Prior to enactment of the National Security Act of 26 July 1947 which authorized the United States Air Force, Mr. Arthur E. DuBois of the Army Quartermaster General's office designed flags and seals for the three services. In September 1947 the proposed Air Force seal was exhibited in the office of the new Secretary of the Air Force, and later a panel of about thirty top-ranking Air Force officers reviewed it. The design had a green background and featured the Wright Brothers' airplane as the central point. The panel recommended that the background be blue and that a symbolic design replace the airplane. Mr. DuBois sketched Jupiter's thunderbolt, and it was adopted. The final drawing was approved by President Truman on 1 November 1947.
The predominant colors, gold and ultramarine blue, are the Air Force's colors as carried down from the Air Corps.
The thirteen stars signify the original states
The bald eagle is the symbol of the United States and of air striking power.
The shield is divided by a nebula line formation, representing clouds
The heraldic thunderbolt portrays striking power in the medium of air.
The seal is protected by law from use by any party for purposes not specifically authorized by the Air Force. Unauthorized uses include on souvenir or novelty items; on toys, clothes, or printed items; on commercial or private printed matter; and on any article that may discredit the seal or reflect unfavorably on the Department of the Air Force.
Background: Prior to the establishment of the Department of the Army Emblem, there was no official display item to identify the Army. The Army seal had traditionally been used to authenticate documents only and was not authorized for display. In recognizing the need to provide a display item, The Secretary of the Army approved the emblem design as the official emblem to represent the Army on 29 January 1974.
Description: The Army emblem is derived from the Army seal and differs from the seal in several respects:
a. The emblem is displayed in color while the seal is not.
b. The emblem includes the inscription "Department of the Army" instead of the seal inscription "War Office".
c. On the emblem, the American flag is on its own right (observers left) to reflect the current custom for display of flags. The Army flag pattern has been added to the other flag.
d. The Roman numerals "MDCCLXXVIII" which indicate the date the Army seal was adopted, were replaced with the date "1775" to reflect the date the Army was established.
Symbolism: The symbolism for the elements of the Army emblem is the same as for the Army seal with the above deviations and additions: The colors of the design elements are those traditionally associated with the ideals of the United States and of the Army. The flags are in proper colors. Blue is symbolic of loyalty, vigilance, perseverance, and truth. Red denotes courage, zeal, and fortitude. White alludes to deeds worthy of remembrance. Black is indicative of determination and constancy. Gold represents achievement, dignity, and honor.
Current Usage: The reproduction of the Army emblem is authorized in publications and other printed matter of an official or quasi-official nature in Army approved films and in official Army motion pictures or television programs. The design may not be modified in any manner. It may be reproduced in its proper colors, through the use of a one-color line process, or as a line drawing. The use of the Army emblem for any other purposes, including its incorporation in other items for commercial sale, will be only as authorized by The Institute of Heraldry.
The first American Navy seal (above left) was adopted by the Continental Congress on 4 May 1780 for the Board of Admiralty, progenitor of the Navy Department. This seal was affixed to naval officer commissions, and was as follows:
"the arms, thirteen bars mutually supporting each other, alternate red and white in a blue field, and surmounting an anchor proper. The crest a ship under sail. The motto Sustentans et Sustentatum. The legend U.S.A. Sigil. Naval."
The ship on the seal wore a national ensign at the stern and a commission pennant atop the mainmast. The Continental Navy of the American Revolution went out of existence in 1785 with the sale of the last ship, USS Alliance. When a separate Navy Department was founded in 1798, the Board of Admiralty seal was no longer used. Naval officer commissions from 1798 to 1849 carried a distinctly different seal which contained the basic elements of the current official seal -- the sea, ship under sail, eagle and anchor.
