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Need some help on a USN uniform

Discussion in 'Uniforms, Personal Gear (Kit) and Accessories' started by Class of '42, Mar 19, 2020.

  1. Class of '42

    Class of '42 Active Member

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    As a collector of WWII uniforms I managed to picked up this full Admirals uniform awhile back at a great price but there were no identify tags who he was. You would think someone in the Silent Service during WWII with three Navy Crosses and two Distinguished Service awards would be easy to identify..no luck so far. The submarine badge is the pin back type and the ribbons are sewn on...any help would be appreciative.

    Admiral uniform part 1.jpg Admiral uniform part 2.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2020
  2. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    There were 26 submarine captains awarded 3 Navy Crosses.
     
  3. Class of '42

    Class of '42 Active Member

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    The best I can figure out it belonged to retired Vice Admiral Eli T. Reich, who was the only sub commander (SS-315 Sealion) to sink a battleship (Kongo) during the war. But wonder why the uniform only has WWII ribbons on it, as Admiral Reich retired in 1973. But I have a Navy submarine museum working on it too..stay tuned.

    Reich (low) copy.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2020
  4. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    I don't think so. Your American Defense Medal has an "A", whereas Reich's has a campaign star. AFAIK, the "A" had precedence over a campaign star.
     
  5. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    Also sticking to just the WW2 related, the Navy Presidential Unit Citation ribbon on your uniform does not have a star for an additional award nor are there stars for four additional campaigns on the Pacific Campaign ribbon nor does it have the ribbons for the Bronze Star Medal, Army PUC, Philippine Defense Medal, Philippine Liberation Medal, and the Philippine Unit Citation as would VAdm Reich's. Also no Occupation ribbon, and coming in the 1950's, no National Defense ribbon. Just a casual comparison of your blouse to Reich's photo.

    And while he certainly rated the American Defense Medal, I'm pretty sure he did not rate the A device for service in the neutrality patrols since he completed sub school in 1939 & went from there directly to the Philippines for duty in Sealion. Your photo of VAdm Reich shows a star device signifying a clasp for general fleet or base service, not an Atlantic Neutrality A device. The folks from that time wore one or the other and didn't switch devices. As has been pointed out; the A supercedes the the star device, so one would not wear a lesser device if authorized the higher. My father wore the A device, never a star.

    You may be dealing with stick-ons; they appear to be somewhat wider,, top to bottom, than what be regulation for someone with the wartime awards shown later ending a career as an Admiral. That is, the ribbons appear to be the older immediate post war size - a glaring anachronism. The spacing between rows is appears too wide as well, IMHO.

    Also,a deal killer, Reich retired a Vice Admiral, not an Admiral.

    You get the idea.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2020
  6. Class of '42

    Class of '42 Active Member

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    It's such an oddity that I might never know but the ribbons have been professionally sewed on..missing the bronze star as I first noticed too..I'll wait from my sub museum for more info..thanks all for your input.
     
  7. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    I’ve looked at 80 Admirals of the four star variety and found the following 12 submariners whose date of rank or term of service (roughly service from 1941 and no date of rank as Admiral after 1979) might possibly have resulted in the ribbon collection shown on your blouse:

    Chester W Nimitz
    Richard S Edwards Jr
    Lynde D McCormick
    Louis E Denfield
    Robert L Dennison
    John S McCain, Jr
    Ignatius J Galantin
    Hyman G Rickover
    Harold E Shear
    Robert L J Long
    Alfred J Whittle Jr
    John G Williams Jr

    Just looking at each of their official photos, none appear to match your ribbon bars, there is always something significant missing.

    Admittedly, I did not look at any tombstone Admirals, so there's still a very slight chance you'll get a match. For whomever to get a tombstone promotion to Admiral he would have had to have been a Vice Admiral with appropriate combat awards and retire before 1 Nov 1959. I would not hold my breath.

    Someone once tried to sell one of my father's blouses, ribbons and all . . . yes, we disposed of his uniforms back in 2001 when he moved out of the house, as he directed, but I personally removed all ribbons, wings, buttons and sleeve line officer stars before they went to the estate auctioneers . . . so what was being sold may have had his name in it, but I happily pointed out the gent was selling a made up not an actual.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2020
  8. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    ....how do you know it belonged to a Vet? an admiral at that?..in the USMC we had to label all our uniforms with our names-early 80s to 90
     
  9. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Curiously, there is no submarine combat patrol insignia.

    Now i am doubting that he was a submarine captain during WW2. If the Navy Crosses were for successful patrols, there should be one.

    The lack of one, certainly opens the number of possibilities.
     
  10. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    Also note that the stars for subsequent awards are inverted. That went away in the early 1960's when the regulation changed to stars being point up. For certain those who were say, LTJG's when the war started were making it to RAdm by the mid-1960's . . by 1970 they were either flag officers or out, so Adm would have come even later

    I believe this is a put-together, not a real person's uniform. I've been known to be wrong, but there are just too many things wrong than there are right.
     
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  11. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    per post # 8
     

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