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Need Help with Suspicious Ribbon Rack..

Article about: Hello everyone! I recently purchased a small uniform grouping, and I am now having some doubts regarding the awards on the uniform. On the dress uniform, there is no CIB, but as you can see

  1. #1

    Default Need Help with Suspicious Ribbon Rack..

    Hello everyone!

    I recently purchased a small uniform grouping, and I am now having some doubts regarding the awards on the uniform. On the dress uniform, there is no CIB, but as you can see on the field shirt, there is one. There is another identical field shirt that came with the group that also has a CIB sewn onto it. When I went to further investigate the ribbons, I see a clear rectangular outline, which concerns me. Due to my schedule I have not been able to do any research on this one, but for the time being I would love to get everyone's opinion... do we think these ribbons are original or not?

    Thank you very much!

    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Need Help with Suspicious Ribbon Rack..   Need Help with Suspicious Ribbon Rack..  

    Need Help with Suspicious Ribbon Rack..   Need Help with Suspicious Ribbon Rack..  

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  3. #2


    I would be very grateful if anyone could provide some input on this one!

  4. #3



    It would appear that an embroidered ribbon rack was at one time sewed to the uniform and perhaps removed when the individual received more awards.

    There are numerous reasons that the Combat Infantryman's badge could be missing and each is just pure speculation.. It was kept by the family, it was lost, it was not worn.. So the possibilities are endless in that aspect.

    The ribbon bar does raise some questions but not at all impossible. The first two ribbons on the bottom row are from the National Guard. Off the top of my head I can't recall what state but this indicates that possibly this Officer was in the Guard at one time or was on Active duty and reverted back to the National Guard. The last ribbon on the bottom row is Armed Forces Reserve which can be worn by either Army National Guard or Army Reserve. (The only real way to determine if this person was Reserve or Guard was to see the back of his medal for this ribbon). The Army Reserve and National Guard have two different images on the back of this particular medal.

    Next row, your basic WW2 service with the American Campaign ribbon, the European African Middle Eastern Campaign with 2 campaign stars and finally the Army of Occupation ribbon which indicates occupation in either Germany or Japan post WW2.

    3rd row, National Defense, awarded in the 50's so he had service post WW2, the WW2 Victory ribbon and finally the Army Good Conduct ribbon. (This one is a little odd as it was only awarded to enlisted personnel of the Active Army. The reserve and national guard have a separate ribbon for their enlisted personnel for years of good conduct/honorable service. This ribbon again raises some red flags or questions as officers, regardless of regular Army or National Guard and Reserves were not awarded good conduct medals. Could this person have been enlisted in WW2 which would have meant service for at least 3 years to be eligible for the Good Conduct ribbon and they received a battlefield commission? It is pure speculation but not unheard of and hence the reason it is on this officers uniform.. One speculation or theory out of many...

    Then we come to the top row, the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.. quite possible this person was awarded both for actions in WW2 as I see no other campaign medals for Korea, ect..

    I would like to see the other patch on the field uniform, as this may lead to some more clues in regards to the combat unit the person was with in WW2. The color patch on the dress uniform and the subdued patch on the field uniform are for TRADOC which is the US Army's Training and Doctrine Command which would indicate that this officer was assigned to a school setting at one point. Since the branch insignia is Armor I would speculate that the officer was assigned to the Armor School at Ft Knox.

    The ribbon bar looks to have the green spacers between the rows of ribbons making this ribbon rack complete and not individual ribbons attached? What are the 3 clutch backs on the inside of the uniform attached to, the ribbon bar itself?

    I have not started to look into the name, only that he is not listed in my US Army Register, (But that only lists Active Component Officers)..

    It is a head scratcher for sure but not impossible to be an untouched uniform..

    Best regards, stay safe


  5. #4


    Wow! Thank you for this explanation, super useful information for future collecting! I will provide some more photos of the other uniform's patches as well as check out the back of the ribbon rack later today when I get home. I really appreciate the help!

  6. #5



    The two bottom ribbons are from the State of Indiana. The first one (multicolored ribbon) is the Indiana Long Service Medal and the blue and yellow ribbon is the Indiana Commendation Medal.

    With that said, your research trail could now start in Indiana..

    Best regards


  7. #6


    The other patch is 5th Infantry Division, so that would be accurate with the European theater ribbon.. as for the clutch backs they are indeed a part of the ribbon rack!
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Need Help with Suspicious Ribbon Rack..  

  8. #7



    Thank you for the update.. So now you have two possible research routes, the 5th Infantry Division and the State of Indiana.

    You may be able to locate a 5th Infantry Division unit history that contains rosters of the men assigned to each unit. The books are out there but as with anything they may not contain the names or the listings may be incomplete, but as I like to say,, "leave no stone unturned"... and you may get lucky.

    Also the State of Indiana lead may work out as well. You will have to try to see if the state military archives are available and see if they have Officer Registers and other information about the Officer. The last name is not too common so it may not be as challenging as if the last name were more common like Smith or Jones,,,

    I'm not too sure but I may have a 5th Infantry Division Unit History, but as I have several thousand unit histories and unit books it may take me a great deal of time to find the book as it is most likely at my storage facility and I am not sure what container it may be... But IF I have some time and I am looking for something unrelated and I come across the 5th ID book I will pull it and see if the name appears anywhere..

    I did a very basic search on Ancestry and there are about 29,000 Kohlman's listed. I did not put any specifics into the search function, so there is another route to take the research... In the military section there are about 1,400 pages to go through,, so this would have to be better refined and narrowed down with more information, like first name, ect...

    An interesting uniform that certainly merits further research...

    Best regards, stay safe


  9. #8


    Smitty, thank you so much for all of your help! Please do not feel the need to go on a treasure hunt to find the 5 ID unit history! When I have the time, I will look more into this mystery and I will post the findings here.


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