DECORATIONS OF A DIFFERENT KIND GALLARY
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The Eighth Air Force
The "Mighty-Eighth" began January 28th 1947 in Savannah, Georgia at the exceedingly early stages of America's entry into the Second World War. Under the command of General Jimmy Doolittle, the Eighth flew their way into history as they became known for their strategic bombing raids over Nazi-occupied Europe. They developed an impressive war record flying over 440,000 bomber sorties and dropping 697,000 tons of bombs, gaining 11,200 aerial victories. They are also known for having 566 aces, 17 medal of honor recipients as well as 220 Distinguished Service Medals and 442,000 Air Medals. Despite the immeasurable victory the Eighth won for the Allied cause, they also experienced great loss sustaining half of the Army Air Corps entire wartime casualties. As the war in Europe ended, the Mighty Eighth was sent to the Pacific campaign serving in Okinawa being crucial to bringing the Japanese to a surrender. The Eighth Air Force's unique patch is easily recognized as the number 8 with wings against a blue background. The blue signifies the wild blue yonder while the number is representative of their designation as the "eighth"; and the winged star inside the number stands for the Army Air Corps. After the Army Air Corps changed to U.S. Air Force in 1947, the Eighth still served its country throughout its wars inKorea, Vietnam, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Desert Strike, Operation Desert Fox, Operation Allied Force, and Operation Enduring Freedom.
Sixth Marine Division
The Sixth Marine Division was the last formal division organized by the Marine Corps during World War 2. Born out of necessity, the 6th Marines formed from the 4th and 22nd Marine Regiments on Guadalcanal in 1944. Both regiments had fought valiantly already in their quest for liberty. The 4th had been in China, the Philippines (where many of their men were captured at Bataan) as well as served as a secret raider unit in the Solomons. The 22nd Marine Regiment had fought in the Philippines, Carolines, Marshalls and many other places in Micronesia. These regiments had just come to the Canal for some rest and rehabilitation before returning once again to the island -hopping campaign. While there, their superiors decided that they were no longer going to a be separate units, but one Marine Division which would carry more responsibility in the war. This was key in the Battle of Okinawa which was the last offensive in the Pacific Theater of Operations. It began on April 1, 1945 landing some 60,000 military personnel in one day. By April 20, Japanese forces had begun to crumble, and once the Marines penetrated the southern portion of the island, however, the real fighting began. Because Okinawa was just one step away from the Japanese homeland, they fought with extreme tenacity and reckless abandon. In fact, the enemy resistance was so tough that the Americans did not officially take the island until July 2, 1945. Battle was hard-fought, but it was also well-done as shortly after America defeated Japan on Okinawa, their surrender came officially in September, and World War 2 ended. The 6th Marine Division developed a special insignia to represent their unique unit-the names Melanesia, Micronesia, and the Orient signify the places the men of the 6th served while in the 4th and 22nd regiments. The represents their division number, and the crusade sword signifies the Allied struggle against Axis tyranny. The Sixth Division will always be remembered for its devotion to duty in the face of incredible odds.
The motto of the US Coast Guard, "Semper Paaratus" is Latin for "Always Ready" representing the purpose of this military branch which is to remain constantly ready and vigilant patrolling America's coastlines protecting her from all enemies both foreign and domestic. One of Arkansas' own sons, Mitchell Ulrich, had the honor to serve in this branch for nine years. In the Coast Guard, Ulrich became an Avionics Electrical Technician Thrid Class on MH- 65 hilicopters. Ulrich also specialized in the Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON) where he remained from 2010-2013. Following this, he began a tour of duty in Houston, Texas primarily conducting search and rescue missions on the Gulf Coast. During his years in the Coast Guard, Ulrich knew the meaning of "Semper Paratus" always ready when his country called. For example, he was a part of the crew at the time of the first Caribbean semi-submersible drug vessel carrying roughly 15,000 pounds of cocaine. He also participated in fifteen search and rescue missions. Most notably, Ulrich saved 8 lives and located 7 missing persons.
25th Infantry Division
Known as Tropic Lightning, the 25th has been serving in America’s military since 1941. The 25th Infantry Division was activated in Hawaii on October 1, 1941. This division has the distinction of being the first US Army division to see combat in the Second World War as two months after the division’s activation, Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese. The 25th served honorably in the Pacific campaign-fighting in Guadalcanal, the Northern Solomons, and even were key in retaking the Philippines from Imperial Forces. It was in the Guadalcanal campaign that this division received the nickname “Tropic Lightning”, and their insignia signifies this. The patch is in the orange and red colors of Hawaiian royalty and a taro leaf representative of their roots. The lightning bolt in the center represents their name. Once the war ended the division was sent to Japan as an occupational force protecting America’s safety as well as helping Japanese civilians gain better lives in their country. Tropic Lightning were also some of the first infantry on the ground in Korea when Communist forces crossed the 38th parallel into South Korea. “Tropic Lightning” also served honorably in Vietnam with twenty-one of her of her sons receiving the Medal of Honor. They have also been the guard dogs of the Pacific area during the Cold War and were heavily involved in Operation Desert Storm as well as in the continued War on Terrorism. They maintain a constant vigil keeping America and her Allies safe.
First organized in 1943 at Camp Blanding, Florida the 66th or Panther Division has made a name for itself in American military history. They are distinguished from other divisions by their insignia which is a circle against an orange background with red edging. In the foreground is a fierce black panther ready to strike. It symbolizes the division’s qualities-strength, agility, cunning, alert, and aggressive just to name a few. The Panthers began their training at Ft. Blanding (FL), continued to Camp Robinson (AR), and concluded at Camp Rucker (AL) before finally being shipped over to England between November and December of 1944. While they were crossing the English Channel on a mission to relieve the 94th Division in France, the one of the Panther’s transports (USS Leopoldville) was torpedoed by a German U-boat killing 14 officers and 748 infantrymen. However, 66th did not give up, but continued to Brittany, France performing daily patrols and breaking down pockets of German resistance. Upon the German surrender in 1945, the 66th remained as part of the American occupational force in Germany as well as France for a time before finally sailing home in October of 1945. Throughout their time of service, the 66th Division did uphold the integrity of their unit by displaying aggressiveness, strength, agility, and cunning in the heat of battle.
