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AMERICA - MILITARY BRANCH & RANK INSIGNIA

US Collar Insignia for Aide to President

Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines

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US Collar Insignia for Aide to President

Unread postby ELSUPREMO » Sun Feb 25, 2007 5:18 pm

The President of the United States is the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and as such rates military aides from each of the Armed Services, usually numbering three each. Collar badges are worn for the Air and Army Aides to the President, and aigulettes for the Naval Aides to the President. The original Army Aide badge was first used in 1948, and consisted of a circular badge containing two concentric rings of twenty-four five-pointed stars surrounding a small gold eagle surmounting a red, white and blue shield. This was changed to conform to the standard Army aide badge pattern of a gold eagle surmounting a shield of dark blue containing a circle of thirteen five-pointed white stars. The Air Force has always used badges of the Air Force pattern consisting of a silver eagle with outstretched wings surmounting a shield of dark blue with a circle of thirteen five-pointed silver stars. It is interesting to note that the original intention, and designs were created, to have the Army and Air Aides to the President wear badges as described but containing the Presidential Coat of Arms of the Presidential eagle surrounded by a circle of stars (48 and later 50) instead of the circle of thirteen five-pointed stars. This design was quite beautiful, but the Arms were too small for practical manufacture and thus the design changed to thirteen five-pointed stars. As a final note, the Aide to the Vice President wears the same type of badge, but with colors reversed.
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Unread postby J.T. Broderick » Mon Feb 26, 2007 1:35 pm

I believe the Air Force eliminated the lapel insignia for aides some time ago. Presidential aides in the USAF, as in all the services, are indicated by aiguilettes worn on the right shoulder, and a presidential service badge is worn on the right breast pocket, or above the nametag for females.

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Unread postby ELSUPREMO » Mon Feb 26, 2007 4:00 pm

Aide badges still exist, that is they are available for collectors and historians, as do the regulations promulgated for them, along with the designs and proposals for them as well. Use of badges is another matter.
Last edited by ELSUPREMO on Mon Mar 05, 2007 12:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby J.T. Broderick » Mon Feb 26, 2007 4:35 pm

The lapel insignia for aides no longer appear in "Dress and Personal Appearance of Air Force Personnel" (Air Force Instruction 36-2903).

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US Collar Insignia for Aide to President

Unread postby ELSUPREMO » Mon Mar 05, 2007 12:33 am

While the actual use of aide lapel badges might have been suspended, and precedent shows this could easily be reversed, the designs and proposed designs for the badges created and used are a matter of record. These designs have an interesting history and I think the proposals are even more interesting than those chosen for manufacture.
ELSUPREMO
 

US Collar Insignia for Aide to President

Unread postby ELSUPREMO » Wed Mar 21, 2007 1:24 am

After careful inquiry and analysis, I have found out that while the collar badges for aides to civilian officials and general officers do not appear in the most recent US Air Force uniform regulations manual, AFI36-2903 of 2 August 2006, in fact, they are still in use. Perhaps this is a personal choice of the officer in question. I have verified their use by both personal conversation and observation of uniform lapels of an Aide to a US Air Force Lieutenant General and an aide to the US Air Force Chief of Staff. I was informed that any current uniform regulations manual is usually incomplete, incorrect, filled with errors or omissions, and is in constant need of revision, and that the lack of mention of these badges is but one of many errors present in the publication. With much surprise, a whole list of errors was presented to me. Often the map is not the territory, and it would seem that this is the case here. Like it or not, the manual has errors and omissions, and the aide badges are still in use. I like the design of the badges and think that they look great on the uniform. Official or not, regulations or not, they are distinctive and add much symbolic information to the uniform.
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Unread postby J.T. Broderick » Wed Mar 21, 2007 12:21 pm

That it interesting, and it is nice that the insignia are still in use. I agree, they are fine looking devices. It is unfortunate that the Air Force has sort of "forgotten" them officially, because I suspect some readers here don't know what they look like. I have looked online for examples and haven't been able to find much. They are also not illustrated in recent editions of the AF Officer's Guide. I also don't know how many different designs there were. IIRC the device for aide to SecAF was particularly handsome, with the air force "thunderbolt."

Some may not be aware that the USMC also used general's aide devices up through World War II. They were essentially the same design as the army's. They were worn in bronze on the lapels of the green and khaki service coats, and in gold and enamel on the collar of the blue and white coats, just aft of the Marine globe device.

