Divisional Insignia Used During World War I

Above is a portion of the front page of the May 4, 1919 New York Tribune. There are four pages of pictures welcoming the New York Army 77th Division [insignia 64] home. On the back is a chart showing "Divisional Insignia" with the following explanation:

Divisional Insignia

Nobody in the army can place his finger on the man or men who devised the various identifying marks of the overseas divisions, although it is generally conceded that the 81st Division men, conscripts of North and South Carolina, Florida and Porto Rico, were the pioneers in wearing the insignia.

It happened this way, according to Colonel Robert E. Wyllie, of the General Staff:

The 81st Division showed up at the port of embarkation at Hoboken one fine day last summer with every man wearing the wildcat on his left shoulder [insignia 30]. General Shanks, commander of the port, immediately informed Washington army headquarters of the novel distinguishing mark of the Carolina Wildcats, and asked if the insignia were authorized to be worn. Before a reply, which was in the negative, had reached General Shanks the 81st Division had sailed.

Immediately upon landing in France the eyes of every doughboy were focussed on the vicious feline, and before a week had elapsed the divisions began to blossom out in specially designed insignia. So generally had the wearing of the weird designs come--almost over night--that General Pershing realized an order authorizing the special decorations must follow.

While the various insignia have never been officially authorized as a part of the uniform of the United States army no direct prohibition has been placed on the wearing of the divisional decorations.
The Insignia as Illustrated. The colors are probably more primary than shown.
Aviation Corps Ninety-First Wild West Division
Second Army Ninety-Third Division
Twenty-Eighth Division Forty-First Sunset Division
First Army Ninety-Second Division - Infantry
Sixth Division Trench Mortar Service
Eighty-Ninth Division Eighty-Ninth Division
Eightieth Division Second Army Corps
Thirty-Fourth Sandstorm Division Thirty-First Dixie Division
Tanks Corps Camouflage Corps
Seventy-Eighth Lightning Division Fifteenth Division
Railroad Division Eightieth Blue Ridge Division

Scan of titles 1 to 36; scan of titles 37 to 70.


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Susan Carter White Pieroth, Copyright 2004