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US Army Coat Display Project

Discussion in 'Uniforms, Personal Gear (Kit) and Accessories' started by 69dodgechrgr, Nov 6, 2010.

  1. 69dodgechrgr

    69dodgechrgr Member

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    I am in the process of putting together an army dress uniform coat display shadow box. The idea is to honor my late grandfather's service with a period correct coat with period correct accoutrements. I will need the advice of some of you more knowledgable collector's to make sure I get everything correct. For now here is a pic of the mustard wool coat I picked up as the base. The first question I have is what type of shirt and tie should I be looking for. My grandfather ended the war as a technitian 5th grade.
     

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  2. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    You're fortunate that the coat you picked up already has the T/5 chevrons, is that his coat or were you just lucky?

    Google search WW2 Army Uniforms and you'll find several examples of the different uniforms worn throughout the War in different theatres at different times.

    Do you have his service record or anyother information regarding what units he was with and what awards he is entitled?
     
  3. 69dodgechrgr

    69dodgechrgr Member

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    Here's a preliminary pics of the coat. Keep in mind that most of the patches are just pinned on with straight pins and I haven't had the jacket cleaned.
     

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  4. Buten42

    Buten42 Member

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    Most of the guys that was discharged in 45' and 46' wore the Ike Jacket. It replaced this type service jacket that was used earlier in the war. Eisenhower jacket - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    I added the link so you can read a little history. The jacket and all the insignia look excellent and displayed correctly. The only exception is the campaign star on the WWII Victory Medal--there were no attachments authorized for this medal. The jacket tells me he served in N.Africa and/or Italy with the 5th Army and transferred to the 338th Infantry Regiment of the 85th Infantry Division. He participated in four campaigns (the 85th was credited with three, so he earned some while in the 5th Army). He must have entered the service in 42' or 43' because he served 2 1/2 years overseas out of his three year (+) enlistment. He finished while on Occupation duty, probably in Italy. (for some odd reason, Italy didn't have a clasp like Germany and Japan for the Occupation Medal) He had an Infantry MOS and seen enough combat to earn the CIB (two requirements). He wasn't wounded and one of his assigned outfits was awarded the PUC (presidential Unit Citation) He may or may not have been attached when it was awarded but he was able to wear it as long as he was assigned. If he was with the unit when it was awarded it became a permanent award for him. The Technical ratings were usually given to soldiers skilled in a certain field. (I'd have to see his separation papers to know what that was.) One item I've seen on many uniforms is a honorable discharge triangle (ruptured duck) sewn over the right pocket. I have also seen the DUI (crest) on the shoulder flap--you may want to do a little research. I've seen pictures with them worn on both the lapel and the flap during the same time period, so I don't know what the rule was.
    The picture on the link shows the shirt and tie. Both were light brown. The pants were the same color as the jacket. My brothers shirt and pants appear to be wool but his has the Ike jacket. I'm guessing the tie is light brown and cotton. (my brothers is missing). Everyone was issued a service hat (round saucer w/bill) but nearly everyone wore the overseas cap with the unit crest attached. Another addition should be his qualification badge(s)- Expert,sharpshooter, or marksman and hanging bars.
    Thanks for honoring your Grandfather--your mother raised you well.