The seal again underwent change about 1850 as the design came even closer to that which is in use today. Neither the 1798 nor the 1850 seal seems to have had any specific authorization. The century following the appearance of the 1850 design witnessed variations in the position and shape of the eagle, ship and anchor. Sometimes land was shown on the seal, and at other times only water. Likewise, the several Navy Bureaus and Offices employed a variety of seal designs. For years prior to 1957, when the present seal was adopted, military and civilian officials within the Navy expressed the need for an official seal of uniform design.
Naval records reveal an interest in and awareness of the many variations which had crept into the seal details. Concerted effort to arrive at a redesigned standard seal for use by the Navy, afloat and ashore, awaited the post-World War II period. Recommendations from Secretaries of the Navy, heraldic experts, and historians resulted in this final seal design approved by President Eisenhower, and promulgated by Executive Order 10736 on 23 October 1957:
On a circular background of fair sky and moderate sea with land in sinister base, a three-masted square-rigged ship underway before a fair breeze with after topsail furled, commission pennant atop the foremast, National Ensign atop the main, and the commodore's flag atop the mizzen. In front of the ship a Luce-type anchor inclined slightly bendwise with the crown resting on the land and, in front of the shank and in back of the dexter fluke, an American bald eagle rising to sinister regarding to dexter, one foot on the ground, the other resting on the anchor near the shank; all in proper colors. The whole within a blue annulet bearing the inscrip tion "Department of the Navy" at top, and "United States of America" at the bottom, separated on each side by a mullet and within a rim in the form of a rope; inscription, rope, mullet, and edges of annulet all gold.
Land in the design would symbolize the Navy's supporting shore facilities as well as the fleet's amphibious strike capabilities. Since the wording "Navy Department," used on earlier seals, had generally come to signify only the headquarters activities in Washington, the inscription was changed to "Department of the Navy" in order to embrace the Navy's total world-wide operations afloat, in the air, and ashore.
Eagle Globe and Anchor
The official Marine Corps Insignia took its present form in 1868. The three elements are:
The Eagle with spread wings represents a proud country.
The Globe points to worldwide service
The fouled anchor stand for maritime tradition
Forged from nearly two centuries, every marine inherits a legacy from those who have gone before. And every Marine is duty bound to uphold the legacy and traditions of the Corps.
Semper Fidelis Always Faithful Adopted in 1883 as the motto of the Corps, but it means more than that. It is a way of life.
Taken from: http://www.marines.com/page/usmc.jsp?flashRedirect=true
The Coast Guard Ensign
The initial job of the first revenue cutters was to guarantee that the maritime public was not evading taxes. Import taxes were the lifeblood of the new nation. Smuggling had become a patriotic duty during the revolution. If the new nation under the Constitution were to survive, this activity needed to be stopped.
Working within a limited budget, cutters needed some symbol of authority. Neither officers nor men had uniforms. How could a revenue cutter come alongside a merchant ship during an age of pirates and privateers and order it to heave to?
The solution was to create an ensign unique to the revenue cutter to fly in place of the national flag while in American waters. Nine years after the establishment of the Revenue Cutter Service, Congress, in the Act of March 2, 1799 provided that cutters and boats employed in the service of the revenue should be distinguished from other vessels by a unique ensign and pennant.
On August 1, 1799, Secretary of the Treasury, Oliver Wolcott, issued an order announcing that in pursuance of authority from the President, the distinguishing ensign and pennant would consist of, "16 perpendicular stripes, alternate red and white, the union of the ensign to be the arms of the United States in a dark blue on a white field."
The ensign was poignant with historical detail, inasmuch as in the canton of the flag, there are 13 stars, 13 leaves to the olive branch, 13 arrows and 13 bars to the shield. All corresponded to the number of states constituting the union at the time the nation was established. The 16 vertical stripes in the body are symbolic of the number of States composing the Union when this ensign was officially adopted.
