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American Military Patches, Other Insignia and Decorations of World War Two by Dr. Howard G. Lanham c.2002


U.S. Army Enlisted Man's Olive Drab Service Uniform

The photograph above is a tinted, early war image of a private of the 30th Division. He is not wearing any ribbon bars, discharge emblems or overseas bars typical of a returning veteran. The uniform is the an olive drab wool service uniform, a style first introduced in 1926, hat and a brown (Army russet) leather belt around the waist. In First World War soldiers went into combat wearing their service uniforms, but by the time of the Second World War this uniform was not commonly worn in the field.

The hat came in with the 1926 uniform and was a wider crown than the type in use during the First World War. The inside had a thin removable metal band, which preserved its shape. Enlisted men wore a disk in the front with the Arms of the United States. A few years prior to World War Two a brown leather visor and chin strap replaced black leather ones. The chin strap was not functional.

At the time of its introduction the model 1926 service coat was a major innovation. It was a lapel coat and replaced the older standing collar one The coat had four buttons in the front and four external pockets and required a shirt and necktie. In 1940 a variation was introduced that had two bi-swing pleats in the back running downward from the posterior sleeve seams. These were an effort to give a soldier wearing the uniform more flexibility. The uniform proved not to be practical in the field and a series of field uniforms were developed that were much more functional in combat. In 1942 the pleats were discontinued and in 1943 routine issue of the coat ceased. In the European Theater of Operations it was replaced by the shorter Eisenhower jacket. The service uniform basically served as a dress uniform during the war and many of the currently surviving ones were issued to soldier on discharge to wear while returning home.

The insignia on this uniform consists of a machine-embroidered shoulder sleeve insignia of the 30th Division worn on the left shoulder. The design originated during World War One and is a monogram of the division's nickname "Old Hickory." The bar of the letter H forms the roman numerals XXX. On the right collar is a brass disk with the letters U.S. and on the left are the crossed rifles of infantry. No distinctive insignia are worn on the lapels suggesting this image may date after the suspension of manufacture of distinctive insignia. A sharpshooter badge with two qualification bars is worn on the left pocket.

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