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Looking to know what secrets dad kept.

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Posted 10 months ago

(1 item)

My dad passed several years ago. I was going through his belongings that I tucked away. He said he never went to Vietnam (his papers said otherwise) and I found his orders that took him through Germany. I also found several letters about his marksmanship, confidentiality combat papers he signed (the agreement, not the actual orders), and what looked like termination from one unit and reassignment to another. I also found these pins. None of them match the letter of commendation I found, or any of the certifications listed on his papers (various shooting certifications... 4, I think).

What are these pins for? With the exception of the tank one, they all have posts that stick straight out the back and have what look like green earring backs to secure them. The tank has 4 posts that all fold in and point towards the center.

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  1. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 10 months ago
    1st one:? 2nd one: paratrooper of course, 3rd one: post war German panzer Corp.. 4th one:Obvious but not familiar with it.
  2. OlofZ OlofZ, 10 months ago
    Tenure in Vietnam was measured in days and a soldier who was “short-timer”, had less than 99 days to go. Being “short-timer” was a measure of stature. The goal was off course boarding the “Freedom Bird” and fly home. Short-timers used to compare with other short-timers on the amount of time they had left, the lower the amount of days left, the higher the ranking. So that medal was probably given as 99 or less days of service in Vietnam remained.
  3. Nlmickson, 10 months ago
    Thanks for the info. I'm especially curious about the first two pins (first pic). I don't know why my photos loaded sideways. One seems to have a blue and white bar, making it different than the other.

    I appreciate the explanation on the short-timer pin. In looking at his orders, he was there for about a month. His total enlistment was from '71-77. He was in Ft. Lewis and then Fort Dix before leaving the country.
    Again, thanks for all the info, folks.
  4. scottvez scottvez, 10 months ago
    The first two are distinctive unit insignia (DUI) or simply "unit crests". Every Regiment in the Army has a different or distinctive one. I am not familiar with this one-- but the torch suggests that it is some sort of signal unit. The "short timer" pin is made in the same manner as a unit crest.

    The unit crests were worn on the shoulder tabs of the dress uniform (one on each side).

  5. Nlmickson, 10 months ago
    Wow. Thanks Scott. Cool information.
  6. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 10 months ago
    I noticed that in the corner of the "DUI", there is an animal with a peace sign face. Wonder if that was intentional ?
  7. Nlmickson, 10 months ago
    Blunderbuss2- I don't know. I tried to pick out what it was, but I can't make that out at all. It looked like an animal, but I couldn't figure out for the life of me what.
  8. scottvez scottvez, 10 months ago
    I pulled up the DUIs again. You may want to start your search with 3rd Infantry Division units. The top portion with alternating white and blue "stripes" is found on many 3ID units and is indicative of the Division patch.

  9. shareurpassion shareurpassion, 10 months ago
    Hi there. I just had to stop in to say a few words here. So many of our service men and women had such a hard time at war and really, the bottom line for them was that the memories were still so fresh, too deep and painful to speak about. Our Vietnam Vets at the time did not receive a welcoming homecoming either. It wasn't until Desert Storm that we started to really appreciate what they have done for us all and I am grateful they are now appreciated more and helped more than they all were then. I don't think that it had to do with your father not telling you the "truth" about it, it was just that the truth was too unbearable for him to speak about. There are still many that won't speak about it to this day. I feel for you! You will find here, as you have seen already, you will be able to ask the questions you need and have some very good people speak to you about it freely.
    That's a great thing!
  10. Nlmickson, 10 months ago
    Shareurpassion: I totally get and agree with what you are saying. I remember asking my dad if he fought in Vietnam and he said, "I was just a secretary plunking away on a type-writer." His older brothers I know did go. One of them ended up permanently disabled. I remember, right after he died, I was going through this black briefcase and he had and in it, aside from financial records, some sort of letter of commendation regarding shooting. Just the other night, in a completely different folder of papers, I found his certifications in M45, M60, M16,?? and something else. I can't remember what they are off-hand without the paper in front of me. He was designated expert in a couple, and sharpshooter in the others. I got to thinking about how that didn't sound like a secretary plunking away at keys to me. I know that he always had the best shot in his hunting party. I thought it was just because he was a good hunter.

    I really appreciate all the helpful info I have found here from folks. It gives me a much better understanding of who my dad was. I understand why he wouldn't be proud or boastful about his service. An uncle told me Dad was set to go to West Point Academy, but joined up instead.

    For those of you that are military or ex-military, first and foremost- thank you. Secondly, as the child of a service member, it would be pretty cool had Dad kept a journal or something that I could have read to know more about his life experiences. I get not wanting to talk about it, but the adult children that are left behind to take care of their things when their parents pass may really want to know more about what made them, them.
  11. RCassano, 10 months ago
    Jumping to the 3rd, that is very similar to the German Panzer insignia. I noticed the iron cross on the tank, so I'm just guessing, since he was in Germany, he probably got that at that time. Maybe nothing more than a souvenir, and not likely a U.S. military item. Not sure if that's an official German military item, but it might be.

    I was in during that era (a little earlier than your Dad), but because of a training injury, and in the hospital, I was never in country. The "war" ended while I was in rehab. I do remember the "short timer" pin, as I wore one at about 90 days from ETS (separation). It wasn't exclusively a "combat" pin, but a Viet Nam era pin. Not military issue, but permitted at that time.

    The first one has me stumped, but the second one is a "parachutist badge" or "jump badge" worn by paratroopers (airborne). People most commonly associate that badge with 101st or 82nd Airborne (Rangers), however, having been in the 1/4 Cav Air Assault, I did many low-level, static-line jumps (under 4,000 feet) and was awarded "jump wings". So, those are worn by anyone who left an aircraft with a parachute, not just Rangers.

    Just a note about his commendation for M16. You had a question mark there. The switch from M14 to M16 took place in the early 70's, so that would make sense. I trained with the M14, but a year later went to the M16.

    We're all grateful for your Dad's service. I'm proud to have been his fellow service member.
  12. RCassano, 10 months ago
    Sorry, no edit button. I meant I was in about the same time as your Dad, not earlier.
  13. SpiritBear SpiritBear, 10 months ago
    A lot of former soldiers never mention they fought. If they do, many won't talk about the war. It brings up memories that will crush them if they let them surface. As such, they cannot even mention it as they want to totally forget their experiences.
  14. scottvez scottvez, 10 months ago
    "People most commonly associate that badge with 101st or 82nd Airborne (Rangers), however, having been in the 1/4 Cav Air Assault, I did many low-level, static-line jumps (under 4,000 feet) and was awarded "jump wings". So, those are worn by anyone who left an aircraft with a parachute, not just Rangers. "

    Actually the 101st and 82nd WERE Airborne Divisions, NOT Ranger units (Post VN, the 101st came off of jump status and is now an Air Assault Division). Besides those on jump status, Airborne qualification is common among officers. It is often used as an incentive for enlisted soldiers (enlistment/ reenlistment).

    US Army static line jumps are usually in the 800- 1200 foot range. In ABN School, the target is 1250 feet. Combat jumps are usually lower.


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