This ensign soon became very familiar in American waters and served as the sign of authority for the Revenue Cutter Service until the early 20th century. The ensign was intended to be flown only on revenue cutters and boats connected with the Customs Service. Over the years it was found flying atop custom houses as well. President William Howard Taft, however, issued an Executive Order June 7, 1910, adding an emblem to the ensign flown by the Revenue cutters to distinguish it from the ensign flown from the custom houses, which read: "By virtue of the authority vested in me under the provisions of Sec. 2764 of the revised Statutes, I hereby prescribe that the distinguishing flag now used by vessels of the Revenue Cutter Service be marked by the distinctive emblem of that service, in blue and white, placed on a line with the lower edge of the union, and over the center of the seventh vertical red stripe from the mast of said flag, the emblem to cover a horizontal space of three stripes. This change to be made as soon as practicable."
At about this time, cutters began flying the U.S. flag as their naval ensign and the revenue ensign became the Service’s distinctive flag.
When the service adopted the name Coast Guard, the Revenue Cutter Service’s ensign became the distinctive flag on all Coast Guard cutters as it had been for the revenue cutters.
The colors used in the Coast Guard ensign today, as in the Revenue Cutter Service, are all symbolic. The color red stands for our youth and sacrifice of blood for liberty’s sake. The color blue not only stands for justice, but also for our covenant against oppression. The white symbolizes our desire for light and purity.
As it was intended in 1799, the ensign is displayed as a mark of authority for boardings, examinations and seizures of vessels for the purpose of enforcing the laws of the United States. The ensign is never carried as a parade or ceremony standard.
The Coast Guard's motto is Semper Paratus, meaning "Always Ready".
Coast Guard toasts birthday, 1M lives saved
By Patricia Kime - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Aug 6, 2007 5:42:50 EDT
The Coast Guard was to mark its 217th birthday Saturday with a riff on the Marine Corps mantra “Every Marine a Rifleman.”
Having documented that it — with its ancestral services — has saved 1,109,310 lives since 1790, the Coast Guard declared at a birthday bash in Grand Haven, Mich., “Every Coast Guardsman a Lifesaver.”
“What began as America’s only lifesaving service charged with the dangerous duty of saving sailors from shipwrecks along our coasts has evolved into a modern-day, multimission Coast Guard that demonstrates the same commitment to saving lives that it did more than 200 years ago,” Commandant Adm. Thad Allen said in a servicewide birthday message.
The Coast Guard calls itself the nation’s oldest maritime service, tracing its roots to the Revenue Cutter Service, which was established under the Treasury Department in 1790 to combat smugglers and collect tariffs.
Only his servant, his chambermaid and a few loyal soldiers, officials and friends joined the funeral procession of the mostly forgotten naval hero of the American Revolution. The small group walked four miles on a sweaty July day in Paris. The city was being torn apart by the French Revolution; the king was under seige and the death of the sickly John Paul Jones meant as little there as it did in America, and even less in Britain where he was despised as a traitor, in Russia where he disappointed the czar, and in Scotland where he was born. The self proclaimed "citizen of the world" was dead and all but forgotten at the age of 45.
Jones had come to his beloved Paris after a scandalous end to his Rear Admiralty in Russia. For the last two years of his life he languished there, attending social functions when invited, holding court among his few remaining followers at his apartment salon, and writing endless letters that often went unanswered. Catherine the Great, dictator of Russia finally told him to "go mind his own business." His sisters in Scotland indicated the same. His former friend Lafayette, a "pop star" of revolutionary Paris, ignored him. According to Jones' biographer Samuel Eliot Morison, the Chevalier's worst enemy was ultimately his own "colossal egotism." His tireless self-promotion and self-aggrandizing, in the end, simply became tiresome. He lived and died, a very lonely man.
For years Porter was misled by a faulty copy of Jones' burial certificate. The original had been destroyed in a fire. A key phrase was missing. Jones, a Scot but not known to be religious, had been buried "in the cemetery for foreign Protestants." Porter confirmed the site as the Saint Louis Cemetery, but a lot had changed in a century.