WWII US Navy Uniform
During WWII the US NAvy trained excellent pilots to launch off aircraft carriers and carry out sorties against the Japanese Navy and Air Force. These pilots were key in every Pacific campaign, but most notably the BAttle of Midway when Navy pilots of torpedo bombers defeated the Japanese Navy destroying their carriers, and thus beginning the turning point of the war for America. Interestingly, George H.W. Bush was a Navy pilot flying TBM Avengers in the Pacific. In fact, he was shot down during a sortie close to the dangerous island of Chichi Jima, but thankfully he was rescued before the enemy found him. This is a green uniform of a Naval aviator which can be identified by the decoration on his chest of aviator wings with the Navy anchor behind a shield. This Naval aviator, as noted by the silver maple leaf on his cap is at the rank of commander which is the same as lieutenant colonel in the Army, Marines, and Air Force. HIs rank is also indicated by the three black stripes on both sleeves with a star above them.
29th Infantry Division
Through the military units connected to the 29th Infantry Division, she has been involved all America’s conflicts beginning with the Revolutionary War in 1776. However, the 29th was “officially” formed on August 25, 1917 at Fort McClellan, Alabama. It was comprised of different National Guard units from three different states-Maryland, New Jersey, and Virginia-men whose grandfathers just years earlier had been enemies during the Civil War. Thus, the new division was dubbed the “Blue and Gray” in honor of their heritage. Their division patch reflects their unique make-up, consisting of a Korean monad (symbol for eternal life) and blue and gray teardrops reflecting Civil War tradition. The 29th distinguished themselves most notably during the Second World War as they were a part of the first wave on Omaha Beach spearheading the invasion of France which began the end of the Nazi rule. Since then, the 29th has been disbanded, until 1985 where they were again reorganized into a division comprised of Guard units from Virginia and Maryland. Today, the 29th is comprised of Guard units from Maryland, Virginia, Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and even North Carolina. Though their structure has changed considerably since its founding in 1917, the 29th still holds true to its character showing the nation that no matter the difference between North and South, they still serve as one nation. “Twenty-nine, let’s go!” continues to be the motto and will be for years to come.
Atlantic Base Commands
Atlantic Base Command has its roots in the early days of the 20th century when the US Navy combined both her North and South Atlantic Squadrons becoming the Great White Fleet touring the world and “speaking softly but carrying a big stick”. Before the outbreak of World War Two, the Navy was again divided into Pacific and Atlantic Fleet with the Pacific carrying the armored and light cruisers while the Atlantic Fleet was solely battleships. Atlantic Base Command took the battleships to fight the naval battles against the Japanese forces serving the Imperialists their first naval defeat in their country’s history. Through the years they have kept America’s seas safe from the threat of the enemy. Their mission today is to train, certify, and provide combat ready forces as well as plan and execute American and joint missions protecting liberty here and across the world. Their insignia is a whale against a blue background with red and white outlines. The colors represent the red/white/blue of the United States. The blue background also signifies the ocean where the Command is stationed. The whale is supposedly “Pelorus Jack” who is a guide fish said to lead ocean-going vessels to their destinations in this part of the world.
Alaskan Defense Command
Since 1867, the US Army has been involved with the Alaskan territory watching the “back-door” of our nation. The Army’s most infamous involvement in this area was during the Second World War when the Japanese created an imminent threat to our national security. After Pearl Harbor, the Army established two strongholds in Alaska-Fort Richards and Elmendorf Field. The Army and Navy engineers began Immediate construction on airfields in the Aleutians as well as the main road in Alaska (ALCAN Highway) to provide a safer, easier route for the transportation of US Army personnel, supplies, and other equipment. In 1942, the Japanese seized Attu and Kiska islands. Retaking Attu is still considered to be one of America’s costliest amphibious assaults of World War Two. Before the US could retake Kiska, the Japanese secretly evacuated the island leaving it open territory for the Americans. Eventually most military installations in this part of the world were either abandoned or transferred to other departments. After the US Army and Air Force split into different departments. The Elmendorf Airfield became Elmendorf Air Force Base which is still standing today. Alaska Defense Command has changed over the years but is still active through joint (Army/Air Force) bases there maintain readiness for defense and emergency relief here and across the world. Today, Alaska Defense Command is known as USARAK (United States Army Alaska) or “America’s Arctic Warriors”. Their insignia is appropriate to their unit as it depicts a snarling polar bear representing Ursa Major (Great Bear) which is guardian of the North Star (hence US Army the guardian of the Northern territories). The North Star is also situated over the bear’s head signifying the land-Alaska. Not many people think about Army service members in the “Final Frontier”, but they have always been there guarding the back door to America’s liberty allowing her children to sleep safely at night.
