These Union uniforms, worn here by soldiers in the western theater of operations at the midpoint of the Civil War, illustrate the continuing trend toward simplicity of style and subdued, if not drab colors, which first came into widespread use in the Army during the War of 1812.+ Click here to expand
These veterans are garbed in the regulation blue, which offered protective coloring and concealment, and less likelihood of the wearer's becoming an obvious target of the long-range small arms and more efficient artillery of the Confederate Army.
In the left foreground is a first lieutenant of the Corps of Engineers in the dark blue frock coat and trousers, with a gold cord down the side adopted in 1861. He is identifiable by his shoulder straps, officer's red sash and sword, and the forage cap badge of an engineer officer-a silver turreted castle within a gold wreath. His rank is indicated by the single gold bar on his shoulder strap; a second lieutenant at this time wore an officer's uniform with gold bordered, but unadorned, shoulder straps.
The first sergeant of infantry in the right foreground is identified as such by his dark blue sack coat and his light blue chevrons, noncommissioned officer's sword and red sash. He is wearing the light blue trousers adopted after the outbreak of hostilities for regimental officers and men. The red acorn corps badge on the sergeant's fatigue cap shows that he is a member of the 1st Division, Fourteenth U.S. Army Corps.
In the background, soldiers of the sergeant's regiment and of an artillery unit are crossing a ponton-or pontoon in 19th century usage-bridge, which was probably erected under the lieutenant's direction.
This image of represents two of the three traditional combat arms and the engineers of the traditional direct combat support arm, also illustrates the beginnings in the concept of a co-ordinated combat team.- Click here to close
The U.S. Army, which emerged from the Civil War to take the lead in taming the last frontiers of the continental United States, soon became again the frontier Army of the era before the Civil War. The victorious Union Army in 1865 was one of the world's strongest and most modern, but as the Civil War had radically changed the "old Army," now postwar Indian combat and exploration changed the wartime Army.+ Click here to expand
The trend toward a distinctive uniform for the field and another for dress or ceremonial occasions continued. The dress uniform adopted by the Army in 1872 attempted to achieve in appearance the elegance of those of the leading European armies of the day. Typical of this era were those worn on duty in New Mexico about 1880.
A sergeant of the Signal Corps is in the left foreground. He is wearing a dark blue, form fitting "Basque" coat with the shorter skirts prescribed for mounted troops. Both his coat and his light blue trousers are trimmed in orange, the branch color of the Signal Corps. The chevrons designating his rank and the diagonal service stripes on his lower sleeve are also orange. On his collar and sleeves he wears crossed signal flags, the insignia of the Signal Corps since its formation in 1861; those on the collar are in gilt, those on the sleeves in red and white embroidery. His cavalry-style black felt helmet, with its orange plume and orange cords, is one of the distinctive features of the Army dress of the period. Adopted in 1872 from the British Army, the helmet was originally only intended for U.S. mounted troops. Its use was later extended to all of the Army and, in the modified form adopted in 1881, was worn until after the turn of the century.
In the center foreground is a captain of the 9th Cavalry in the plain, dark blue coat and light blue trousers worn by all officers. His arm of service is indicated by the yellow plume and gold cords and tassels on his helmet, his gold shoulder knots,and the white gauntlets and black boots of the mounted soldier. His saddlecloth is dark blue with a gold border.
In the background are troopers of the 9th Cavalry in dark blue coats trimmed with yellow, light blue trousers, and black leather belts and carbine slings. The guidon bearer carries the stars and stripes swallow-tailed guidon adopted after the outbreak of the Civil War to replace the red and white cavalry flag then in use.- Click here to close
This field hospital in Cuba shows the last use of the blue Army field uniform in a major U.S. war. The trend toward neutral colors had led to the adoption of a khaki tropical service uniform in 1898, but few of the troops who reached Cuba were issued it.+ Click here to expand
Instead of the new pattern tropical service uniform, most of the expeditionary force wore one or another version of the blue field uniform and the campaign hat adopted in the 1880's.
In the center foreground, a Medical Department major is wearing the dark blue officer's undress coat trimmed with black mohair braid introduced in 1895, dark blue breeches, black boots, and drab campaign hat. His branch is shown by the gilt modified Cross of St. John on his collar and the Red Cross brassard on his arm, while the gold embroidered oak leaves on his shoulder straps indicate his rank.
The field artillery private in the right foreground is wearing the enlisted man's uniform, which was typical for the Regular Army in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines during the Spanish-American War. This was a dark blue wool shirt, light blue wool trousers, brown canvas leggings, and drab campaign hat. His blanket wrapped in a shelter half is slung over his shoulder and around his waist he wears a dark blue web loop cartridge belt from which hang his canvas haversack and the knife bayonet for his Krag rifle.