By the early 1900s the cemetery had been covered over by a grocery store, a laundry, an apartment house, sheds, cess pools and wells. Porter approached owners requesting permission to dig, but when they discovered the wealthy US government was footing the bill, real estate prices shot up. Porter was forced to back off and wait an agonizing two years until he could negotiate cheaper access to the defunct Protestant cemetery. Porter also worried that the contents of the cemetery had been moved, as the law and decency prescribed.
Enter President "Teddy" Roosevelt. The media-savvy rough Rough Rider was intrigued by the life of the equally aggressive John Paul Jones. The public relations potential of finding the long lost "Father of the American Navy" was too good to pass up. Roosevelt got Congress to appropriate $35,000 and the dig was on.
It was an odious task -- wet, dark, with stultifying air, fetid water and giant red worms. The earth was so loose that Parisian workers built elaborate underground shafts, five in all, supported by thick timbers. Bodies lay everywhere, sometimes two and three on top of each other, their wooden coffins long rotted to dust. They found only five lead coffins in all. The third, a mummy-shaped tomb, was better designed and constructed than the rest, but bore no inscription. Porter and his attendants discovered it on April 8, 1905. When they tried to unwrap it, the stench was so overpowering that the crew was forced to dig an air shaft for ventilation before they could resume. Peeling back the tinfoil layers they caught the strong scent of alcohol and saw the still recognizable face of John Paul Jones.
His mostly naked body was wrapped in a winding shirt. The flesh was still on his face and when the white linen cap containing his hair was removed, it curled down onto his shoulders. As expected, Jones was not buried with uniforms, medals or weapons, most of which were sold months after his death at auction.
Horace Porter was overjoyed. His search had yielded, not just bones, but the flesh and tissue of the famous Chevalier himself. A professional autopsy on the 114-year old corpse by three Paris doctors appeared to corroborate historic accounts that Jones was suffering from kidney failure and perhaps bronchitis. Further proof came from a comparison of the corpse with the famous bust of Jones by Jean-Antoine Houdon.
Biographer Morison notes wryly that, just as Congress had procrastinated over the creation of the first Navy, so they procrastinated over where to house the remains of Paul Jones. Roosevelt had built his great fleet, toured the world, built the Panama Canal, been replaced in office and World War I was looming before John Paul Jones got what he always wanted -- permanent honor and attention. In 1913 his coffin was finally placed in an ornate sepulchre beneath the chapel at Annapolis. The long strange trip was over.
Depicting an eagle inside a wreath, this pin was worn above the right breast pocket by WWII servicemen and women still in uniform, but discharged. It was issued to military members who were Honorably Discharged, allowing them to wear their uniform up to thirty days after being discharged. There was a shortage of many things during this time period, and clothing was no different, so uniforms were all many had. Wearing the pin showed they were not AWOL.
The soldiers thought it looked more like a duck than an eagle and the ruptured part may be the stance of the eagle. It got the name and it stuck with all the vets and has been called that ever since WWII.
Offered by Luther D. Hanson
Curator, US Army Quartermaster Museum
Ft. Lee Va
Excerpts from this article:
For soldiers in both blue and gray, regimental flags or “colors” served as powerful visual icons of the ideals and values they fought to uphold—government, family, community and the concepts of duty, honor and courage. Veteran units proudly displayed their battle honors upon their flags, and the more tattered, bullet-torn and bloodstained they were, the more cherished they became. These swaths of fabric told a regiment’s history more forcefully than words ever could.
Battle flags also served an important utilitarian function. The Civil War was the last major conflict fought with Napoleonic tactics, which dictated that soldiers stand nearly shoulder to shoulder in well-ordered lines to deliver a heavy volume of fire. After the exchange of a few volleys, a battlefield often became shrouded in a low-lying cloud of whitish smoke. Hoisted on wooden staffs at least 8 feet long, the large, brightly colored regimental banners were sometimes the only visible elements of the contending forces, thus allowing rear-echelon commanders to monitor the movement of troops from a safe distance.
