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U.S. Army Uniform Significance - Dress Green and Dress Blue

Discussion in 'United States WWII Medals Equipment and Clothing' started by SheilaQ, Aug 5, 2018.

  1. SheilaQ

    SheilaQ New Member

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    Hello everyone,

    I apologize if I'm posting this in the wrong forum, but here goes. A friend of mine's dad fought in WWII (1943-1946). He then attended National Guard OCS in 1952 and by 1962 was a Captain. My friend recently re-discovered two of his dad's uniforms from the later service period. Attached are photos of each - a dress green and a dress blue uniform.

    What is the significance of the "dress green" and "dress blue" uniforms? By that, I mean . . . when would each have been worn (i.e., purpose, place, ceremony, event, etc.)? Why one vs. the other? Any details/information about this will be hugely appreciated.

    Sincerely,
    SheilaQ
     

    Attached Files:

  2. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    The green uniform is called a Class A (Service Alphas in Marine Corps), it is comparable to a business suit in the civilian world. The blue uniform is a formal uniform comparable to civilian formal wear, the dress blue alpha was with medals and the dress blue bravo was with ribbons and badges. As of 01 October 2015 the Army did away with the green Class A uniform and adopted the ASU (Army Service Uniform), which is blue and is used in a wider variety of situations, the necktie being swapped for a bowtie for formal occasions. The Class B is service trousers, no jacket, short or long sleeve shirt (necktie with long sleeve), Marine Corps is similar, Service Bravo long sleeve shirt and tie, Service Charlies short sleeve shirt). You wear ribbons and badges with the Class A, B or Service A, B, C.
     
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  3. SheilaQ

    SheilaQ New Member

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    Good afternoon USMCPrice,

    Once again, I thank you for the information. It does make me curious however. In the photo of Amos' dress blues, it shows neither medals nor ribbons. Any thoughts about that? Also, I vaguely remember having read that because the dress blues were so expensive (during Amos' time), they were not standard issue uniforms -- and a service member was required to buy them on their own. But, I've since read some differing info regarding officers. Do you know if the dress blue uniform would have been "issued" to Amos with him being an officer vs. him having to buy it himself?

    Lastly, in looking back at the pics I posted. On the green uniform - there is a green band around each shoulder lapel(?). What significance does this have? OK, I will try to stop here with questions. :) Thank you again for your time and I do hope you are having a great day!!

    Sincerely,
    Sheila Q
     
  4. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    Probably had a set of full size medals and corresponding ribbons to wear on his dress blues as the occasion for wear might dictate. Remember, in the days Class A greens the occasions of wear for blues, unless you were in a ceremonial type unit, might not come around but once every 6 months or so. Now they wear blues every day . . about time IMO, those greens were the ugliest uniform to come down the pike in a long time.

    The green band on his shoulder straps is a leadership tab, worn by, well, one who leads others. Gets complicated . . . while a battalion commander is entitled to wear the tab, his principal staff officers are not as they do not directly lead troops, but his sergeant major is. His company commanders are entitled as are anyone in the leadership chain of the company, down to team leaders. Originally the tab was for leaders in combat echelons, but eventually the Army decided a leader was a leader was a leader.
     
  5. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    The green band was probably denoting his branch, which in his cases looks to have been Staff Specialist Reserve, which was used as a catch-all for unassigned Reserve and National Guard officers.
     
  6. SheilaQ

    SheilaQ New Member

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    Thank you so much! This all makes logical sense. Guess I'm a little old fashioned and maybe showing my age (57 - ha ha), but . . . it is hard for me to picture Army uniforms not being green. Oh well . . . goes to show, I guess, that pretty much everything changes eventually. :) Thank you again.

    Sincerely,
    Sheila
     
  7. SheilaQ

    SheilaQ New Member

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    Hi Richard -- thank you so much for the additional info. As in all of your replies over the last few days, this is great information and detail, and I sincerely appreciate it.

    Sincerely,
    Sheila
     
  8. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Officers are required to buy all their uniforms, enlisted get an issue of uniforms but at the time the dress uniform was optional and had to be purchased.

