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1833-1847 US Army NCO Chevrons Help

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1833-1847 US Army NCO Chevrons Help

Unread postby DesertRanger » Fri Mar 20, 2015 2:56 pm

Hello Uniform Insignia

I was wondering if anyone has any sources for finding early pre/early Mexican-American war Chevrons for Non-Commissioned Officers.

I can only find one source for these Chevrons and I was trying to find more "reliable" sources, or to simply figure out whether my source is even correct in the first place.

My source is from a small and somewhat hard to find (for me) Website that shows US Ranks since the Revolution.

http://usarmyinsigniahomepage.netii.net/mex-inf.html

This site shows Chevrons from 1833-1847 as being face down.

Does anyone else have any sources stating that NCO Chevrons during this timeline were face down?
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Re: 1833-1847 US Army NCO Chevrons Help

Unread postby Dorward_Bis » Fri Mar 20, 2015 3:19 pm

Look here, mate)
http://ru.scribd.com/doc/65707648/The-H ... nia#scribd

Actually, there is plenty of sources concerning the history of US Army rank insignias, so I wondered why you indicated the link shown in your post as a hard to find source - it is quite familiar to uniformologists.

Regards.
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Re: 1833-1847 US Army NCO Chevrons Help

Unread postby DesertRanger » Fri Mar 20, 2015 3:25 pm

Thank you for the Link, I just wanted more sources for US Rank Insignia. smilies-23
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Re: 1833-1847 US Army NCO Chevrons Help

Unread postby SFMRAS » Fri Mar 20, 2015 5:03 pm

Dorward_Bis wrote:Look here, mate)
http://ru.scribd.com/doc/65707648/The-H ... nia#scribd

Actually, there is plenty of sources concerning the history of US Army rank insignias, so I wondered why you indicated the link shown in your post as a hard to find source - it is quite familiar to uniformologists.

Regards.

Actually, you're both right. I have that site (and a few mirrors) bookmarked, but when I google it, I get every site BUT it and teh mirrors.
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Re: 1833-1847 US Army NCO Chevrons Help

Unread postby gghbisa » Fri Mar 20, 2015 10:50 pm

The Perrenot ebook had a lot of inaccuracies and should be taken with a grain of salt.

The last word on U.S. Army chevrons is the book Chevrons by Colonel William K. Emerson. It's second edition came out last year and it is incredible. In full color with tons of photos and charts it is an invaluable resource, but it is not cheap. It is available here:
http://www.amazon.com/U-S-Army-Soldiers ... s=chevrons

My own vain attempt to assemble the history of rank insignia is available here:
http://www.amazon.com/History-American- ... 746&sr=1-1
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Re: 1833-1847 US Army NCO Chevrons Help

Unread postby DesertRanger » Tue Mar 24, 2015 5:27 pm

Thank you for the Book suggestions, I will definitely keep an eye out for them.

Is there some list somewhere or something that can state which insignia in the Perrenot book are incorrect?
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Re: 1833-1847 US Army NCO Chevrons Help

Unread postby gghbisa » Tue Mar 24, 2015 11:32 pm

If we stick to the period you are interested in, (page 147) the Perrenot book shows every branch wearing chevrons from 1831 to 1847. Even the Regiment of Mounted Rifles that did not exist until 1846. It also shows Sergeants Major and Quartermaster Sergeants wearing chevrons, even the a Sergeant Major of dragoons wearing four.

Outside that era there are other errors such as majors wearing single color epaulets before 1851 and an oak leaf on epaulets after 1851.

In fairness to Mr. Perrenot, I purchased my copy of his book in 2010 and he may have corrected it since then.

For the record from 1833 until 1847 the only chevrons worn to denote rank (chevrons were used as service stripes at the time) were three for sergeants of dragoons and two for corporals of dragoons. The were point down and they were yellow.
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Re: 1833-1847 US Army NCO Chevrons Help

Unread postby venqax » Fri Mar 27, 2015 8:59 pm

gghbisa: Are you the author of the book on the history of the rank insignia of all the US military and other uniformed services branches?
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Re: 1833-1847 US Army NCO Chevrons Help

Unread postby Dorward_Bis » Fri Mar 27, 2015 10:08 pm

venqax wrote:gghbisa: Are you the author of the book on the history of the rank insignia of all the US military and other uniformed services branches?


Yes he is)
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Re: 1833-1847 US Army NCO Chevrons Help

Unread postby gghbisa » Sun Mar 29, 2015 7:02 pm

Yes that's me.
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Re: 1833-1847 US Army NCO Chevrons Help

Unread postby venqax » Thu Apr 02, 2015 10:11 pm

gghbisa wrote:Yes that's me.

Absolutely fantastic, and thank you for what must have been a monumental task of research. I bought a copy as soon as I was aware of it. Tried to put it on my bookshelf, but I was getting it out so often that I finally gave up and now just keep it on my desk.

I have a question that you would be excellently qualified to answer if you don't mind. US officers' insignia for majors and lieutenant colonels (naval lieutenant commanders and commanders). Are they oak leaves or oak leaf clusters?. I note that you refer to them in the book as oak leaves and that is the language used in the current regulations, which you conscientiously cite. Elsewhere I have seen them called clusters (cf. "a cluster f**k" is military slang for operational messes made by senior officers) and always heard them called clusters when I grew up in a military family. Just looking at the badges/embroideries themselves they look to be clusterS of 7 oak leaves around a stem, and really look nothing an "an" oak leaf. Any thoughts on this? Thanks!
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Re: 1833-1847 US Army NCO Chevrons Help

Unread postby gghbisa » Fri Apr 03, 2015 12:48 am

Thank you for buying my book, I am glad it has been of use to you.

I did a quick check of uniform regulations from both the army and navy ranging from 1839 to 2014 and the insignia is always described as a leaf, never as a cluster. The design has always been a bit abstract, but the naval version with the veins looks more like a leaf.

What is described as an oak leaf cluster is the device worn on army ribbons and medals to denote a subsequent award . It is possible the two were confused over the years.
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Re: 1833-1847 US Army NCO Chevrons Help

Unread postby J.T. Broderick » Sun Apr 05, 2015 11:22 pm

^ That's a great answer. I agree, the term "oak leaf cluster" from decorations/medals/ribbons just got conflated with the rank insignia at some point. One place where the term was used that way a lot was the TV show MASH.

The "army style" metal pin leaves have a surface texture that imitates embroidery. That used to be standard for bars and stars, too, as you can see from this 1908 picture (from here):

1907_army_rank.png


At some point, the stars and bars became smooth metal, but for whatever reason the leaves stayed false-embroidery. Somebody probably just thought they looked better that way, and it stuck. The is from a 1942 Quartermaster Corps specification sheet:
1942_rank_spec.png
1942_rank_spec.png (36.4 KiB) Viewed 2628 times


It's true that they don't look like natural oak leaves, but originally they were hand-embroidered, with considerable variation as in anything hand-crafted. Eventually a somewhat "standardized" design emerged, but it certainly wouldn't meet botanical standards!

The navy of course uses oak leaves and acorns for most corps insignia, which leads to the interesting situation of a lieutenant commander of the nurse corps wearing what are ostensibly "gold oak leaves" on each side of the collar, but with different designs and completely different meanings.

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