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Service Academy and Military College ranks

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The rank markings at the five federal service academies (Military Academy, Naval Academy, Coast Guard Academy, Merchant Marine Academy and Air Force Academy) and other major military colleges (VMI, VPI, Texas A&M, Norwich, Citadel, Maine Maritime, North Georgia College, SUNY Maritime College, VWI/Mary Baldwin, NMMI, Valley Forge, Marion Mil Inst, Georgia Mil College, and Wentworth) are usually somewhat different and distinctive from either regular service insignia, or even ROTC insignia for the same service. USMA/West Point is the only remaining federal Army institution that uses chevrons to indicate officer rank. The USAFA shoulder boards are unique (and hard to come by) to indicate cadet rank. I thought I would put the exemplars from the different schools in one thread, including different rank insignia used on different uniforms at the same school. Please show what you have, too!

 

Jo

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Because of a question asked in another thread, about ACU ranks at West Point, I thought I would start with a set of ACU West Point cadet ranks. These are fairly new, just issued to cadets in the last year or two. This set shows blank for plebe, 1 stripe for cadet corporal (yearling or 3d class), 2 stripes for cadet sergeant (usu 2d class), 3 stripes for cadet lieutenant, 4 stripes for cadet captain, and 5 stripes for cadet battalion commander.

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I got a lot of midshipman bullion ranks and other uniform insignia the other day. The same ones are used at USNA and for NROTC midshipmen. CB Colby's "Annapolis" calls this a 2nd class P.O. rank, and USNA's "Reef Points 1942-1943" calls it a "guidon petty officer" rank. All of these in the box were wrapped, so I didn't open any. what you see is what was in the wrappers.

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The label calls these NROTC Midshipman platoon P.O. 1st class. Colby calls it a 1st Class P.O. rank and Reef Points calls it platoon petty officer rank. Some of these appear to have been used, or at least folded for sewing on a uniform. not all were new in package.

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these next are called "Mustering P.O. Plt. Type II" on the label, "mustering C.P.O." in the Colby book, and is not depicted in the Reef Points 1942.

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Here are some add-ons. In the Colby book, stars, particularly the round ones, are added above the arc of the mustering CPO to indicate company CPO (1 star) battalion CPO (2 stars) regimental CPO (3 stars) and brigade CPO (4 stars). The Reef Points 1942 uses stars above the 1st Cl P.O. rank (no arced rank is used) to indicate company petty officer (1 star), Battalion chief petty officer (2 stars) and Regimental Chief petty officer (3 stars). No 4-star midshipman NCO rank appears. In 1942, the brigade of midshipmen was much smaller than it is today. In the early to mid 1960's the enrollment at USNA and USMA and I believe USAFA was expanded to just over 4000 students. Before that, the enrollment was about 2000 or 2500 iirc. the short gold stripes are used on the sleeves of NROTC midshipmen to indicate senior officer rank, 1 stripe with a small star = midshipman ensign, 2 stripes w/ star = midshipman Lt Jg, 3 stripes = mid Lt, 4 stripes = mid captain, 5 stripes = mid lt cmdr, 6 stripes = mid commander. The short stripes are not used at USNA. the full dress jacket of USNA midshipman has a full round sleeve stripe.

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Here is a lot of rank chevrons used at various military academies, such as the Citadel, etc. The gray ranks are small and are the type used on uniforms such as the long overcoat or short overcoat. The seller threw in a large bullion pair of cadet sergeant chevrons. The large gold lace chevrons are worn with full dress gray uniform coatees.

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Here is a lot of rank chevrons used at various military academies, such as the Citadel, etc. The gray ranks are small and are the type used on uniforms such as the long overcoat or short overcoat. The seller threw in a large bullion pair of cadet sergeant chevrons. The large gold lace chevrons are worn with full dress gray uniform coatees.

added info:

The middle column, from bottom up, the plain 2 stripe chevron is generally used to indicate cadet corporal (lower sleeve) or cadet sergeant (upper sleeve). The three chevrons indicate cadet lieutenant. The 5 plain black chevrons generally indicate a cadet battalion commander or regimental XO (West Point, Citadel, VMI).

 

Right column, top down: The double chevron with diamond is listed in Preston Perrenot's 2010 CD reference as cadet first sergeant (Citadel, West Point, VMI). The four chevrons with diamond is listed as battalion XO (Citadel). Two chevrons with a double arc below is listed as cadet master sergeant - operations (Citadel) regimental sergeant (VMI) or regimental sergeant major (West Point, listed in Cadet Gray by Frederick Todd). The two chevrons with single arc are listed as cadet staff sergeant/platoon sergeant (Citadel) cadet sergeant first class (Norwich), battalion sergeant major (VMI, and West Point - per Todd).

