The US Forces included Navy,
Army, Army Air Force and Marine Corps
This infantry Captain of
the US 3rd Army is wearing the famous "Eisenhower" jacket,
also called the "Ike" jacket.
Introduced late in 1944,
the jacket was a popular option for both enlisted and officer ranks.
It is named for Supreme
Allied Commander General Dwight D. "Ike" Eisenhower, who
suggested that a short, close-fitting jacket similar to the British
battle dress blouse be added to the official U.S. Army uniform.
Like the British BD
blouse, the Ike jacket featured concealed buttons and an adjustable
waistband for a trim, no-nonsense look.
The style quickly became
so popular that supplies were often low and many who couldn't get the
real thing had their standard 4-pocket coats cut off below the waist to
create makeshift versions.
On his left arm, this
captain wears the "AO" patch
(Army of Occupation) of General George S. "Blood & Guts"
Patton's famous 3rd Army. The crossed muskets on his lapels show
that he is an infantry officer, and he wears the ribbon of the Silver Star
Medal for individual bravery in the face of the enemy, the Soldier's
Medal for heroic non-combat service, and the
Purple Heart Medal, for being wounded under enemy fire in combat.
He also wears above his
service medal ribbons a CIB (Combat Infantryman
Badge) which recognizes that he has participated in battle with an
armed enemy. The two "hash marks" on his left cuff
designate 1 year's overseas service, with each bar counting for six
His unit has been awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation (later
redesignated the Presidential Unit
Citation). The gold-framed ribbon of that award is worn over his
He wears an overseas cap
(sidecap) that had gold and black piping to denote his status as either
a company or field grade officer. As a Captain he is wearing sterling
silver rank insignia.
The slightly greener cast of this
service tunic, and the slightly pink hue of the shirt and tie, caused many
to refer to them as "pinks and greens."
The trousers, not
shown, would have been of the same pinkish beige as the shirt and
The Third Army's job in Europe after World War I helped
to create the design of it's shoulder patch. The patch is a white A on a
round, blue background with a red circle around the A. The meaning of the
patch was originally Army (white A) of Occupation (red O).
Here we see a World War 2-era Marine
Captain in "winter green" uniform.
As shown by the scarlet-and-gold
shoulder ropes and the subdued insignia on his
lapels, this officer is
serving as Aide de Camp to a Major General (2 stars).
He has won three high awards for
heroism -- The Navy
Cross, the Silver
Star, and the Bronze Star with
"V for Valor" device denoting bravery in combat.
The gold star on his Purple Heart
ribbon indicates that he was wounded in action a second time, not
surprising given his impressive a combat record.
He is a career officer, as shown by the
yellow American Defense
medal ribbon, which dates his active duty
to before Pearl Harbor. Also on that particular ribbon is the "W" device that denotes participation in the Marines'
valiant defense of Wake Island. He also earned the "Foreign
Service" clasp to that medal.
You will note the silver parachutists
badge high on his right chest that indicates another of his
His formation patch
bears the Southern Cross and reads
"Guadalcanal" to signify the service of the 1st Marine
Division in that bloody battle in the South West Pacific that lasted
from August 1942 to February 1943. Lunga Point, "Iron Bottom
Sound" and Henderson Field were names soon indelibly burnt into
history. Loss of life, limb, ships and planes was huge on both sides.
Eventually the Japanese completed a stealthy evacuation of their
surviving ground troops in the early hours of 8 February 1943. It was
here that our Captain earned several of his gallantry
This USMC Captain is
holding a USMC "Mameluke"
sword. The right to bear this weapon was won when USMC Lieutenant
Presley Neville O'Bannon and seven enlisted Marines along with a rag tag
'army' of Arabs and Greek mercenaries crossed 600 miles of desert to bring
an end to the rule of the pirates of Tripoli.
He wears his high-collar "dress blues"
uniform. On his cap frame with
officer's gold and scarlet-red chinstrap, he wears a white
His hat and collar display eagle, anchor and globe
("EGA") USMC badges of pure silver and gold overlay. The
eagles on the smaller collar brass face inward per regulations.
He wears Rifle Expert and
Pistol Sharpshooter badges.
