By Douglas John Sadler
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Lis wearer had two years of overseas service and displayed the combat infantryman insignia abOl'c his ribbons. His ribbons refer to a Bronze star, the medal for the American Defence Service and for the European-African-Middle Eastern Service. The latter carries a bronze arrow·hcad, a sill'er star and a bronze star. (Rosigno/i Collec/ion) 29. OD service jacket used by a US Army sergeant on demobilisation, arter World War 11. The insignia on this jacket identifies its wearer as a sergeant of the medical corps, who had served overseas for three years in the US Army Forces Pacific Area and was later attached to the 6th Army.
From this beginning in 1862, patches and metal badges proliferated in the Union army, and some designs may still be found in today's US Army. The corps dictated the shape of the emblem, the division within the corps the colour; in World War 11 the 24th Corps still had its heart-shaped patch and the 1st Corps its round patch. World War I witnessed the arrival of shoulder patches for the US forces when the 81st Infantry Division wore a 'wild cat' badge on the left shoulder. This and the other patches that were subsequently adopted in France were unofficial, and it was not until October 1918 that they were officially permitted.
If a man was awarded three, one was displayed above two. Most shields were made of white metal, but the one awarded to troops who had fought in the Crimea and the Kuban in Russia was of bronze. The first shield awarded was for the Narvik campaign in 1940, but others followed, particularly during the desperate actions at the close of the war. A shield was to have been produced for the 6th Army that fought at Stalingrad, but it never materialized. Other shields were struck for the defence of Lorient and the fighting in Warsaw in 1944, but it is likely that, in the pressure of war, the shields never reached the men who had earned them.