 

Left column, bottom up: I don't know which academy uses the two chevrons with crossed rifles. The two chevrons with single bar is listed as sergeant first class/company supply sergeant (Citadel) cadet staff sergeant (Norwich) platoon sergeant (West Point, although listed as supply sergeant in Todd, Cadet Gray), master sergeant (VMI). The two chevrons with star below signify cadet corporal, regimental or battalion ooperations clerk (Citadel) cadet second lieutenant (Norwich) color sergeant (upper) or color corporal (lower) (West Point, although I have never seen the chevrons shaped in this way with the star attached), color sergeant or color corporal (VMI). The fancy set with 4 chevrons, diamond, boxes and 2 stars below, I have not seen before. the closest think is regimental academic officer at Citadel, which is 4 chevrons, diamond in the center, and 3 boxes below, in the center one of which is a star.

 

I don't necessarily totally trust Perrenot as a source, because I know of at least a few mistakes in his listings/depictions.

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Newly acquired USMA cadet collar rank. the three bars are for a cadet lieutenant. this is the large size (see contrasting photo) which were used in the 1950's or 1960's I believe. The ranks shown for contrast are the current size in both subdued and enamel versions. The subdued are worn with BDU's and the enamel with class uniforms, as well as possibly with India White uniforms

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Here is a Guidon Petty Officer rank patch from the late Second World War, this came from an Annapolis man; the same patch was worn by US Merchant Marine Academy Guidon POs (starting from 1944) and US Sea Cadets 1950s onward. 1942-1944 USMMA Cadets worn the same patch, without the eagle; I suppose late war, it was more expedient to order the same stock as that worn by midshipmen at Annapolis.

 

Note that it is all bullion; in 1947, nylon starts showing up in patch composition.

 

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The following is late Second World War Massachusetts Maritime Academy insignia group.

 

It is comprised of:

Hat badge; unmarked on Mohair Band.

Deck & Battalion Lieutenant (J.G.) collar devices. Engineering would have a propeller.

Shoulder board with bullion woven stars and lace - Bat. Lt-jg.

Cap screws and uniform button with Commonwealth of Massachusetts seal.

 

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I have a write up on this specific group here:

Hawsepipe: Massachusetts Maritime grouping

 

The following is late Second World War Massachusetts Maritime Academy insignia group.

 

It is comprised of:

Hat badge; unmarked on Mohair Band.

Deck & Battalion Lieutenant (J.G.) collar devices. Engineering would have a propeller.

Shoulder board with bullion woven stars and lace - Bat. Lt-jg.

Cap screws and uniform button with Commonwealth of Massachusetts seal.

 

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added info:

The middle column, from bottom up, the plain 2 stripe chevron is generally used to indicate cadet corporal (lower sleeve) or cadet sergeant (upper sleeve). The three chevrons indicate cadet lieutenant. The 5 plain black chevrons generally indicate a cadet battalion commander or regimental XO (West Point, Citadel, VMI).

 

Right column, top down: The double chevron with diamond is listed in Preston Perrenot's 2010 CD reference as cadet first sergeant (Citadel, West Point, VMI). The four chevrons with diamond is listed as battalion XO (Citadel). Two chevrons with a double arc below is listed as cadet master sergeant - operations (Citadel) regimental sergeant (VMI) or regimental sergeant major (West Point, listed in Cadet Gray by Frederick Todd). The two chevrons with single arc are listed as cadet staff sergeant/platoon sergeant (Citadel) cadet sergeant first class (Norwich), battalion sergeant major (VMI, and West Point - per Todd).

 

Left column, bottom up: I don't know which academy uses the two chevrons with crossed rifles. The two chevrons with single bar is listed as sergeant first class/company supply sergeant (Citadel) cadet staff sergeant (Norwich) platoon sergeant (West Point, although listed as supply sergeant in Todd, Cadet Gray), master sergeant (VMI). The two chevrons with star below signify cadet corporal, regimental or battalion ooperations clerk (Citadel) cadet second lieutenant (Norwich) color sergeant (upper) or color corporal (lower) (West Point, although I have never seen the chevrons shaped in this way with the star attached), color sergeant or color corporal (VMI). The fancy set with 4 chevrons, diamond, boxes and 2 stars below, I have not seen before. the closest think is regimental academic officer at Citadel, which is 4 chevrons, diamond in the center, and 3 boxes below, in the center one of which is a star.

 

I don't necessarily totally trust Perrenot as a source, because I know of at least a few mistakes in his listings/depictions. Yet, Preston Perrenot of Las Vegas, Nevada do an outstanding job showing the earliest rank insignia for all of the services and auxiliaries, including cadet rank insignia, but anyone s bound to make a few mistakes. Decades ago the U.S.Air Force Academy gave me a photocopy of their ranks from the civilian tailor shop across the street, since then they added some new ranks and titles. Even books on insignia like Colonel Dion Williams as well as J.W. Bunkley made errors as did encyclopaedias showing military rank insignia. The great thing about this website is we can come together and give the correct titles and descriptions. See my website https://picasaweb.google.com/booker1942 over over 5,000 albums and download anything you want from there and use it however you may wish. When Preston started his project I helped him with information I had, some of the errors crept in as even the authors of insignia books experience errors, I apologize for his errors and the errors of the others too! Respectfully, Sarge (Herbert Booker of Flagler County, Florida). :)

 

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Herbert Booker

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