American Military Patches, Other Insignia and Decorations
of World War Two by Dr. Howard G. Lanham c.2001
Army Branch of Service Insignia: Enlisted Men
Second World War
Enlisted Man's Insignia Infantry
The symbolism of the U.S. Army's branch of service insignia reach far back into the Army's history and the designs themselves were reused in many different insignia worn on different parts of the uniform. The number and names of different branches also changed over time. Enlisted men wore a disk with the letters U.S. on the upper right collar and a disc with their branch insignia on the left collar. In the above photo the enlisted man is also wearing the distinctive insignia of the 6850th (Nürberg/Nuremberg Trials) Internal Security Detachment on his garrison cap and lapels in this postwar image. The infantry crossed rifles collar disk is visible on his left collar.
Metallic branch insignia were attached with screw posts, pins, or clutches located on the back of the insignia. Some of the insignia below are pictured with their clutches still attached.
Difference between Officer and Enlisted Branches Insignia
Officer's Infantry Insignia
Enlisted Man's Infantry Insignia
The enlisted devices are brass (no colors) and are placed on one inch disks and worn on the lapels of the service coat and Ike jacket. They were not worn on shirts, overcoats and field jackets. Beginning in 1907 enlisted men used disks as branch insignia on their standing collars and with the introduction of the lapel coat in 1926 the disks were worn on the upper lapel collar. There was an evolution in the design and manufacture of the disks through the 20th Century.
U.S. with Unit Number
Collar disks were worn in pairs with the wearer's right sided disk having the initials U.S. At the beginning of the war older style collar disks often had the unit's number below the U.S. and the above example has the number 64. If the opposite disk was an infantry one with the letter B below the crossed rifles this would identify the wearer as a member of Company B of the 64th Infantry Regiment. The regulations of 1944 still mention numbers on disks but the newer one-piece stamped disks introduced during the war to conserve on brass did not allow for a number to be added.
Adjutant General's Dept.
Army Mine Planter Service
Corps of Engineers
Detached Enlisted Men
1st Special Service Force (1)
National Guard Bureau
Women's Army Corps
The First Special Service Force was a U.S.-Canadian commando force, which served in Italy.