First Armored Division
The First Armored Division began at Fort Knox July 15, 1940 becoming America’s first armored division in the US Army. After its formation, it was decided that this new division needed a name, thus it was dubbed “Old Ironsides” after the oldest ship in the US Navy’s Fleet -the USS Constitution. Its first combat experience was in the North African campaign. It continued to battle in Italy breaking the enemy’s resistance and bringing that campaign to a swift end. After the war ended in May of 1945, “Old Ironsides” remained in Germany for occupational duty before being returned to the states in 1946 and deactivated until the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950. Interestingly, the First Armored Division was not only the first armored division of the US Army, first armored to see combat, but also the first US Army division to integrate African American soldiers entirely into their services breaking racial barriers. The First Division mobilized again during the Cuban Missile Crisis, sent units to Vietnam, and supported US military action in Operation Desert Shield/Storm, Task Force Eagle, Kosova, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. They keep a constant iron shield around America ensuring her freedom for generations to come. The First Armored Division’s insignia consists of a triangle with three colored sections (red, yellow, and blue) which represent the Armor, Infantry, and Artillery of the Division. The tank and cannon are representative of the early mechanized division. The tracks signify mobility, the armor protection, and the gun, firepower while the lightning bolt signifies speed and shock action. The one is of course referring to the division as being number one or the first armored of the US Army.
Air Transport Command
In 1941, the American Army Air Force and representatives from airlines developed an air transport system to begin giving Great Britain support during their growing war with Germany. This system would take supplies from American and Canadian factories to ports to be shipped to Great Britain. However, after America’s entry into World War Two, Air Transport Command became increasingly more important to our cause. America was vastly unprepared for a full-scale war on all-fronts, thus she needed a quick and efficient means of transporting supplies, troops, equipment, and more to and from combat areas. The airline manufactures answered the call and supplied the ATC with thousands of aircraft suited for cargo transport. ATC used at least four main cargo planes throughout the war which were C-47s (DC-3), C-46s, C-87s (B-24), and C-54s (DC-4). This unique military unit would distinguish itself honorably throughout the war serving in every theater-Pacific, European, Mediterranean, China/Burma/India, Middle Eastern, and even North African. It quite probable that without the ATC, America and her Allies would not have ended the war quite so quickly. The ATC’s insignia is a leather patch with a latitude and longitude globe in the background against a gray sky. In the foreground, an aircraft is seen stretching from east to west signifying the ATC’s many destinations. Also, in the top, left-hand side, the morse code dots and dashes spell out Air Transport Command or ATC. Today, ATC has changed to the Military Air Transport Service which continues make sure America’s forces are prepared and supplied for any and every conflict which arises.
WWI US Army Uniform
WWI of "The War to End all Wars" lasted a long four years for the kingdoms of Europe (1914-1918) After the sinking of the RMS Lusitania and the discovery of the Zimmerman Telegram, the United States entered the war in 1917. Roughly 1116,516 Americans lost their lives in WWI, giving their all for the preservation of the freedom of their nation and the world. This is an authentic Great War uniform. Notice the decorations on the sleeve. The pastch is that of the First Army Group, which first came into being in the First world War. It has the reputation of being America's first, oldest, and longest serving field Army group in the U.S. military. Underneath the First Army Group patch a pair of what looks like mosquito wings is sewn into place. This is the Doughboy's rank which is that of a Private. On his chest he bears the WWI Victory Medal, awarded to those of different countires who fought between the dates of April 6, 1917 and November 11, 1918. The medal has Lady Victory gracing the front with an inscription on the back which reads, "The great war for civilization." There is also a clasp on the ribbon indicating the overseas campaign in which the soldier served, in this case it was France.
Gold Maple Leaf Insignia
Majors are field officers in the military and are charged with leading some 300-1,200 men. They can also serve in specialized units such as in military headquarters, Service Support, and Special Operations. Usually, officers must attend Command and General Staff School before beginning their careers, however, on rare occasions officers can raise themselves through the ranks during combat. Major Richard Winters of the 101st Airborne is a prime example.
188th Air Wing
In 1953, Fort Smith, Arkansas was officially recognized as the base for “Rick’s Rippers”-184th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron the United States Air Force. Starting small-only 19 officers and 94 enlisted men- the new air wing grew into the effective USAF unit it is today. This Air Wing has had the honor of flying B-26 bombers, F-80s, F-84s, F-101s, F-100s, F-4Cs, F-16s, and even A-10s. With the end of their reconnaissance missions in 1972 after the acquiring of F-4C Phantoms, the Wing decided it needed a new name thus they adopted the “Flying Razorbacks” in 1976 which they are to this day. They have flown in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and are continued participants in the War on Terror. Today, the 188th Air Wing no longer flies fighter aircraft, but are instead the home base for the MQ-9 Reaper which conducts sorties in the Middle East. The 188th, while not as well-known as other Air Force Wings, is an incredibly important asset to its native Arkansas as this Wing is the first on the ground whenever disaster strikes in its state. Providing emergency services during natural disasters or other threats, the “Flying Razorbacks” will forever be heroes to the Arkansans which they serve.
1st Marine Division
Activated in 1941, the First Marine Division is the most decorated division of the United States Marine Corps. Its first major offensive was the Battle of Guadalcanal in August of 1942. They also participated in the battles in the Solomon Islands as well as Peleliu, and Okinawa receiving the Presidential Unit Citation for three of these campaigns. One of the First Marine Division’s Members-Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone-received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroic action at Guadalcanal. After the war, the First Marines were transferred to China to help in war clean-up and occupational duty. For a few years they had a rest, until the Korean conflict of which they are especially noted for the Battle of Chosin Reservoir where they sustained heavy casualties. The 1st Division did not slow down, but continued to serve during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War, as well as Operation Desert Shield/Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom II, and the continued fight against the War on Terrorism. The First has been on the frontlines since 1942 standing on the wall preserving America’s freedom for years to come. The First’s unique insignia represents their Division. In fact, it was the first insignia/patch approved during World War 2. Diamond shaped, the patch is red/white/blue signifying America; the stars signify the Southern Cross (Pacific where they served); the number ones stands for their Division; and Guadalcanal is the first conflict in which they served.