    Dave
     
  5. 69dodgechrgr

    69dodgechrgr Member

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    Thanks for the reply Buten42. To explain a few things my grandfather was drafted into the 85th Division and was eventually assigned to the 338th Infantry Regiment Cannon Company providing close regimental artillery support with a 105mm M2A1 howitzer team. He was a driver hauling ammo and company crew members. My goal is to put together a jacket that looks like he took it off when he was discharged in 1945 and hung it up. With the exception of the medals of course because many of those were authorized and issued later. I pinned the 5th army patch on the coat because the 85th was part of the 5th Army. I'm not sure whether to sew it on permanently because I don't know that it would be correct on the display. The overseas service bars in the picture are incorrect. He was overseas for 18 months so there should be 3 bars rather than the 5 shown. You are correct about the qualification badges. I have acquired a correct WWII era driver badge with hanging driver-w bar. I still need to acquire a correct WWII era sharpshooter badge with hanging rifle bar. On the WWII victory medal star my research indicated that those men who earned the medal for service in actual combat were often awarded the medal with a star attached. This distinguished those who earned the medal as non combatants from those who saw actual combat. I struggled with attaching the star or not but ultimately decided to go ahead and attach it. I know it's not an authorized device but I chose to include it to honor my grandfather's service in combat. On the EAME campaign medal the three stars are battle stars. He earned the campaign medal for service in that campaign. The three stars are for the three major engagements they were involved in (Rome-Arno, North Appenines, Po Valley). I am currently looking for an original garrison cap with blue infantry piping. Now that I know what shirt and tie to look for I will be trying to acquire those as well. Thanks for the input I appreciate it.
     
  6. Buten42

    Buten42 Member

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    69Dodgecharger,
    Please don't think I'm trying to be critical of your efforts, but with authenticity in mind I think you should begin with the correct uniform. The Ike jacket was classified as standard issue in November of 1944 as the Army's dress and parade uniform-this is what your grandfather would have taken off when he got home. He may have been issued the service coat when he went in but it would have been replaced in 44'. If you insist on displaying this uniform, I believe it included a belt. I can agree with displaying all his awarded ribbons-he earned them and they should be displayed. If he was not attached directly to the 5th Army he never wore the patch. I know the 85th was part of the 5th Army but he was not attached to the 5th--the extra patch really confuses what he did. I would like to see your reference that includes the campaign star on the WWII Victory ribbon. You seem to accept that it wasn't authorized but you seem to want the uniform to be authentic--something doesn't make a lot of sense. Again, I don't think your grandfather's ribbon would have been issued with one. Besides, his CIB and Bronze Star is all he needs to honor his combat service. I apologize for saying there were four campaign stars on the EAME ribbon. A second look shows three and the ribbon is correct.
    Don't add stuff to glorify his service--believe me, he doesn't need anything extra to prove his service and sacrifice, and most of the time it doesn't make sense. (like the 5th Army patch and the overseas bars) when comparing the uniform to the service record. I put together a Navy uniform for an old warrior and put his "Gunners Mate" rating on the left shoulder--it didn't take long for someone to say "I don't know what damn Navy this guy was in, but in the U.S. Navy they wore GM Rating on the right shoulder."
    Good luck
     
  7. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    According to Stanton, the 85th Division was assigned to the 5th Army from Mar 44 to July 44, then again from 18 Mar 45 to 17 April 45. From 30 April 45 on, the 85th was part of the IV Corps. I'm not sure which patch he would have worn when he came home, though. In between the dates listed, the 85th seems to have alternated between II Corps and IV Corps. I also can find no reference to the authorization of bronze campaign stars on the Victory Medal. I've come across several citations that some vets did it on their own to show they had been in combat, or to emulate the WW2 Victory Medal, which had authorized clasps. In any case, this is a fine tribute to the man.
     
  8. Buten42

    Buten42 Member

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    Lou, every Division was attached to an Army Corps and every Army Corps was attached to one of the Armies. If a soldier was assigned directly to one of the Armies, or one of the Corps, he would wear that patch on his left shoulder while he was assigned to that unit. If he was then re-assigned to a Division, he could then wear the Army or Corp patch on his right shoulder and his current assignment patch on his left shoulder. This is what I thought his grandfather did because of the 5th Army patch in the picture. According to 69dodgecharger, his grandfather spent his entire service assigned to the 338th Regiment of the 85th Infantry Division- so the 5th Army patch would not be worn. The 85th was assigned to the 5th Army on occasion, but his grandfather was assigned to the 35th Infantry Div.

    World War II (WWII) Victory Medal (Model #:215 ARWWIIVM)
    Regarding the WWII Victory medal, there were no authorized clasps or attachments.

