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US Coast Guard Academy

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US Coast Guard Academy

Unread postby Gfonk04 » Sun Aug 21, 2005 9:51 pm

[font=Arial] [/font] An addition to the US insignia, which already include USMA at West Point and USNA at Annapolis (including some further information in my last post), insignia of the US Coast Guard Academy at New London, Connecticut.

Like all Coast Guard ranks, the USCGA ranks are simliar to thier US Navy counterparts. Instead of the Navy's star device on sleeve and shoulder boards, the USCGA uses the Coast Guard shield on blue. The most important distinction to note, is the Coast Guard practice referring to Academy students as "Cadets" and not, as might be expected "Midshipmen"

Shoulder boards have the same stripe system as USNA shoulder boards with one exception. Whereas the stipes on USNA Midshipmen secon- and third-class shoulder boards slant from the back to the front (thus a MIDN 3/c shoulder boards, viewed from the front would look like "/ \", and a MIDN 2/c "// \\"), the CGA shoulder boards for those ranks is the opposite, rendering a CDT 3/c "\ /" and a CDT 2/c "\\ //"

Soft shoulder boards are used much more frequently on CGA uniforms, as on all USCG uniforms, and seeing the full dress pointed shoulder boards is rare. The shield on the Cadet shoulder boards is measured from the top of the shoulder board, not from the rank stripe, a difference between both USCGA and USNA, and CGA and the regular Coast Guard.

Sleeve rank is portrayed exactly the same as USNA sleeve rank with a few differences. The most obvious is the shield on blue device; additionally, second-, third- and fourth-class Cadets have a shield on their sleeves, whereas USNA Midshipmen do not. Furthermore, second- and third-class cadets have their rank (diagonal stripes) on both sleeves, while USNA Midshipmen have theirs only on the left sleeve. Like USNA Midshipmen, these stripes slope from the back of the sleeve to the front (or in nautical terms, "forward from aft").

Metal pin-on insignia for seniors with leadership positions in the Cadet chain-of-command is identical to USNA insignia. For other cadets, however, it is very different. The design is a fouled anchor, surmounted by a star, on a shield, the color of which indicates rank. Fourth-class cadets (freshman) wear green shields, third-class cadets (sophomores) red, second-class cadets (juniors) gree, and first-class cadets (seniors) without leadership positions wear white shields. On these devices, the "bitter end" of the rope on the anchor points forward, as opposed to USNA devices where the bitter end always points aft.

It is my understanding that in the past, CGA cadets wore rank much more similar to USNA Midshipmen, however this was changed to create a more service-specific rank structure. The use of the colored shields on the collar devices was inspired by that of the US Military Academy at West Point (yellow shield for sophomores, gray for juniors, black for seniors and none for freshmen).

I have uploaded graphics of the USCGA ranks to the following addresses and if the administrators of this site wish to use them on the site, please do so! Enjoy. ... r_Rank.JPG
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Unread postby dcfowler1 » Tue Sep 13, 2005 3:53 am

Just to nitpick on this post a bit (sorry), the US Coast Guard, to include the US Coast Guard Academy has not used "soft shoulder boards" for quite a few years. Instead, they use "enhanced" shoulder boards, which are essentially like hard shoulder boards, but with the top section squared-off, and with no button. They have the same hard insert inside that hard shoulder boards do, but slip onto shirt epaulets like soft shoulder boards.

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Unread postby Blakwhit » Fri Oct 28, 2005 3:25 pm

Does anyone know why they are called Cadets rather than Midshipman? That just seems odd to me since they are a Naval Service. Has it always been that way or did it happen when they departed from the Naval style uniforms for the current Air Force style?

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Unread postby J.T. Broderick » Fri Oct 28, 2005 6:47 pm

Does anyone know why they are called Cadets rather than Midshipman? That just seems odd to me since they are a Naval Service. Has it always been that way or did it happen when they departed from the Naval style uniforms for the current Air Force style?

The title goes back to the 1800s for those under instruction to become Revenue Marine officers.

The term "midshipman" had a somewhat different connotation to people back then. To many it implied a young man who was put aboard ship at a young age to learn on the job, rather than one who was instructed in a formal, academic system. In fact, Congress changed the title in the US Navy to "naval cadet" from 1882 to 1902.

The Revenue Marine/RCS may have had similar reasoning, but I don't know for sure.

best regards,
J.T. Broderick
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Location: Salt Lake City, Utah, USA


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