WWII GI Helmet
This helmet has no markings whatsoever, and it is an sample of what regular privates or "grunts" would wear into combat. This is a WW2 era GI helmet serving as a safeguard against dangerous head wounds. This piece of equipment saved numerous lives.
After the invasion of Pearl Harbor, it was forbidden for civilian construction in combat areas, thus the military formed a special construction unit of the US Navy to be able to perform construction operations in tough areas. It was begun by Rear Admiral Ben Moreell who proposed his plan December 28, 1941 and had it approved by the federal government January 5, 1942. He dubbed the unit “Construction Battalion (which is where Seabees evolved- “Construction Battalions” and gave them the motto “Construimus, Batuimus” or “We build, we fight”. The “Fightin’ Seabees were everywhere the Army, Marines, Navy, and Air Force went building roads, bridges, and runways. They also provided medical and dental support, ship repair, and any other maintenance work the military needed done. Without their quick and expedient work, it would have taken the United States much longer to win the war as their work was crucial to successful invasions whether in Europe or the Pacific. We owe a large debt of gratitude to our “Fightin’ Seabees”. Their work did not stop at the conclusion of the Second World War. Seabees continued to serve in Korea, Vietnam, as well as Operation Desert Shield/Storm. They also serve in disaster relief capacities bringing help to those in need in the United States and across the rest of the world. Their insignia symbolizes their grit, determination, and hard work. When the Construction Battalion first developed, Frank Iafrate was given the responsibility to create their insignia. Taking the convenient C and B from their new name, he created a cartoon bee with a sailor cap (representative of the Navy) holding tools (for their construction and maintenance) and a machine gun representing their defensive side. Thus, the iconic Seabee insignia was born which lives to this day.
Silver Maple Leaf
Lieutenant Colonels are field officers that do not necessarily serve in combat with their men. They instead oversee combat operations making sure that the NCO's carry out the plans correctly. Typically, the lieutenant colonels oversee 800-1,000 men. Their duties, like Majors, are not limited to service in combat, but they also can serve in military Headquarters and in special military unit organizations.
42nd Infantry Division
The 42nd Infantry Division began in September of 1917 whereupon it was shipped overseas to France during World War 1. In this time, the 42nd Division made a name for itself by participating in six campaigns between November 1917-November 1918 sustaining 1 out of 16 casualties in the Division for the entire American army. They were deactivated until the beginning of World War 2, when they were mustered again to fight the Nazis. Interestingly, the division was formed from National Guard units of twenty-six different states. Thus, General Douglas MacArthur said, “The 42nd Division stretches like a rainbow from one end of America to the other.” And, with that statement, the 42nd was then referred to the “Rainbow Division” from then on, and their insignia was born which is a crossing rainbow depicting their uniqueness stated by Douglas MacArthur. They began combat in France in 1944 and began the march into Germany. They were the first to enter Germany, the first to cross the Siegfried Line, and the first arrive at Munich. During their campaign, they liberated the Dachau Concentration camp discovering the atrocities the Nazis committed against human life. It held at least 30,000 inmates and was the oldest and longest running concentration camp of the war. The men who were there never forgot what they saw. Through the years, the 42nd Division has continued to be a liberating and relief force across the United States and the world bringing emergency aid in times of crisis as well as addressing the threats of tyranny in the War on Terror.
Silver Star Helmet
Brigadier Generals are the lowest of the General Officer Ranks. But they are no less important. They command a division (10,000-15,000) planning their tactics and combat opersations. They also serve as assistants to Major Generals.
US Marine Corps Uniform
The US Marine Corps is one of America's most formaidable weapons aginst all enemies both foreign and domestic. They are the most versatile branch of the military being qualified to engage the enemy on land, air, and sea. This "Leatherneck" is, in fact, a Marine Aviator so identified by the gold pilot wings behind a Navy anchor. Marine aviators are known for serving on carriers and land bases alike. The uniform seen here, served in the Vietnam conflict. His Medals include, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal Awarded by the Republic of Vietnam itself to American servicemen; Republic of Vietnam Service Medal for men and women who served in Vietnam between 1965 and 1973; National Defense SErvice Medal given to those who have distinguised themselves honorably while on active duty; and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal given to those who have excelled in routine duties or other achievements, but have not earned the Meritorious Service Medal or the Navy and Marie Corps Commendation Medal. The extra V on the ribbon indicates valor in service. The 3 service stars on the Vietnam medal indicate srvice in at least 3 campaigns. The ribbons on the opposite side of his ches (left to right): Combast Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon, Merit Unit Citation, Vietnam Gallant Cross Unit, and Vietnam Civil Actions
The military captain is a commissioned officer who works his way up through the ranks through Officer Candidate School, a military academy, or combat promotions. They oversee Company's (60-200 soldiers), serving with their men on the battlefield. They also teach and serve as Battalion Staff Officers.
First Army Group is the umbrella under which numerous Army divisions fall. So, those in the First and 29th Divisions for example, are under the ultimate command of the leader of the First Army Group. America’s First Army Group began at the outbreak of the First World War. It is America’s first and oldest, and longest serving organized field Army group within the military. Their commander was General John J. Pershing who formed the Group in September 1918. Their first victory in combat was driving the Germans out of St. Mihiel in France. They also were key to bringing the Germans to a speedier surrender after they broke the Hindenburg Line. After serving a brief occupation duty after the armistice, the First Army was sent back to the states. During the 1930s and early 1940s they were reactivated as a training group for active-duty Army, Army Reserve, and National Guard units to prepare them for efficient and quick mobilization and readiness. Once World War Two began, the First Army was mobilized and sent to England to prepare for the Operation Overlord. Their divisions were the first to land on Normandy, the first to break the Normandy line, the first into Paris, cross the Siegfried Line, the Rhine, and to link up with the Soviets at the Elbe River. Sixty First Army members were awarded the Medal of Honor for their heroic actions in the war, including America’s most decorated hero-Audie Murphy. The First Army as trained and deployed Divisions to Korea, Vietnam, and the Middle East. They also constantly keep America’s personnel ready for natural disasters and national emergencies participating in Katrina and the aftermath of 9/11. Their insignia represents who they are. Although it has changed since 1918, the present- day insignia has a red and white background with a large black A in the foreground. The red and white signifies the Army flags, and the single A represents America’s First Army. This insignia does not have the usual red and white background; thus, it is a World War Two era insignia since today’s colors were not approved until 1949.