Flags were even more vital to frontline infantry officers and the men in the ranks. As a regiment advanced in line of battle, the color-bearer, positioned near the center of the formation, stepped off several paces ahead of the other troops. It was his duty to preserve the proper length and cadence of the march while orienting the line in the proper direction. In the deadly close-quarters combat that ensued, the sight of the flag floating above the chaos steeled the resolve of the men. If the line gave way, the men usually could be counted on to rally around the colors.
Remarkably the color-bearer did not carry a weapon. His protection, and that of his flag, were the sole responsibility of the color guard, which usually ranged in size from two to nine men. Like the bearer, these soldiers were chosen for their bravery and steadiness. If the color-sergeant was shot down, a member of his escort immediately picked up the standard. Since flags were the focal point of 19th-century combat, the casualty rate of the color party and the companies in the closest proximity to it was often extremely high.
Because of a stand of colors’ vital function and its emotional appeal, losing one was considered a terrible disgrace. As a result, Civil War soldiers often resorted to drastic measures to save their flags from being seized, exposing themselves to great risk of death, injury or capture.
The French played a part at the Battle of Yorktown in 1781 -
Admiral François Joseph Paul de Grasse defeated the British at the Battle of the Chesapeake, also known as the Battle of Cape Virginia, in September 1871, one of their rare naval losses, and secured the area around Yorktown so that no British supply ships could reach General Cornwallis’ camp. This was a crucial piece of the American victory at Yorktown, which was the final battle of the Revolutionary War.
Sixteenth Regiment Maine Volunteer Infantry
When they were overrun at Gettysburg, the men of the Sixteenth cut their flag apart and hid the fragments in their clothing rather than let it be captured by the Confederates. Maine mustered more men to join the Regiment, and it fought in a further 14 battles, mustering out in June, 1865. Recruits from the Sixteenth transferred to the Twentieth Maine. Nine officers and 172 enlisted men from the Sixteenth Maine were killed in action. Two officers and 257 enlisted men died of disease, and another 76 men died in Confederate prisons.
The bronze likeness of an Irish Wolfhound on the Irish Brigade monument at
Gettysburg National Military Park symbolizes the loyalty shown for the Union
cause by the brigade's soldiers, most of whom were Irish immigrants or sons
of immigrants to the United States.
Formed in November 1861, the Brigade was
largely recruited in New York, Massachusetts
Tradition has it that Captain James Lawrence said these heroic words after being mortally wounded in the engagement between his ship, the U.S. frigate Chesapeake, and HMS Shannon on 1 June 1813. As the wounded Lawrence was carried below, he ordered "Tell the men to fire faster! Don't give up the ship!"
Although Chesapeake was forced to surrender, Captain Lawrence's words lived on as a rallying cry during the war. Oliver Hazard Perry honored his dead friend Lawrence when he had the motto sewn onto the private battle flag flown during the Battle of Lake Erie, 10 September 1813.
April 1, 1835 as authorized in the "Instructions to Officers in the United States' Revenue Cutter Service,"
October 3, 1834, page 7. Following a tradition established by the Royal Navy of Great Britain both
the Revenue Cutter Service and the Navy established a daily rum ration for their enlisted personnel.
Nevertheless, to "encourage habits of temperance" the Treasury Department abolished the ration and
substituted a cash payment of three cents per day as a substitute for the value of the "spirits" previously
issued. Temperance was always on the minds of the officials at the Treasury Department. Until it was
abolished, the ration consisted of one "gill" per day for officers and one-half a gill per man for the crew.
Alexander Hamilton, the founder of the Service, stated "that the article of rum. . .be as sparingly supplied
An old Navy tradition has it that it is the cook that shines the Ship's bell and the buglar that shines the Ship's whistle. However, in today's Navy, the Ship's bell is maintained by a sailor who is charged with that section of the Ship that the bell is located.