Both the Medical Department officer and the artillery private are wearing the enameled red, white, and blue five-bastion fort badge of Headquarters, Fifth Army Corps, on their hats. This was an extension of the concept of the unit identification system introduced during the Civil War and was the forerunner of the present day shoulder sleeve insignia.
In the left background are company litter bearers identified by a red arm band, and Medical Department personnel identified by the Red Cross brassard. In the center and right background is a field hospital.- Click here to close
The United States entered the Spanish-American War still provincial in thought and policies; it emerged a world power with overseas possessions in the Caribbean and Pacific Ocean areas.+ Click here to expand
Representative of the reforms in dress since 1898 are these infantrymen in the Philippine Islands in 1903. Their uniform is the khaki tropical service dress with bronze buttons first adopted in 1898. Utility and suitability for field service were the keynote for this dress, simple in cut and with a minimum of ornamentation. The Grab campaign hat, distinctively American, became the official head covering and was the most liked by the soldier.
In the left foreground is a first lieutenant with the gold hat cord and bronze coat of arms of the United States on his standing collar, both worn by all officers of the Army. On his coat he wears the silver shoulder bar of his rank and on his collar bronze crossed rifles indicate his arm, the infantry. The lieutenant's breeches are laced from the calf nearly to the knee and are close fitting to go under his russet leather leggings. His waistbelt, of the same color of leather, supports his .38-caliber holstered service revolver and his sabre.
The sergeant in the right foreground is in the same uniform as the lieutenant. He has an infantry blue cord on his hat and infantry blue chevrons on the sleeves of his coat despite the adoption of white as the infantry color in late 1902. Troops in or returning from the Philippines were permitted to continue using items in the old infantry blue until they were worn out and stocks were exhausted. On the sergeant's hat can be seen the numeral and letter identifying his unit and on his collar the crossed rifles and the block letters U.S., all in bronze. In the place of the lieutenant's leather leggings he wears khaki, canvas ones, and his belt is the blue-grey looped cartridge belt used with the .30-caliber Krag rifle.
The privates in the background are wearing the most frequently seen version of the khaki uniform without the coat-dark navy blue wool shirt, which was a holdover from pretropical service days. The soldier on the left is ready for field service with his blanket roll, covered by the khaki shelter half, slung over his shoulder. The soldier on the right, a sentry, carries only his rifle and wears the cartridge belt.- Click here to close
The standard field uniform of both officers and enlisted men of the American Expeditionary Forces—the AEF—in France was the wool olive drab uniform introduced into the Army during the first decade of the 20th century. The vast amounts of this material required in World War I led to the color being anything between mustard green and brown. Another item of equipment widely used in the AEF was the British "basin" pattern steel helmet painted a drab color.+ Click here to expand
In the front center is a lieutenant colonel of artillery with the silver leaf of his rank on his shoulder strap, and the bronzed crossed cannon of artillery and the block-style letters U.S. on the high standing collar. The color of his uniform and the distinctly British cut of his blouse are a sign that it was tailored in England or France-a common practice among the officers under General Pershing's command. Two other distinctive features of his officer's rank are the brown braid on his sleeve and his brown leather Sam Browne belt, adopted by the officers of the AEF from the British and retained in the post-World War I Army. He wears a drab web pistol belt with two magazines of ammunition for the .45-caliber automatic in its brown leather holster, while his drab canvas gas mask pouch, supported by a web belt, hangs over his right shoulder. The colonel also wears the high, brown boots prescribed for officers, a pattern much favored by the mounted men of that period.
The machine gun company first sergeant in the left foreground wears an issue olive drab uniform with the wrap-around "putters" adopted by the AEF during the war when production difficulties slowed procurement of the canvas leggings formerly worn. His grade is indicated by the three stripes and diamond on his sleeve, the chevrons now pointed toward his shoulder rather than toward his hand as in previous times. His branch of service is shown on the round, bronze collar device, and his unit is made known by the ivy leaf insignia of the AEF's 4th Division painted on his helmet. His drab canvas gas mask pouch is slung around his neck and his drab web cartridge belt is supported by suspenders of the same material.
In the background is a French 75-mm. field gun, part of the officer's command, with its artillery field telephone crew representative of the Army's artillery-machine gun-infantry close support team that ended the stalemate of the European battlefields of World War I.- Click here to close
In the center foreground of this scene at the U.S. Military Academy are shown a brigadier general, his aide, a captain of field artillery, and a bugler of the 10th Cavalry. The general and his aide are in the dark blue mess jacket, three yellow buttons on each side, authorized in 1938. With the mess jacket they wear white vests and shirts, black silk bow ties, gold shoulder knots, blue dress caps, and black shoes.+ Click here to expand
The general's mess jacket has dark blue silk lapels, blue-black velvet cuffs with a band of embroidered oak leaves on them, and a silver star to designate his rank on each sleeve. He has two stripes of gold lace down the seam of his dark blue trousers. His dress cap has gold oak leaves on the blueblack velvet band and on the visor, gold colored strap and buttons, and a gold colored coat of arms on the front. The aide's mess jacket and his cap band show the color of the artillery-scarlet-and on his lapels he wears the distinctive insignia of his regular regimental assignment, the 12th Field Artillery. His cap has a plain black visor and his trousers are light blue. The corporal bugler is a member of the squadron of the 10th Cavalry stationed at West Point. His uniform is the olive drab woolen service dress with the service cap of the same color. The corporal's coat has gilt buttons; he wears the gilt US., gilt branch insignia, and the black and yellow buffalo badge of his regiment on the lapels. His grade is indicated by two olive drab chevrons outlined in black on his sleeves. He has on russet leather waistbelt and buckle and laced boots of the same color. The trumpet is ornamented with a yellow and black tabard bearing the regimental badge.
In the left background are two Army nurses: one is in hospital dress of garrison cap and cape worn over the white nurses' uniform with brown buttons, and white stockings and oxfords; the other is in service dress of dark blue garrison cap, dark blue coat with gilt buttons and a stripe of light blue braid on the cuffs, medium blue skirt, and white shoes and stockings. Both wear the gilt caduceus with a superimposed "N." their branch insignia, and the gold block U.S., the mark of an officer.
In the right background are cadets of the Military Academy in their distinctive grey uniforms trimmed with black and yellow buttons, and gold lace insignia of cadet officers' rank.- Click here to close
Men of the 5th Infantry and 4th Armored Division, who fought as teammates in Lt. Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.'s Third Army, show the combat uniform worn in the European theater in early 1945. The continued trend toward protective coloration and simplicity of style can be seen in these uniforms. All are olive green, varying only in the design of the individual pieces of apparel, which were adapted to the differing needs of the various branches of the service.+ Click here to expand
In the center foreground and right background are two infantrymen, a major and his radioman. They are wearing wool trousers, the latest style cotton cloth field jacket, wool scarves, and leather gloves, but they are still using the old natural leather field shoe with the buckle top added. The covers worn over their steel helmets show adaption for varying combat conditions -dark for field and forest activities and white for winter conditions. The major's rank is indicated by the gold oak leaves on his shoulder straps and the oak leaf painted on his helmet cover. The radioman's grade, private first class, is shown by the single chevrons on his sleeves. Both men wear the divisional shoulder sleeve insignia, the Red Diamond. The major is armed with a .30-caliber M1 carbine in addition to the .45-caliber automatic pistol prescribed for his rank and duty, while his radioman is armed with a .30-caliber M1 rifle, the basic infantry weapon of World War II. The radioman wears his drab canvas musette bag slung over his right shoulder, and the major carries his brown leather map case in his right hand.
In the left background is a Sherman medium tank with a 76-mm. gun and members of its crew. The tankers all wear the hard composition helmet prescribed for armored troops. The tank guard wears a field jacket of suiting lined with wool and with knitted cuffs, collar, and waistband over his tanker overalls and he also wears the new all laced combat boot. His
technician 5th grade classification is shown by the two olive green chevrons with a "T" underneath on a black background on each sleeve. On his right shoulder is the red, yellow, and blue triangular shoulder sleeve insignia, common to all armored divisions, with the numeral 4 in black on it denoting the 4th Armored Division. The tank guard is armed with a .45-caliber Thompson submachine gun, a vehicular weapon intended for use in just the fashion illustrated.- Click here to close
North Korean armed aggression against South Korea in June 1950 brought swift denunciation by the United Nations Organization. At the behest of the U.N. Security Council, the United States was asked to form a unified command for the various national contingents entering the conflict. The United States complied in late July, and President Truman appointed General MacArthur to lead the command.+ Click here to expand
To supply the United States troops and their U.N. allies, Japan became one giant base dedicated to support of operations in Korea "the land of the morning calm." This scene at a logistical base in Japan shows the kinds of uniforms worn there.
In the left foreground is a first lieutenant of artillery from the 25th Infantry Division. He is wearing the light tan tropical worsted summer service uniform. His cap has a russet leather visor and band, gilt buttons, and the gilt United States coat of arms first adopted around the turn of the century. His roll collar, four-pocket coat has gilt buttons, a band of braid on the top of the cuff, and the letters U.S. on the roll collar. His rank is indicated by the silver bars on the shoulder straps and his branch of service by the crossed, gilt cannons on the lapels. On the left shoulder he has the red and yellow tropic lightning and tare leaf sleeve insignia of the 25th Infantry Division. Light tan trousers and russet leather shoes complete his uniform.