    R. Leonard gave you a good answer on the blues ribbons/medals question. I'll just add that because he likely wore the Class A's regularly, while his blues maybe once or twice a year, he kept that uniform "set up". Things are continually changing. I know when I was in the Marine Corps you were required to travel and report in to a new command in Winter/Summer Service Alpha's, and civilian clothes were worn on liberty. In WWII and Korea, Service Alpha's were an authorized liberty uniform, by Vietnam either Alpha's or Charlie's were acceptable. Now, unless you're escorting a body, Service Alpha's are not authorized for travel, they claim it makes you a target. (Not like the haircut, MARPAT backpack and other things ,don't immediately ID you). The US Army has changed more than the Marine Corps, in the four years I was in the Army I probably didn't wear my Class A's a couple dozen times, I wore Class B's semi-regularly, especially when I was working in a hospital environment (recertification of skills after each deployment). In the Marine Corps when you were in garrison, every Friday you had a Service Alpha or Service Charlie battalion formation and inspection, one of the few benefits of being in the field. Because of the inspections you always kept a uniform "set up" in your wall locker. In the Marine Corps utilities are a field/work uniform and wear off base in public while not on official duty is prohibited except travel to and from post. In the Army you could wear them pretty much anywhere (that hasn't always been the case), I see soldiers traveling in them, I've even seen them attend funerals of fallen soldiers and Marines in them, which I personally find disrespectful.
    This long diatribe is just an attempt to illustrate the complexity of the answer to your question. When Amos was a troop commander with the 150th ACAV he probably spent most days in utilities or tanker coveralls, he probably only wore his Class A's on liberty, for inspections, ceremonies or when he was occasionally involved in admin/office work, his blues were likely very rarely worn. When he went to HQ and HQ Detachment he probably spent more time in an office/admin setting and probably wore his Class A's quite regularly, therefore he probably kept them ready to go.
     
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  9. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    Agreed.

    I remember the days when one could not wear fatigues/utilities/flight suits off post/base/station. Even to travel to and from any off post housing, you had to change into whatever was the equivalent of the class A or B dictated as the command uniform of the day. I remember late, late, one night when my father and his flag lieutenant showed up in flight suits and jackets after a flight into NAS South Weymouth, riding all the way into Boston by car, and my mother asked what would they have done if they had been stopped leaving the station improperly dressed . . . quoth himself, "we were in a marked staff car, they weren't going to stop us for inspection."
     
  10. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    I wasn't sure when the US Army started wearing the leadership tab on the epaulets so I looked it up. Here's the history.

    HISTORY:


    The history behind the green cloth tab of the Combat leader originated in the European Theater of Operations in June 1944, when it was authorized for wear by commanders at all levels from Squad to Army. Additionally, it was authorized for wear by other officers and NCO’s whose role in combat required them to exercise the function of command (for example, the battery executive of a field artillery battery).

    When the CLI was adopted Army-wide in 1948 (IDA Circular 202, dated 7 July 1948), it was authorized for Infantry, Armored, Airborne and Cavalry Divisions, Artillery, Constabulary organizations and certain Engineer and Chemical Battalions. Authority was expanded by DA Circular 315, dated 8 October 1945, to Corps and personnel of units whose primary mission was to direct combat training of Infantry, Armored and Artillery.

    In a discussion of the CLI in 1950, the Army Uniform Board pointed out that while in close proximity to the enemy it was advisable to remove symbols of rank, and the green tab, which was inconspicuous yet distinctive, was adopted as a substitute for symbols of rank to identify the leaders of such organizations.
     
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  11. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    And as far as medals versus ribbons, the wearing of medals as opposed to ribbons is pretty much the definition of a dress uniform. Presuming one has a decoration or two, it is a fairly standard practice to rack them together in the correct order so that you're not pinning them on one at a time. The folks at the Purse Exterminator are happy to do that for you for a modest fee. Once done, a couple of clicks and you're all set and ready to head out the door. Same could be done for ribbons for everyday wear. For examples, my father's medal bar and his ribbons:

    WNL Medal Bar truly a poor qual photo.jpg

    WNL Ribbons 001.jpg
     
  12. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Quite an impressive array, Navy Cross x 2, Legion of Merit with Combat V and two subsequent awards, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star with Combat V, the Air Medal, multiple awards. Your Dad must have been Admiral William Nicholas Leonard. As an aside; I really prefer the old medals with their different shades of metal, they had more character, everyone wears the anodized ones these days. They look generic and somewhat garish.
     
  13. SheilaQ

    SheilaQ New Member

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    Good morning USMCPrice,

    Wow! Your earlier message last evening, and now this one, are both AWESOME! Thank you SO very much for the additional explanation and details. I did get a good giggle from your earlier message when you were writing about present day and the Service Alpha's not being authorized for travel . . . then you added: "Not like the haircut, MARPAT backpack and other things ,don't immediately ID you." :) So true!

    Again this information is very valuable. As I've been sharing all of the replies with Amos' son, Clark, he too is learning a lot and hugely appreciative of everyone's time and effort in helping us both to formulate a better picture and understanding of both his father's service years and many Army facts in general. You guys may be aware of this, but just in case you are not . . . I'm including a link to a website (Army Quartermaster Foundation) that has a VERY lengthy history of the Army's green uniform. So, if this document/history is new to you, I hope you maybe find some new morsel of information you may have not yet known. Hard to imagine, but I suppose it is possible. :)

    The Army Green Uniform

    Thank you again for your time and information. Have a super day!

    Sincerely,
    Sheila
     
  14. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    Correct.

    And the old style medals do look better. IMO the nice shiny anodized medals look like they came from a cracker jacks box. Besides, how are they ever going to replace a "black widow?"
     

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