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Justin
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Unread postby J.T. Broderick » Wed Mar 21, 2007 12:53 pm

It just occured to me that another Air Force uniform item that is not mentioned in the regulations is the silver cloud and lightning embroidery on the service cap band, worn by the Air Force Chief of Staff as far back as Hoyt Vandenberg, as well as by USAF generals serving as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

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Re: US Collar Insignia for Aide to President

Unread postby Livgardist » Wed Mar 21, 2007 1:28 pm

ELSUPREMO wrote:With much surprise, a whole list of errors was presented to me.


Hey, we´re Nerds here!

Show us the list! Show us the list! Show us the list!

Please?
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US Commander in Chief Insignia

Unread postby ELSUPREMO » Wed Mar 21, 2007 3:50 pm

The US Air Force Aide badges are all of the same pattern, unique to the Air Force, but similar to those used for the US Army. The Air Force badges, like the Army, use an eagle on top of a shield, with a stylized flag or number of stars, or a combination of both, to represent either the civilian official or general officer to which the aide is assigned. The Air Force badges are slightly smaller than those for the Army, and consist of a silver eagle with outstretched wings and perched on top of an almost square shield. The shield is divided roughly in half for general officers, with the lower half enamelled white and the upper half enamelled blue, in which are 1 to 5 five-pointed stars representing the general officer. Badges for Aides to civilian officials are: Aide to the President, Vice President, Secretary of Defense, and Secretary of the Air Force. The list differs slightly from those used by the Army. Unlike the US Army, there is no Aide badge for UnderSecretary of the Air Force, Vice Chairman JCS or Vice Chief of Staff of Air Force.
Last edited by ELSUPREMO on Thu Mar 22, 2007 5:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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US Commander in Chief Insignia

Unread postby ELSUPREMO » Wed Mar 21, 2007 3:55 pm

The US Air Force Aide to the President badge consists of the silver eagle with outstretched wings atop a square blue enamelled shield on which are 13 silverfive-pointed stars in a circle. The Aide to the Vice President has a silver shield with a circle of 13 five-pointed blue stars. The US Army pattern is similiar but has different color scheme. It is interesting that the original concept was that the Air Aide to the President badge would have the beautiful Presidential Coat of Arms on the shield: the Presidential eagle surrounded by 50 stars. I have seen the actual color rendering of this badge and it is magnificent. However, it was decided to go with the simple circle of 13 stars as the Coat of Arms would have been tiny with much detail lost or impossible to manufacture.
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US Commander in Chief Insignia

Unread postby ELSUPREMO » Wed Mar 21, 2007 4:01 pm

In regards to a "list" of errors in the Uniform Regulations manual, I regret I do not have anything in written form, as only a passionate and emotional verbal presentation consisting of many errors was described to me. One that comes to mind related to the new Headquarters Air Force Identification Badge. It comes in two sizes: large or standard and miniature. The regs state that the miniature badge is worn on the Mess Dress jacket, and one of the color photographs of the jacket shows the large badge present. Someone wasn't reading.
ELSUPREMO
 

Unread postby J.T. Broderick » Thu Mar 22, 2007 4:25 am

Here are some drawings to illustrate what we're talking about. This is mostly from memory and El Supremo's descriptions, so please let me know if I made any mistakes!
Image

The shape of the shield and the eagle are obviously derived from the USAF coat of arms. The shape of the wavy line between the white and blue of the generals' aide badges is called "nebuly" in heraldry and is a stylized representation of clouds. The winged lightning thing on the SecAF aide device is a heraldic thunderbolt, seen in the USAF seal and arms, and also on USAF navigator wings.

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Justin
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US Commander in Chief Insignia

Unread postby ELSUPREMO » Thu Mar 22, 2007 5:20 am

Your drawings are fantastic. You did this from memory. WOW. You are good and I am proud of you!! Excellent! This is exactly what they look like.
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Unread postby J.T. Broderick » Thu Mar 22, 2007 3:52 pm

Thanks, El Supremo. Just the details were from memory, not the whole drawing! I got the shape of the shield and the eagle from images of the Air Force coat of arms. I was not sure if they used "defense blue" for the SecDef aide shield.

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US Commander in Chief Insignia

Unread postby ELSUPREMO » Thu Mar 22, 2007 4:30 pm

You remind me of a point of interest that I have not been able to explain, except perhaps a manufacturer error. Examples of the metal collar badges for the US Army Aide to the Chairman JCS are made with both a dark navy blue and the correct bluebird (DOD) blue. This might be of use to collectors. I just remembered that the USAF Aide to Chairman JCS is the only metal Air Force badge with the light bluebird blue also.
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