He has removed his white gloves, having just come
off duty on the Staff of the Aviation Commander of the aircraft carrier
USS Lexington. He declined to wear the authorized Sam
Browne belt while on sea duty in order to reduce the amount of luggage
in his small, cramped officer's quarters.
As a Marine Aviator he wears Naval
pilot's wings above the top row of his service ribbons -- which includes
the Navy Cross and the
Silver Star with two gold stars
denoting 2nd & 3rd awards. The second row of ribbons displays
the Navy & Marine Corps
Medal, the Bronze Star with "V"
for Valor device, and the Purple
Third row is the Air
Marine Corps Good Conduct medal to show he started an as enlisted man
and was a "Mustang" (took a combat commission), and finally
the American Defense Service Medal with
"W" appurtenance to
show he defended Wake Island against assault by the Imperial Japanese
Naval and Marine Forces in December 1941.
- On special occasions he wears
his full medal rack
rather than just the service ribbons.
The 5th and 6th Marines in World War
One were awarded three French Croix de Guerre Medals, two with a gold
palm and one with a gold star. To represent those medals, he wears
a French fourragere of green and red, the same colours as the service
ribbon of the Croix de Guerre.
The Air Corps was restless as an Army
stepchild from the start. Its members were consigned to wear Army
uniforms, but asserted themselves to the full limit of the regulations
to look different from their land-bound brothers.
One popular motif was to wear a
chocolate brown shirt with their khaki neckties. Some have
speculated that the practice emulated Hollywood's stereotypical gangster
attire, which often featured a dark shirt with light-colored tie.
If true, it would be a fitting and
typically American response to German propaganda broadcasts of the
day, in which Air Corps bomber crews were often referred
to as "American Luftgangsters" (gangsters of the air).
On his left shoulder he wears the Formation
Patch of the famous 8th Army Air Force. He was one of the pilots who
flew both the B17 bombers with the
91st Bomb Group and the
P-51D Mustangs of
the 357th Fighter
Group. His carefree "go get 'em" attitude
was more suited to fighters but he recognised the vital necessity of
destroying the enemy's capability of making war products, the job
undertaken by the bombers.
On his right chest he wears his silver
Army pilot's wings.
American military pilots
took nose art and unit insignia to levels and applications not seen
They proudly emblazoned both their planes and their
leather flying jackets with Squadron and Group emblems, sometimes in
the form of cloth patches, sometimes by applying silk-screened decals,
or sometimes even having the designs hand-painted directly on
for nose art
unit insignia on
this U.S. Army Air Corps pilot's horsehide model A-2 flight jacket
identify him as a member of the 67th Bomber Squadron of the 44th
They served with the 8th Air Force from one of its
many bases in England. He holds in his hand a pair of early gold
wire-rimmed Ray-Ban aviator
sunglasses, a perennial favorite with flyers
since the 1930's.
This U.S. Navy Lieutenant (equivalent to Army rank of Captain) wears a summer service "suntan" uniform.
The black wool rank marks on his shoulders have two gold-lace stripes to denote his rank and an embroidered gold bullion star to show he is a Line Officer.
His collars also display metal rank insignia so that when he works in shirtsleeves as was commonly done in the South Pacific, his rank is still visible.
He wears a medal ribbon for the Navy
Cross, which ranks just after the Medal of Honor.
Next to it is the Navy and Marine Corps Medal ribbon, followed by the ribbon for the
Above his ribbon bar is a gold pair of
Navy pilot's wings to show he is a qualified Naval Aviator, probably assigned to an aircraft carrier like the
USS Lexington which fought at the Battle of Midway.
He has a matching suntan cover on his visored hat frame. "Suntan" is the U.S. Navy's term for what the U.S. Army called khaki, which is different from the British version of same word. His cap badge shows the eagle facing his right; from 1869 to 1941 eagles faced the wearer's left.
perhaps not as well known as the 101st, the 82nd were just as dangerous to
have as an enemy.
Captain is ready to lead his men in Operation Neptune, the night attack
to start proceedings for Operation Overlord, D-Day,
6th June 1944
he is battle-ready he has discarded his normal headwear for an M1-C
paratrooper helmet with special leather chin cup with a first aid kit
attached to the front.
weapon is the M3A1
"grease gun" .45-caliber submachine gun with a 30-round box
magazine and a webbing sling.
grease gun, so-called for its obvious resemblance to the mechanic's
tool of that name, was introduced in 1942 as a less expensive
alternative to the famous Thompson submachine gun.
With an effective range of only 55 yards, the M3 was less popular
than the Thompson among regular infantry,
but its smaller size, lighter weight and better reliability in
battlefield conditions made it ideal for airborne troops as a
close-combat lead sprayer.
Note the 82nd Airborne Division’s "Double
A" shoulder patch. The one he wears grew from the several
variations from WW1. The A's stand for "All American," a nickname
derived from the fact that in World War I the 82nd's troops came from
all 48 States. He wears cloth badges of rank on his shoulder straps, a
variation that later became the norm. On his right shoulder he wears his
an embroidered US Flag, "Old Glory."
Although para trained he was recently
field-posted to the newly formed 325th Glider Infantry Regiment and as a result will later
wear the Airborne Glider
badge on his dress uniform. Although initially disappointed with the
change, he later came to appreciate the courage of men who go into
battle in unprotected 'planes' with no engines and he became very
supportive of and proud of his men. To this day he proudly marches
behind the 82nd Airborne's
flag as a "glider man".
Fewer than half of the gliders
assigned to the U.S. 82d Airborne reached their assigned landing zones.
The rest lodged in hedgerows, struck German obstructions, or floundered
in the swollen marshes.
has already taken part in parachute assaults at Sicily & Salerno in
Italy. Here the Germans called them "Devils in baggy
pants". He is wearing a green compass
pouch on his utility belt. His canteen is also
Some of his men are equipped with the Cushman
Auto Glide motor scooter (Airborne version Model
53) to allow them to act as mobile forward
scouts and fast moving despatch riders. Others were landed with glider
borne Willy's Jeeps.
General Eisenhower credited the Jeep, the Bazooka and the Douglas DC3
"Gooney Bird" as the 3 pieces of equipment that "won the
On June 5-6, 1944, the paratroopers of
the 82nd's three Parachute Infantry Regiments and a reinforced Glider
Infantry Regiment boarded hundreds of transport planes and gliders
began the largest airborne assault in history. At 3:00 AM, the gliders
carrying heavier equipment (jeeps and antitank guns) and reinforcements
began to arrive in the area. The paratroopers who had landed
earlier were able to secure the immediate area for landing, but were
unable to silence the German anti-aircraft sites.
As a result, the tow planes were forced
to climb and release at a higher altitude - making the gliders even more
vulnerable. No one had seemed to take into account the enormous
hedgerows in the countryside and factor this into the glider landings.
As a result, glider casualties were extremely high as they landed.
In addition, the glider troops were, in most cases, also lost when they landed.
The 82nd were among the first
soldiers to fight in Normandy, France. By the time the All-American
Division was pulled back to England, it had seen 33 days of bloody
combat and suffered 5,245 paratroopers killed, wounded or missing.
Division's post battle report read, "...33 days of action without
relief, without replacements. Every mission accomplished. No ground
gained was ever relinquished."
||On 17 September 1944, the 82nd
Airborne Division conducted its fourth combat jump of World War II into
Holland in Operation Market Garden. Fighting off ferocious German
counter-attacks, the 82nd captured its objectives between Grave and
Its success, however, was short-lived because of the defeat of
other Allied units at Arnhem, 'A Bridge Too Far', where the British 1st
Airborne Division was cut to pieces after the plan to
breakthrough to relieve them went terribly wrong.
Suddenly, on December 16, 1944, the
Germans launched a surprise offensive through the Ardennes Forest which
caught the Allies completely by surprise. Two days later the 82nd joined
the fighting and blunted General Von Runstedt's northern penetration of
the American lines in the "Battle of the Bulge".
the 82nd Airborne Division is known as "
's Guard of Honor," a name given them by General George S.
"Blood & Guts" Patton during the Occupation of Berlin. It
is now the largest paratroop unit in the Free World.