Tank Destroyer Battalions
Because of the harsh realities of modern warfare discovered during World War 1, all countries involved-but especially Germany-decided that a new method must be used to prevent loss of life and usher a speedy end to a war. Thus, during the latter stages of the Great War, Germany, France, Great Britain, and America began using tanks to cross trenches and “No-Man’s-Land” breaking through tough enemy territory. After their surrender, Germany began expanding on the tank idea, especially after Hitler took command of the country. They formed the dreaded Panzer Divisions which were highly mechanized forces that combined artillery, infantry, tanks, and other combat vehicles. They were so efficient that these divisions could travel fifty-miles per day (at least thirty-miles more than previous years of infantry marching). These quick and deadly divisions were key in the swift taking of Europe. So, once America entered the war her military quickly developed the means to combat the Panzers-Tank Destroyer Battalions. While there were some tank battalions sent to the Pacific Theater, most of them shipped to Europe, North Africa, and the Mediterranean Theaters because of sheer need. Their motto is to “Seek-Strike-Destroy” which is exactly what they did. The tank destroyers were defeated Rommel in North Africa, Mussolini in Italy, and the Nazis in France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, and finally on their very own “Fatherland”. Thanks to the tank battalions fewer Allied lives were lost in numerous infantry charges. To signify their strength, courage, and invincibility, they were given a special shoulder insignia in 1942. The background is bright orange with a black outline; in the foreground there is a black panther (with red highlights) crushing an eight-wheel tank. They motto to seek, strike, and destroy is depicted here as the panther (a hunter) as sought his prey, initiated his strike, and destroyed the enemy.
Three Chevron Helmets
Sergeants have the greatest impact of any NCO rank on their platoons. They are the first "commanding" officer new recruits have. Sergeants oversee their platoon's training, fitness, health, appearance, and combat readiness.
The Third Division
The Third Division was activated (re-designated as the Third Infantry Division August 1, 1942) at Camp Green, North Carolina on November 21,1917. After intense training at Camp Green and Fort Bliss, the Third Division packed up and shipped 28,000 men to France arriving April 1918. During their service in the First World War, the Third Division earned the name “Rock of the Marne” because of their fierce determination during the Second Battle of the Marne July 15-August 6, 1918. Also at this time, they adopted their motto “We shall remain here” representing their eternal vigilance, fortitude, perseverance, and strength in the face of the enemy. This Division has ever lived up to this commitment. The “Rock of the Marne'' continued to live up to its name in the Second World War. The Third Division fought in the most campaigns of any American military division (ten) as well as the most combat days (531). The Third Division also claims the most decorated American soldier-Audie Murphy-who won twenty-three medals including America’s highest-the Medal of Honor. The Third Division continued to make history fighting in the Korean War as General Douglas MacArthur’s “Fire-Brigade'' during which they won at least thirteen Medals of Honors. In Vietnam, the “Rock of the Marne'' helped rescue the Vietnam capital from Communist forces before returning to their home at Fort Benning Georgia. The Third Division participated in the Gulf War and the continued war against terrorism in the Middle East. The Third’s insignia-three white stripe-represent the three World War 1 campaigns it fought. The blue background symbolizes loyalty and sacrifices of the men of the Division. Through its vast history, the Third Division has proved to be one of America’s finest Division’s sticking to the mission even at its toughest. They are truly solid, hard, and enduring. America’s “Rock of the Marne” Division.
One easily overlooked theater during World War 2 was the China/Burma/India sector or C.B.I. In this theater, there was a combination of British and American forces. Because Americans had few summer uniforms issued then as they were just getting established there, they purchased and wore lightweight British uniforms. Thus, there were mix-ups among the men especially if there had to be disciplinary actions. Thus, the Americans needed a special patch to set them apart. Colonel Frank Dorn came up with the C.B.I. patch. It is an American red, white, and blue shield representative of the United States. The two other symbols signify the theater of war. The twelve- point sun is for China and the five- point star represents India. There was no emblem for Burma because their insignia was a peacock which was complicated to do, and, at the time of the patch’s development, our forces were pushed back from Burma. Despite these initial setbacks, however, the Allies pushed through to ultimate victory restoring freedom and peace to Asia.
First Lieutenants are a step up from Second Lieutenants, but they still work closely with their platoons overseeing their training, leading them into combat, and working closely with the Captain of the unit. First Lieutenants work in aviation, medicine, artillery and engineering.
Four months before the Allies liberated France, they formed a commanding unit to help lead
Allied forces to victory. This unit was called “Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force” and it was made up of the top
commanders from British and American military circles. Like all military divisions, they decided that they needed an insignia that would distinguish them from other military divisions, thus they
developed the SHAEF patch. It is shaped like a shield with a rainbow gracing the top and a flaming sword against a dark blue background. The flaming sword represents the US Army 2nd Division World War 1 memorial; however, it also signifies the Allies piercing the darkness and tyranny of Nazi Germany (dark, blue background). The rainbow (colors of the Allied nations) at the top represents the goal of ultimate freedom and peace for all mankind which is what the Allied forces were striving for.
