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Lt. Bars as Captain Bars

Article about: I recently acquired this named 4th AAF officer's jacket from a seller in CA who indicated it came from the Veteran's estate but I have a couple of questions regarding its originality. The ja

  1. #11


    I also know that particularly towards the end of the war US uniforms were often not exactly by the book. I've heard from others who have seen similar issues with rank insignia but haven't seen pictures to corroborate it.

    Maybe he made Captain shortly before discharge? Or, as you said, he had two sets with his belongings and a family member put them on?

    I will search for something from his records to see what I can find. Ancestry and Fold3 have nothing but I do have his enlistment service number and his officers service number.

  2. #12


    Quote by Walkwolf View Post
    Interesting set of wings - looks like there are both
    sterling and brass fittings.........
    Good catch. I'll take a better look in the light tomorrow.

  3. #13


    It's possible he was promoted just prior to being demobed and either didn't want to pay for the extra rank or was not able to aquire it. His promotion history would certainly help!

  4. #14


    Also as a addition to my last message he may have recieved promotion orders which may not have necessarily had the actual rank accompany it and thus substituted the 1st Lt. bars.

  5. #15


    My thought on this is that when a Gent served his 25+ missions and sent home as time went and now assigned to the 4th AF as MANY were to train the new guy's, he should of had some time in country and would of had at the minimum of an air medal and a EU or PAC campaign metal to reach the rank of Captain. If I (personally )was promoted in country(US) where rank insignia was sold at every PX. I sure would be sporting a brand new pair of railroad tracks as a sign of pride. Maybe if this had a CBI patch I could see it. But why would a promoted Captain use his old LT bar to show his rank while state side. I'm not saying it could not have been done, But If somebody had an LT uniform and wanted to give it "THAT LOOK" and taken the rank insignia from say a shirt and added it to the blouse to make him a Captain would not be far fetched in my mind and I would second guess it.

    My question is are the Captain(X2 Lt's) bars placed in the regulation time frame position on the shoulder boards with no trace of former pin holes? They look a little off to me.
    Just my 2 centavos on this subject
    Semper Fi

  6. #16


    Remember too, that officer's were hugely Proud of their bars. And especially so a Pilot. Pilot's were ranked just about in the same class as God. Just ask anyone that's ever served on an aircraft carrier. If you're not an officer or another Pilot, you were invisible. To envision a Pilot Captain sitting in the Pilot's Mess with all his comrades and buddies wearing home-made insignia is impossible. They would have snickered at him unmercifully. Not to mention his getting ragged on by the Major or Colonel for it.

    The lack of ribbon bars, as Steve pointed out and the haphazard crooked way that the Pilot Wings and the bars are affixed are no way that they would have been worn. Even if he had been promoted and discharged on the same day, he still would have picked up a complete set of Captain bars-for his tunic epaulettes, cap, shirt, etc. Officers received very decent pay and a Pilot even more so. A dollar or 2 out of their pocket for a handful of insignia would have meant nothing to them. He would have worn his brand new shiny Sterling Silver Captain's bars home to show the World and the folks back home.
    Someone who did not know the military had this tunic and a handful of insignia bits and put them on it to his best guess. It's a lucky thing that the shoulder patch was too firmly sewn in place or else it too, would have likely have been removed. In any case, it's a nice tunic and certainly one with an interesting history to it! I would probably do some more in depth researching on the man and restore it to how it must have looked when he wore it!

    "Much that once was, is lost. For none now live who remember it."

  7. #17


    I wouldn't be surprised if the insignia had been removed and replaced at some point. Some of it is right on and others "close."

    The SSI appears right on and that is quite often off on both officers and EM jackets. The rank and collar insignia is close. I've often seen collar insignia turned in rather than straight with messed with uniforms. The rank insignia is pretty close as captains bars - although obviously not correct insignia. The other pictures were a little worse because I detached one side for pictures. I did not remove any insignia though.

    I really do appreciate all comments. I don't take anything personally and appreciate the opportunity to learn.

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  8. #18


    I agree with William - this is indeed a very nice jacket !
    As a guy who collects AAF stuff, I have yet to buy
    an Officers tunic.

    The two nicest jackets I've seen up here - complete
    with all insignia, Sam Browne belts and cross
    straps - were $500, and that was about
    fifteen years ago or so.

    One thing I've noticed though, is that most insigna
    were a plain or generic type. Few could afford
    top-of-the-line Blackinton or Luxenberg.........


  9. #19


    Did you call the historical society and ask about the jacket .

  10. #20


    Quote by RH1941 View Post
    Did you call the historical society and ask about the jacket .
    Good call. I'll give them a shot. Perhaps they know of the jacket or of Mr. Duvall.

    Buy the item and not the story but, the seller did indicate it came from the estate and she lives about 30 minutes from Los Alamitos.

    I might also reach out to NARA or Golden Arrow to try and track down some of his files. I've not used either yet but am legitimately interested in finding out more about Mr. Duvall.

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