Ulysses S. Grant, 18th President: 1869-1877 Ulysses S. Grant was the victorious Union commander of the Civil War. He received General Lee’s sword at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865. Grant finished his memoirs in 1885, a few weeks before his death from throat cancer. The book earned over $450,000 for his family after his death. Ulysses S. Grant established Yellowstone as the nation's first national park on March 1, 1872.
Taken from the National Park Service Trivia on Presidents
President Ronald Reagan
Several years after graduating from college and while employed as a sports announcer by a radio station in Iowa, Ronald Reagan began taking home-study U.S. Army Extension Courses. He enrolled in the program on March 18, 1935, and by December 1936, he had completed 14 courses. He then joined the Army's Enlisted Reserve Corps at Des Moines, Iowa, on April 29, 1937, as a private in Troop B, 322nd Cavalry. On May 25, 1937, he was appointed a second lieutenant in the Officers' Reserve Corps of the Cavalry and on June 18, 1937, he accepted his officer' commission.
Following the Japanese attack of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, Lt. Reagan interrupted his acting career and on April 19, 1942, went on active duty. This was not achieved without some difficulty because when Lt. Reagan took his first physical exam, he was not accepted for active duty due to eyesight difficulties. His persistence finally triumphed and he was given another exam, which he passed. He was classified for limited service only, which permanently denied to him his ambition of serving overseas. His first assignment was at the San Francisco Port of Embarkation, Fort Mason, Calif., as Liaison Officer of the Port and Transportation Office.
At this time, the AAF and Warner Brothers Studios were planning a feature motion picture to be entitled "Air Force" and wanted Lt. Reagan for the leading role, so on May 15, 1942, he applied for transfer from the Cavalry to the AAF.
The transfer was approved and on June 9, 1942, Lt. Reagan was assigned to AAF Public Relations as P.R. Officer in Burbank, Calif., and subsequently to the 1st Motion Picture Unit in Culver City.
Lt. Reagan was promoted to first lieutenant, Jan. 14, 1943, and on Feb. 26, he was sent to the Provisional Task Force Show Unit of "This is the Army" at Burbank. Following this duty, he returned to the 1st Motion Picture Unit and on July 22, 1943, was promoted to captain.
As the result of a personal request from the Secretary of the Treasury to the Secretary of War, Capt. Reagan was ordered on temporary duty to New York City in January 1944 to participate in the opening of the 4th War Loan Drive, after which he returned to California to the 1st Motion Picture Unit. On Nov. 14, 1944, he was assigned to the 18th AAF Base Unit at Culver City where he remained until the end of the war. On Sept. 8, 1945, he was ordered to Fort MacArthur, Calif., for separation, effective Dec. 9, 1945.
While on active duty with the 1st Motion Picture Unit and the 18th AAFBU, Capt. Reagan served as Personnel Officer, Post Adjutant, Executive Officer, and even Commanding Officer, often two or more at the same time. On May 15, 1945, in a memo to Gen. H.H. "Hap" Arnold, Commanding General of the AAF, Maj. Gen. James P. Hodges, the Assistant Chief of the Air Staff for Intelligence, wrote that Capt. Reagan "has proven himself to be an officer of exceptional ability, demonstrating unusual initiative, and performs his duties in a superior manner. Captain Reagan has received a 'superior' efficiency rating continually since 1 Jul., 1943." The reference to "unusual initiative" undoubtedly resulted, at least in part, from Capt. Reagan repeatedly volunteering to assist in producing and narrating AAF motion pictures, in addition to his regular duties. By the end of the war, his military units had produced 400 training films for the AAF.
In 1945, Capt. Reagan was recommended for promotion but because there was no major's vacancy in his unit at the time, the request was not approved. On April 1, 1953, his commission in the Officers' Reserve Corps was terminated as required by law and his military affiliation apparently ended. On Jan. 20, 1981, however, he was inaugurated as the 40th president of the United States and became Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces.