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Patch Placement on WWII Ike Jacket

Discussion in 'Uniforms, Medals, and More' started by vetsson, Oct 30, 2015.

  1. vetsson

    vetsson New Member


    Here's a somewhat obscure situation that I'm hoping someone may have insight about...

    I am finalizing the restoration of an original theater-worn WWII USAAF Ike Jacket of a family member. Unfortunately, the jacket was stripped of some of the ribbon bars and patches. Using discharge records and other documents, I've been able to identify the appropriate ribbon bars, badges and patches. But, I am confused a bit on the proper placement of two of the patches... Meritorious Unit Commendation (MUC) and AAF Engineering Specialist. Here's what I've been able to find out so far:

    1. It seems that the MUC and Specialist patches are supposed to be placed in the same location... "on the right sleeve 4 inches above the cuff". However, I'm not sure if the "4 inches above the cuff" refers to placement on an Ike Jacket or Class A Tunic. The Ike Jacket has a true cuff which is about 3 inches wide. The Tunic doesn't have a true cuff. So, I don't know if the patch on the Ike Jacket should be 4 inches above the true cuff which would actually place it 7 inches above the end of the sleeve, or, place it 4 inches above the end of the sleeve which would land about 1 inch above the top edge of the true cuff.
    2. I've received advice that indicates that the Engineering Specialist Patch should be placed above the MUC on the sleeve. From what little I know about the "Order of Precedence" rules, that seems a little counter-intuitive. I'd think that the MUC is more important than the Specialist patch and therefore should be on top.
    3. What adds to the confusion is that I've probably looked two dozen pictures of WWII uniforms with MUC and/or Specialist patches. And, I've seen lots of inconsistency in patch placement.

    I know that this is way down in the weeds, but I'd like to try and get it right for my relative. Your help is much appreciated.

  2. pathfinder504

    pathfinder504 Active Member

    It seems to me that this falls into the realm of the Pigeon and the Dove.

    "Every Dove is a Pigeon---but not every Pigeon is a Dove."

    So....While anybody could be an Engineering Specialist, not every E/S would be in a unit that earned a MUC.

    So to me they are two different categories of insignia. I would place the E/S insignia according to regulations and then plane the MUC above it. Presuming his unit earned the MUC after a significant amount of time during which he was an E/S in that unit.
  3. vetsson

    vetsson New Member

    Thanks for your insight. I pretty certain he was an E/S before the MUC.

    Any thoughts about placemement on the Ike Jacket sleeve... 4 inches from bottom edge of the sleeve?
  4. Geoff Liebrandt

    Geoff Liebrandt New Member

    Hi Pathfinder. I have an Ike jacket in my collection that can answer your question. My jacket belonged to the father of a friend of mine, Tech Sergeant Dwight Huff, an aircraft maintenance crew chief with the Ninth Air Force. He placed his Engineering Specialist insignia approximately 4 inches above the bottom cuff edge of his Ike, and then added a MUC a half inch above the specialist patch. I've uploaded a photo of the two insignia on the sleeve of his Ike.

    Attached Files:

  5. Geoff Liebrandt

    Geoff Liebrandt New Member

    Whoops, just realized that the original question was posed by Dale (Vetsson). Hope this helps, Dale
  6. vetsson

    vetsson New Member

    Hi Geoff.

    Great feedback and really appreciate the photo. Your example has confirmed what I'm planing.

    The Ike Jacket I'm restoring is my father's. He was an 8th Air Force ground crew mechanic (B-17s). Four years in the USAAF with two in England. I have researched many sources, asked many questions and looked at many pictures of WWII uniforms with these patches. What I've concluded is that for the Ike Jacket the "technically correct" placement would be to locate the lower patch 4 inches above the bottom edge of the cuff (as in your photo). Technically, I think that the MUC should be placed below the Specialist patch. But, was has become abundantly clear from my amateur research is that there was a lot of inconsistency in placement. And in reality, the Specialist patch would have almost certainly been earned and sewn on the uniform before the MUC was awarded. It seems unlikely that a soldier would then bother to remove the Specialist patch and then sew it back on above MUC; after the MUC was awarded. While perhaps not "technically correct", I believe it is a honest depiction of what could have likely happened in the field. In any case, I think you'd find plenty of examples of the patch placement in either order.

    Thanks again. Your example helps convince me to move ahead and stop fretting about what may or may not have been "technically correct".

  7. Geoff Liebrandt

    Geoff Liebrandt New Member

    Dale, I agree with your reasoning. It wasn't practical for guys with limited sewing skills (in most instances), to remove a patch and move it around without good cause. It makes more sense that they applied the later MUC above the already sewn on specialist patch. And I have at least two WW2 Army Air Corps uniforms that confirm this. Glad to help! I'd enjoy seeing a photo of your father's restored jacket when you're finished.

  8. vetsson

    vetsson New Member

    I'll absolutely pass along a pic when I've completed the restoration. I plan to have it mounted in a display.
  9. vetsson

    vetsson New Member

    By the way... The MUC in the picture you sent is very interesting. Looks to be bullion or theater made. I've had to settle for a currently available version for my father's Ike Jacket. Unfortunately, as kids my brother and I removed most of the original service ribbons and some of patches when we played with it.
  10. Geoff Liebrandt

    Geoff Liebrandt New Member

    Hi Dale, you're right. I usually see theater made bullion MUC's on officer's tunics, but seldom on NCO or enlisted tunics. I actually own two of Mr Huff's tunics, his four pocket uniform jacket and his Ike. He placed bullion MUCs on both jackets. My guess is that his unit had a cheap, local source for these bullion pieces when the unit was awarded the citation and opted for those rather than the dull-looking Army issue patch. Either that, or he won some money in a craps or poker game and decided to blow some of his winnings on two non-regulation bullion insignia!
  11. vetsson

    vetsson New Member


    As requested, I've attached a pic of my Father's WWII theater-worn Ike Jacket. I just finished attaching the AAF Specialist & MUC patches we've been discussing. The jacket will be mounted in a display case.

    I'll point out two "non-regulation" attachments to the uniform that were among the artifacts from my Father's time in the USAAF. On the left lapel is a small pin featuring the so-called Hap Arnold wings. Apparently, this pin was given to recognize USAAF personnel who served "Honorably and Well" in WWII. On the right breast pocket is a "Bundles for Britain" pin. "Bundles for Britain" was a U.S. based charity that provided aid to both U.S. soldiers and British citizens during the war. I have a picture of my Father standing in front of a Nissen hut that has a "Bundles for Britain" sign hanging above the door. I'm not entirely sure what his relationship with this charity might have been, but the pin conveniently covers a small repair on the breast pocket flap. I know these two attachments could not have been officially worn on the uniform, but I want to keep all of these artifacts together and in-tact.


    Attached Files:

  12. Geoff Liebrandt

    Geoff Liebrandt New Member

    Dale, that looks really nice. You did a great job. A very nice way to honor your father. You might add an explanation note about the two "unofficial" pins inside your display, or even glued or taped to the back as another option. Someday in the future someone may ask what those two pins were for, and why they are on the jacket. Your explanation will mean a lot, and help others understand the ties between those unusual pins and your father's service. Please post another pic when you have it mounted in the case!
  13. vetsson

    vetsson New Member

    Thanks. I've documented all of the the patches, ribbon bars, badges, insignia, etc. on the uniform; including what they mean, their "order of precedence" and why/when my Father would have earned them. The shoulder patches (8th Air Force & USSTAF), rank, hash mark, overseas service bars and a few of the service ribbons are original to the jacket, but all are period-correct and authentic. I have my Father's honorable discharge and U.S. Archives documents which provide the validation. And, I've also included a description of the two "unofficial" pins and how they relate to my Father. The garrison cap w/ AAF piping and Sustineo Alas (Keep 'em Flying) pin are my Father's. The OD dress cap, wool shirt and khaki tie are period and authentic, but did not belong to my Father. I've been working on the restoration of this Ike Jacket for almost a year. I've tried to make sure that the Ike Jacket is presented in an honest and authentic way while also preserving a few of the unique aspects of my Father's WWII service. The placement of the AAF Specialist and MUC patches were the last pieces of the puzzle.

    p.s. I'm not sure if you can see it in the pic that I sent, but the overseas service bars and the 8th Air Force felt shoulder patch were theater made in England and are somewhat unusual.
    P-51 LVR likes this.

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