    I'm sorry if I sounded like I was belittling his efforts to honor his grandfather. I think he's taking on a very noble cause. He asked for advise to make sure he got everything correct and I was simply trying to help. If he wants to add extra patches, campaign stars to ribbons where non were authorized, and put them on a uniform jacket that was obsolete a year before his grandfather was separated then I agree with you're saying "go for it".
     
  9. 69dodgechrgr

    69dodgechrgr Member

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    Again, thanks for the input. The ribbons on the uniform coat now are new. My goal is to get period correct ribbons and medals eventually. Having reconsidered the star on the victory medal I will leave it off when I get the other ribbons together. I have cut down the 5 overseas bars to 3 and I will remove the 5th army patch. As far as the Ike jacket my understanding was that it became an optional uniform coat in 1944 rather than mandatory. I actually prefer the look of the hip coat which is why I went with it as opposed to the Ike jacket. On the issue of the belt I thought only officers wore a belt with the hip coat. Keep the comments coming I am flying in uncharted territory here so I need all the help I can get.
     
  10. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    I think the 5th Army insignia is appropriate. One of my Step dad's uniforms had a 36th ID on the left shoulder and 5th Army on the right for the time the 36th was in Italy, when they moved into France the 5th Army insignia was replaced with the 7th. I only have anecdotal evidence to support this as imperical evidence has been lost to time.
     
  11. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    This has me confused. You say he was in the 85th Division, but here you say he was in the 35th. If he stayed in the 338th Regiment, as part of the 85th Division, assigned at least part of the time to the 5th Army, where does the 35th enter the picture?
     
  12. Buten42

    Buten42 Member

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    Lou, I don't blame you for being confused, that was a typo. He was with the 85th the entire time, sorry.
    Also, I found a website that shows the hip coat and it was changed in 1942 and the belt eliminated, so the jacket he selected was worn without the belt. The picture also shows the placement of the honorable discharge patch above the right pocket. It doesn't show the the DUI on the lapel--of course it doesn't show them on the shoulder tab either-I'll see if I can find something more on where to put them.
    I have to agree that the hip coat was a much more handsome/formal uniform jacket than the Ike jacket and will make a great looking display.
     
  13. Buten42

    Buten42 Member

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  14. 69dodgechrgr

    69dodgechrgr Member

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    Thanks that answers a lot of questions. Do you by chance know where I can find the regulations for the exact placement of the various insignia. By placement I mean in inches for example how many inches up the sleeve for the service stripes etc. That website also shows a belt on the enlisted hip coat but I'm not sure that's correct. Any thoughts?
     
  15. 69dodgechrgr

    69dodgechrgr Member

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    Buten42 I found a couple pics of the enlisted hip coat with a leather belt. Is this the belt you were referring to? All of the officers hip coats I have come accross have cloth belts.
    View attachment 12146
     

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  16. Buten42

    Buten42 Member

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    The hip coat was changed in 1942 and the belt was eliminated. (this is what I was referring to, but I didn't know they changed it). The uniform on the following link is exactly like the one you are putting together. I don't know why they don't have the DUI attached but we know they go on the lapel. Notice the honorable discharge patch above the right packet. I believe it would be raised above the Presidential Unit Citation.
    Eisenhower jacket - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Regarding the exact placement--I'll have to get back. Keep asking questions, I'm learning a lot :)
    Dave
     
  17. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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  18. 69dodgechrgr

    69dodgechrgr Member

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    The modern regs help some but I'm still in the dark on the location of service stripes & DUI's on enlisted WWII uniforms. Here's an updated photo of the jacket with the aforementioned corrections.

    View attachment 12160
     

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  19. Buten42

    Buten42 Member

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    I spent over an hour trying to find a WWII Army Regulation for instructions on placing the DUI without any luck.
    I know it's there somewhere--if I find it I'll get back.
    The "revised" jacket looks good, can't see anything I would question. He still needs a weapons qualification badge but think you're looking for one.
    Dave
     
  20. 69dodgechrgr

    69dodgechrgr Member

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