In the right foreground is a Medical Service private. He is an aidman assigned to a nonmedical unit to give immediate medical assistance. He is in the fatigue or field uniform of the period, in which grayish green and a faded tan are the predominant colors. He wears a steel helmet, a loose, open collar, grayish green cotton twill jacket with plain buttons, grayish green twill trousers, and brown leather laced boots. He carries an individual medical packet and a medical supply haversack on his drab web cartridge belt. Around his right arm he has the Geneva Convention red cross armband and on his right jacket sleeve the shoulder insignia of the Japan Logistical Command, one of the major support elements for the Korean operations.
In the background, Signal Corps linesmen are at work in fatigue uniforms and the loose, floppy fatigue cap. The sergeant is wearing a sleeve chevron on the front of his cap to designate his grade, strictly nonregulation, but practical.- Click here to close
The armistice in Korea in July 1953 brought no real peace to a troubled world. With the conviction that both limited and nuclear war were possible, the Army's leaders undertook the challenging task of revamping the Army's structure and doctrine to enable it to fulfill its mission in the atomic age. Within the limits of the resources allotted to it, the Army in the years following Korea developed new concepts, new weapons, and new tactical formations.+ Click here to expand
The dress of the soldier also underwent experimental change during this time, but each successive revision seemed to fall short of what was desired. New dress uniforms, carrying on the Army's traditional blue, were adopted in the early 1950's and a new green service uniform came into use at the end of that decade. These two uniforms, the blue dress and the green service are shown here.
In the left foreground is a master sergeant of the 1st Armored Division in the green service uniform. His single-breasted coat has a roll collar and gilt buttons. On his collar he wears the round gilt branch insignia, on both sleeves the golden yellow chevrons of his grade, and on his left arm the 1st Armored Division shoulder sleeve insignia. The sergeant's green service cap has a round gilt national coat of arms in the front and gilt buttons on the black leather strap. This color of leather-black-also seen in the cap visor and the sergeant's shoes, is a change from the russet leather worn in the Army from the Spanish-American War to this time.
In the right foreground stands a major of the Transportation Corps in the Army blue dress uniform. His dark blue, single-breasted coat has gilt buttons and the letters U.S. in gilt on the collar. His branch is indicated by the gilt insignia of a ship's steering wheel and a winged car wheel on a rail on his lapels, as well as by the brick red branch color shown on the stripe of the sleeve of his coat, on the cap band, and on the background of his shoulder straps, all of which are bordered with gold. His rank is shown by the gold oak leaves on his shoulder straps and the gold embroidery on the black visor of his dark blue cap. He wears the light blue trousers with a gold lace stripe down the side worn by officers. On the front of his cap is the gold colored coat of arms of the United States; the strap and buttons are also gold.
In the background are enlisted men in green fatigue uniforms.- Click here to close
Among the new types of troops added to the Army's order of battle as a result of World War II experience, none was to assume a more important role than the airborne soldier. Chosen as the core around which the United States would construct the ready response forces during the Cold War period, an ever-increasing number of soldiers were "airborne qualified," and airborne units were maintained in a higher state of readiness than most other forces.+ Click here to expand
In the background are a U.S. Air Force C-135 transport aircraft and open parachutes. The presence of only two colors of parachutes serves to point up a change from World War II practices. Whereas in World War II a variety of parachute colors were used to identify personnel and the various major classes of supplies being furnished, the 1963 practice called for the colors to be used to identify the various organizations employed in a given operation.
In the right and left foreground are a first lieutenant and a private, first class, and in the left background is a first sergeant, all of the 82d Airborne Division on maneuvers about 1963. They are dressed in the olive green field uniforms introduced during the 1950's and are carrying the M14 rifle. Note the compactness of their dark green equipment, the large ammunition pouches made necessary by the high rate of fire of the M14, the location of various items-especially the gas mask-and the arrangement of the torso and thigh web straps so as to most efficiently secure the variety of personal equipment they must carry. Three features mark the men as airborne soldiers: the paratroopers boots, the special chinstrap harness worn with the helmet, and the red, white, and blue "AA" insignia-worn by the 82d Division in World War I-with the "airborne" tab, added during World War II. The sergeant's gold chevrons show the form of the insignia for this grade in 1963.
In the right background is a Women's Army Corps (WAC) officer passing by in her Army blue dress uniform trimmed in gold. The green background on her shoulder straps and the green stripe on her sleeve indicate her branch.
This painting illustrates the modern concept of uniforms-a simple, functional field uniform of subdued color and a dress uniform attractive in style and color.- Click here to close