North Africa Theater of Operation
In the early stages of America’s entry into World War 2, the Allied national leaders convened to discuss the best possible route to defeating the Axis Powers in Europe. Their decision was to concentrate their military strength in England, push across the Channel and invade the Nazi regime through the coasts of France. While this was the best strategy by far, it was not convenient at the time. Thus, Winston Churchill urged for an invasion of North Africa, and Operation Torch was born. To lead the America’s forces in their quest for North Africa, they developed the North Africa Theater of Operations, US Army (NATOUSA). Achieving North Africa would take pressure off the Russians, achieve French colonial support, and keep the Nazis away from important cities and canals in this area. However, American forces were going against Rommel’s forces in Tunisia and Egypt who already had a good foothold in North Africa. But through perseverance and courage, they pressed through to victory after Axis forces in North Africa surrendered on May 12, 1943. To set apart the men of NATOUSA headquarters developed a special patch shaped like a minaret which was significant to the architecture of that area. They also incorporated a blue star representing the United States.
John Paul McConnell (1908-1986)
Born February 7, 1908, John Paul McConnell was destined to make his mark on Air Force history. Growning up in Booneville, Arkansas, McConnell had a normal abolescence attending the local high school and eventually moving on to Henderson-Brown College in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. After teaching for some time, he received an appointment to West Point Military Academy where he graduated Captain of his class in 1932. After being commissioned as a Second Lietenant, McConnell joined the Army Air Corps in 1933 where he served for nineteen years. He served as assistant executive in the office of Chief of the Air Force. He then went to Europe and Asia wehre he was promoted to Captain in 1940. In 1941, he was promoted to the rank of major, and from there colonel the very next year. During WWII, McConnell was Chief of Staff of the China-Burma-India Air Force Training Command where he also did some combat flying as a senior Air Staff Officer of Air Command Southeast Asia/Deputy Commander Tactical Air Force. McConnell received a general's rank in 1944. Between 1957 and 1961 he received two more stars and finally , in 1962, McConnell reached the rank of four-star general. He continued to serve in the Air Force replaing Curtis LeMay as vice Chief of Starr, the as the Chief of Staff of the Air Force. He spent time Vietnam in 1968 and while there came under fierce enemy fire. Soon after (1969), McConnell retired from the United state Air Force after serving a total of 44 years in the military. He died November 21, 1986. His awards include the Bronze Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Distinguised Service Medal (Army and Air Force, as well as awards from 11 contries across the globe.
US Army Rangers
America’s rangers began in the mid-1700s during King Phillip’s War and the French and Indian War. Captain Benjamin Church and Major Robert Rogers trained elite units to combat the opposing side. In fact, 19 of Rogers original orders are still used in American Ranger training today. Rangers were trained as a part of state’s militia in the early days of the frontier, continually being used in the America’ s armies even up into the Civil War. However, there was a fifty- year period without the Rangers until World War 2, when America activated six Ranger battalions. They were the elite units that rescued POWs in the Philippines; scaled Pointe du Hoc; and defeated the Japanese in the jungles of the C.B.I. The Rangers have made a name for themselves as the best of the best in America’s Army branch serving their country to the best of their ability. The patch you observe here was issued to be worn on the US Army Ranger uniform in 1943. Because this patch was submitted by a unit in the Ranger Battalion, there was no symbolism attached to it.
Persian Gulf Service Command
Whenever someone thinks of World War 2, they either picture tropical islands or French beachheads, but in fact, the Americans were stretched across the entire globe trying to defeat the Axis powers on all fronts. In 1941, President Roosevelt signed into law the Lend-Lease Act granting our neutral nation the freedom to sell wartime goods and services to the British strictly on a cash and carry basis. They would ship these supplies by way of the Middle East, but the Germans would destroy them as fast as America would ship them. Thus, FDR developed the U.S. Military Iranian Mission which eventually became the Persian Gulf Service Command. Their job was to safeguard supplies for the British and the Russians protecting it from sabotage until it reached its destination. Planes, tanks, artillery, food, oil, and more were safely delivered to struggling Allied nations because of the faithful service of the men in the Persian Gulf Service Command. Their special insignia sets them apart in their unique mission. The PGSC patch is a shield with a background of green which signifies the agricultural economy of Iran and Iraq as well as their dominant religion of Islam. The red scimitar represents the fighting spirit of ancient Persians clearly displayed in the American warriors present there; and the seven-point white star stands for purity as well as the religion of the two countries.
Operation Desert Shield
August 2, 1990, Saddam Hussein decided to invade the tiny country of Kuwait bringing it under Iraqi control to gain Kuwait’s rich oil deposit for himself. His aggression was met, however, with resistance from other nations, especially the United States. Thus, five days later, President Bush mustered America’s forces in Operation Desert Shield. Rallying, up to 35 other nations, President Bush began moving military force into the Middle East protecting not only Saudi Arabia, but also the country of Israel as Hussein was threatening its sovereignty as well. The 82nd Airborne Division were the first boots on the ground in Saudi Arabia, followed soon by other Army divisions, reaching a force of 100,000 by November of that year. At the peak of the war, America had roughly 600,000 service members overseas. As soon as the air war began in January of 1991, Operation Desert Shield/Persian Gulf War commenced. Without the immediate action of Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm would not have been quite as successful. Therefore, to honor the cooperation of US forces in acting expediently and efficiently in the face of a world crisis, the participants in Operation Desert Shield were distinguished by a special patch-a shield signifying the name and an eagle carrying an American shield into battle representing America coming to the defense of the Middle East against a ruthless dictator. Thus, America will always be the world’s guard dog against tyranny.
The Fourth or “Ivy” Division was established on November 17, 1917 at the beginning of America’s entry in the Great War. The famous ivy insignia was adopted by the division’s first commanding officer-Major General George H. Cameron. The name Ivy has two-fold meanings. First, it is referred to as “Ivy” because of the four ivy leaves on the patch. However, second, “IV” Y also resembles the Roman numeral for the number four (IV). Thus, the Ivy or Fourth division was born. In April of the following year, the Ivy division was activated and sent to fight in France. They distinguished themselves honorably serving in at least five different campaigns including the Aisne-Marne and Meuse-Argonne. Once World War 2 hit, the Ivy Division became the first US Army division to storm Utah Beach at 6:30 AM-D-Day. They helped capture Cherbourg, St. Lo, and even liberated Paris from Nazi occupation. The Ivy Division continued to serve with distinction throughout the Second World War, fighting in Belgium and Germany before finally being able to return home. During the Cold War and Korea, the Ivy’s were shipped to Europe to prevent the spread of Communism into the West. When the Vietnam conflict began, the Ivy Division were some of the first military to land in Vietnam serving there until 1970. Eleven Ivy Soldiers earned the Medal of Honor during the war in ‘Nam continuing the amazing legacy of the Fourth Division.
US Army Pacific Ocean Areas
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, America’s forces took severe hits throughout the rest of their Pacific bases. By late 1941-early 1942, the Japanese Empire held the greatest amount of conquered land in world history. However, America’s forces formulated a plan to retake the Pacific islands through their “island-hopping” strategy getting them close enough to the Japanese mainland for a full-scale invasion. While it is the Marine and Naval forces that get the most recognition for the Pacific campaign, the Army was also a large part of retaking the Pacific. The Army formed the command of the US Army Forces in the Central Pacific Area (USAFICPA) in 1943; however, the following year, this group was superseded by the US Army Forces in the Pacific Ocean Areas which combined the Army groups from the Central and Southern Pacific arenas. This consolidated group was key in regaining the Philippines from the Japanese-one of the biggest steps to ending the war in the Pacific. This new consolidated group needed a patch which would signify their theater of service, so they came up with a circle dotted with stars and a red arrow. The blue represents the Pacific Ocean, and the stars the islands. The arrow pointing south signifies the mission to protect and serve these areas delivering them from the tyranny of the Japanese Imperial Empire. The coloring-red/white/blue represents America. US Army Pacific Ocean Areas still exist today as US Indo-Pacific-Command(USINDOPACOM) preserving the liberty of the Asia/Pacific area always guarding against any other threats of tyranny in that area.
Sixth Infantry Division
The “Sight Seein’ Sixth” has been in service in the United States Army since World War 1. Activated in November of 1917, the division was trained and ready by July of the following year when they were shipped to France to engage the Germans. They defended a 21 mile stretch constantly under artillery fire and in danger of German raiding parties. They would also establish fake “hikes” to trick the Germans into believing that a major counter-offensive would take place in that sector. The division distinguished themselves so honorably in the Great War that General Pershing even credited them with being essential to bringing the war to an end. Once the Sixth Division was shipped home, they served at Camp Grant, Illinois until they were de-activated in 1921. It was reactivated again in 1939 at the first hints of Hitler’s conquest in Europe. After Pearl Harbor, the Sixth Infantry Division was mustered and sent to the Pacific Theater of Operations to defeat the Japanese in the Philippine area. The Sixth encountered fierce resistance from the Japanese and battled the jungle elements earning the right to become the most engaged US Army Division in the Pacific Campaign. After being deactivated in 1949, the Sixth were again called upon to serve their country in the Korean conflict, and again in the 1967 at the beginning of Vietnam. They did not end up going, however, because the US Army decided against it. They were thus again deactivated until the Reagan administration serving until 1994. The “Sight Seein’ Sixth” endured much throughout its service to America depicting the strong, courageous American spirit that will never flag, or fail, but will persevere until ultimate victory is achieved. Their patch signifies the country they fought for in its color (red) and the six-pointed star represents the Army they served under as well as their division- “Sixth Army, Sixth Division”.
First Calvary Division
“Hell, for Leather” or “First Team In” was activated at Fort Bliss, Texas in 1921 patrolling the Texas-Mexico border. In the years ahead, horses would become inconvenient for modern warfare, thus the calvary division became an infantry division during the Second World War being key in the Philippine campaign, including liberating prison camp at Santo Tomas University. After the surrender of Japan, the Division was given occupational duty there until the Korean conflict. During this period of occupation, the 1st Division became known for investing in the Japanese people by providing for orphanages and relief efforts during natural disasters. Through their efforts the tension between the two countries dissipated helping heal the pain of war. Once Korea hit, the 1st Calvary was again mobilized to serve in the conflict. In fact, in just a short time the First had crossed the 38th parallel and reached the Capital of North Korea. The war was nearly won, when the Chinese Communists crossed the border and beat back the American offensive. Unable to push the Communists out of North Korea, the Americans reestablished the 38th parallel with the 1st Division guarding the border keeping the Communists at bay. The First Calvary served honorably in Vietnam, the Cold War, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and the continued War on Terror. Their patch signifies their character-the shield is yellow, representing original calvary colors; the horses head signifies their origins; the black stripe is representing the strength of iron and military honor.
The 82nt Airborne Division
August 5, 1917, the 82nd Division was formed at Camp Gordon, Georgia because of the nation’s entry into the First World War. The division’s first commanding officer, Brigadier General W.P. Burnham decided that this new division must have a name or slogan to promote esprit de corps among its members; so, he put an ad in a local newspaper asking for suggestions. The best one submitted, was “All American” referencing the fact that the division contained men from all forty-eight states of the country. Their patch is representative of this unique unit. The colors-red, white, and blue-signify their country; and the double “A” in the center represents their name “All-American”. Throughout its proud history, the 82nd Airborne Division has made it their mission to take their stand against the tyrants across the world-from Germany to Afghanistan. The “All American” Division has remained “America’s Guard of Honor” helping to keep her lamp of freedom burning bright.
The 101st Airborne Division
“The 101st has no history but has a rendezvous with destiny” said Major General William C. Lee who was the first commander of the new 101st Airborne Division. The 101st Airborne Division or “Screaming Eagles” were organized at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana in 1942. Soon after completing training in 1943, the division shipped over to England to begin preparations for the Normandy invasion. In fact, it was the 101st Airborne who were the first boots in France dropping into the countryside in the early morning hours of June 6. Throughout the rest of the European campaign, the Screaming eagles displayed incredible courage, stamina, and patriotism fighting throughout France, Holland, Belgium, Austria, and even Germany. However, they were not just known for their actions in World War 2, the 101st also served in Vietnam, Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and they continue to serve in the global war on terrorism. They are always there whenever America calls-fulfilling their calling to have “a rendezvous with destiny”. The 101st is the only air assault division in the US Army making them unique in America’s military. Their patch reflects their name, “Screaming Eagles”, as a shield with a black background and a screaming eagle in the foreground signifying their patriotism, strength, and quest for freedom.
The 92nd Division
Shortly after the United States entered the First World War, the Army formed the 92nd Division at Camp Funston, Kansas. The world new them as “Buffalo Soldiers” named in honor of the all-black division that served in the Union Army during the Civil War. Following basic training, the 92nd was shipped over to France in the fight for democracy. They first saw combat in August of 1918 and fought bravely in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive until the armistice in November. Once the war concluded, the 92nd Division was deactivated and remained so until after the attack at Pearl Harbor. They were again called to duty and arrived in Naples, Italy July 30, 1944. The Buffalo Soldiers saw fierce action with the German Army throughout the Mediterranean Theater knowing both advance and retreat. Two of the 92nd’s members received the Medal of Honor for their actions in the Italian Campaign. They will always be remembered for their dignity and courage in the face of staggering odds. To represent their unit the 92nd Division was fitted with their special patch-a buffalo against a green background signifying their resilience, courage, and famous heritage as the “Buffalo Soldiers”.
As were most of the US Army’s divisions, the 86th was activated in 1917 and soon sent over to fight in France. They saw no combat, however, and were deactivated in 1919. When World War 2 began, the Blackhawk Division was mustered and sent to Europe arriving in March of 1945. The Blackhawk Division was instrumental in the eventual surrender of the Nazis as they oversaw the conflict in Ruhr which is where up to 300,000 German troops surrendered. Three weeks following that the war in the ETO ended. However, the men of the 86th were also one of the American divisions to liberate a Nazi forced labor camp- Attendorn. The Blackhawk Division witnessed the terrible brutalities of the Nazi state, and the men within it were forever changed solidifying their stance to stand against tyranny and discrimination at all cost. Their special insignia symbolizes this firm conviction. Their patch is a red shield with a black hawk in the background and the initials “B” “H” in the center. It signifies the honors the legacy of the fierce Native American warrior Blackhawk forever reminding the men who wear this patch of the significance to give their all-defending liberty.
The Merchant Marines
One of the most critical jobs of the war was to transport much needed supplies (food, clean water, oil, ammunition, etc.) to across the oceans to the battlefront. With the American Navy stretched to the limit, the US government had to fill this position with civilian mariners, thus the United States Merchant Marines was born. These brave souls faced numerous dangers while crossing the seas, including kamikaze attacks, U-boats, mines, and even armed raiders. It was no small task to supply the military. One out of every 26 Mariners were killed in the line of duty. They suffered a higher percentage of war-related deaths than any other US military branch. No one will ever forget these civilian sailors who risked all to supply our men at the front. To distinguish this unique branch from others, the United Seaman’s Service petitioned Walt Disney to make a special patch for the Merchant Marines. July 14, 1944, Mr. Disney kept his promise. His artistic designers created “Battlin’ Pete”-a scene on a rough ocean with the Disney character “Pete the Cat” slamming a cartoon torpedo. This patch demonstrated the tenacity and bravery of the Merchant Marines who had enough courage to face extreme danger and supply our troops helping bring the war to a speedy end.
Brigadier General Regis F.A. Urschler
Brigadier General Regis F. A. Urschler was born at the height of the Great Depression (1935) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After his high school graduation, Urschler joined the Air Force and moved from Pennsylvania to New York to Texas in a matter of onths. While in Texas, Urschler completed pilot training through the Aviation Cadet Program receiving his wings and commission as a second lieutenant in 1955. Following this, he was assigned to the 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing based outof Kansas where Urschler flew co-pilot in B-47 Strato Jets on Missions that included Greenland, Japan, Alaska and England. Later, he flew KC-135 out of Alaska and then Nebraska. He was then promoted to commander of the 82nd Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron in Okinawa where he remained for nearly 2 years. The Air Force was by no means done with Urschler as he then attended Parkland College to learn how to control and direct air operations better as commander of a base. Following this, he was assigned as Senior Controller at Headquarters Strategic Air Command at Offut Air Force Base in Nebraska. Urschler continued to move up in command until he was promoted to Brigadier General in 1980. He retired with 12,700 flying hours and such decorations as the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star, Air Force Commendation Medal, and the Air medal. Urschler was a member of the Commemorative Air Force Flying his P-51 Mustang "Gunfighter" in numerous airshows across the nation. He was an avid participant at what used to be called Ozark Military Museum, generously donating uniforms, medals, pictures, and plaques to the facility.
Second Lieutenant is the first officer ranking list. They work closely with the men in their platoons. Their primary responsibilities are to keep the men fit, ensure, their training is correct, and lead them into combat. Second Lieutenants must be quick thinkers, and good delegators.
Marine Corps Green Officers Service Cap