular Army, having served with Co. C, 35th Infantry, so why the brass Expert Rifleman bar and silver wreath with rifles. When this badge was passed down to us, it's one of the reasons I realized that no living person alive today was going to get the early shooting badge mysteries solved, so gave up on them.

 

All of the attributed, and in some cases, dated WWI shooting badges I owned, had the open loop catches. BTW - All WWI Expert badges I owned, including USMC, had the two-piece construction to wreath and rifles, identical to Great Uncle Ernest's, so I assumed this was the norm. Guess not? Jeremiah might have gotten some of the USMC WWI two-piercers from me and might post them. If he didn't, they went to eBay. The Expert badges I owned with Krag rifles were one-piece stamped and all had a distinctive smooth "5 or 6 part fan" on the borders of the Expert Rifleman bar, not the snowflake pattern seen on all of the badges shown here. The Krag badges also had open loop catches. The only time I started encountering the safety pin catches and .03 Springfield rifles in attributed groupings were on badges issued during the late 1930's through WWII, before roller-lock catches became the norm. I have to admit that your NG badge is the first early (as in WWI) Expert badge I have even seen with .03's and safety pin catch.

 

With that all said, when I saw Steve's badge, and from my collecting experiences, I assumed that it was a straight up WWII badge, just because of the rifles and catch. Sorry for any added befuddlement, or befuddledness to an already befuddled subject. There was a very good reason for giving up on collecting and trying to understand early shooting badges!!

 

Merry Christmas, All Y'All!

 

s/f, Gary

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Steve Brannan

I looked at a USMC WWI uniform I have had for 30 years. I got it from the vet. It has a SS and the fastener on the back is the safe pin type. I also have several WWII USMC uniforms with marksmanship badges and some of them also have this type fastener. I am convinced that the ER badges with 03 Springfields were issued during WWI and through WWII. The early ones are generally better struck with more detail. Just my opinion based on looking at a lot of uniforms for 35 years.

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I looked at a USMC WWI uniform I have had for 30 years. I got it from the vet. It has a SS and the fastener on the back is the safe pin type. I also have several WWII USMC uniforms with marksmanship badges and some of them also have this type fastener. I am convinced that the ER badges with 03 Springfields were issued during WWI and through WWII. The early ones are generally better struck with more detail. Just my opinion based on looking at a lot of uniforms for 35 years.

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Steve,

 

To add even more confusion to the subject, the SS Badge you show is what the "Experts" and/or "Gurus" of this subject classify as the Army Sharpshooter Badge. According to most, especially the USMC Historical Branch generated Shooting Badges and Awards publication (full of errors, I'm told), WWI Marine Corps Sharpshooter Badges always have 4 rings within the target, not 2 as you show. Because you state that you got this from the vet, we can't argue with the fact that some Marines were issued or awarded Army style badges during the First World War. Because I acquired identical SS badges with only 2 rings, and yes, safety pin catches from WWII Marine veterans, I also know that this type was awarded to Marines, but prove it to someone who goes by what they read and not what they see. How do you know for sure that it's USMC and not Army type of a mentality thing? Just another reason I gave up collectiong all shooting badges. More questions than answers.

 

Here is a WWI grouping to Cpl Neil Shannon, 97th Co., 6th Marines. I acquired this grouping 30 or so years ago and as you can see, his SS Badge is a 4-ringer. He went through rifle training in Aug 1917. This badge originally had a loop catch, but when Neil mounted it in his homemade shadowbox, he had straightened the catch, removed the pin and then pounded both ends of the fasteners into the backing board. At some point, the badge broke loose and was laying in the bottom of the shadowbox. I have both mangled, smashed pieces I pulled out of the backing, but have never tried to find a silversmith that might be able to reform and repair the badge catch assembly.

 

s/f, Gary

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Gary: Went back this morning and looked at some of my images of Marines awarded the ER and found this one prior to 1920. I think this guy has the '03.....I've got another one from WWI showing an NCO with what appear to be Krags and a c. 1911 image with what may be the musket style rifle.....

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  • 5 weeks later...

There was a thread on this topic some time ago but I can't seem to find it. Anyway, I just dug out a couple of my unattached marksmanship awards and since I'm babysitting my grandkids today have the time to photograph and post a couple. At left below are two Marine pins and to the right an Army Sharpshooter badge.

 

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  • 2 months later...

got a question about this for you marksmanship badge guys. Have this pinback SS badge I recently picked up, characteristic with WWII, but it has a shiny finish I've never seen on a WWII or prior piece. Unmarked. Nickel plated? I'm not sure. Thanks guys

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Brig.......I agree. 1950's vintage. Little or no change to the basic badge design. Clutchbacks came along in the '60s as well as the addition of the EGA to the badge. Finish will always vary somewhat based on the manufacturer.

Semper Fi......Bobgee

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