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Ruptured Duck Automobile Badge

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Posted 5 years ago


(174 items)

The “Ruptured Duck” was a common nick-name given to this eagle badge which was issued to WWII service men who had completed their active duty and were honorably discharged. A diamond shaped patch with this design was worn on the uniform to show that they were no longer on active duty and a lapel button was also issued for wear on civilian clothing. The lapel buttons come in many different varieties; cut out, solid, screw backs, pin backs, button backs, clutch backs and can even be found in 10 and 14k gold. A large brass version is in use as a grave marker for WWII veterans and there is also a version that was made to be attached to an automobile above the license plate. This is one of the license plate versions. It is a heavy copper plated white metal probably a copper-nickel alloy. I can’t remember when I have seen one of these before so I suspect they are scarce.


  1. scottvez scottvez, 5 years ago
    Great items and an educational post!

    The "ruptured duck" used to be universally understood and commonly seen.

  2. Chrisnp Chrisnp, 5 years ago
    There is a scene in "The Best Years of Our Lives" where the camera briefly focuses on a man's lapel and the ruptured duck insignia. When the film came out in 1946, the director had no need to explain what it was to the audience. What a difference 66 years can make.
  3. Militarist Militarist, 5 years ago
    Thanks every one. I was at a coin club meeting the other day and bought this ruptured duck on the way there. When I mentioned it at the meeting I was surprised that most of the members, who were under 40 years old, had no idea what I was talking about which is what gave me the idea for this post.
  4. walksoftly walksoftly, 5 years ago
    Being Canadian & fifty I had to look up the meaning, maybe you could inform others on the meaning of the nickname. Thanks for sharing, always nice to learn something new.
  5. Militarist Militarist, 5 years ago
    I have no idea as to how that nick-name came to be. If anyone here does please chime in.
  6. Chrisnp Chrisnp, 5 years ago
    Well, I always believed some WWI era GI wiseguy quipped that bird looked like a duck with a hernia, and the name stuck.

    I’ve also read that it meant the soldier “took off like a ruptured duck.” which is a phrase I have heard my own WWII generation parents use, meaning “got out of there fast.” The problem with that explanation is that it still does not explain why a ruptured duck would be the imagery.

    There are a few other explanations online, but I’m not convinced any of them are accurate.

  7. scottvez scottvez, 5 years ago
    I have heard that the "duck" part was due to the poor design of the Eagle and its resemblance to a duck.

    I haven't researched-- there may be some other reasons.

  8. Chrisnp Chrisnp, 5 years ago
    Here is a nice short story about wearing the Ruptured Duck and the response of all the people who recognized it:
  9. Chrisnp Chrisnp, 5 years ago my post that read "WWI", I meant "WWII" - The WWI vets had their own discharge insignia
  10. fhrjr2 fhrjr2, 5 years ago
    "No one knows how the Ruptured Duck got its name but for many decades it was said that the Duck got its (nick)name from the unknown wife of an unknown Army Air Corps airman who mockingly told her husband that the spread-eagled figured looked more like a "ruptured duck" than an eagle taking flight or fanning its wings."

    The insignia and name was actually the same for both wars but was modified in 1943. The American War Library has info on it here:
  11. Chrisnp Chrisnp, 5 years ago
    Actually, fhjr2, There are a bunch of false and misleading statements made on the web page you found. All who served on active duty during WWI received the Victory Lapel Button when they were presented with their discharge papers. This was a star surrounded by a laurel wreath with a US in the center, not the ruptured duck. Discharged WWI veterans who still wore their uniforms till they could get civilian clothes wore a red discharge stripe on their sleeve – not the duck.

    Also, the site says that any honorably discharged military can still be issued the ruptured duck. Actually per the US Army Institute for heraldry site, the ruptured duck is only for active federal service before December 31st, 1941.

    Why would they say print this if it’s not true? Well…

    Navigate around the site and you’ll find out that to get your own ruptured duck, send them a copy of your Discharge paperwork (DD-214), along with a form they provide and $14.70 (for just the pin) up to $33.90 (for a certificate and the pin finished in satin gold). In other words, send your personal information (including your social security number) to an outfit that has no connection to the government, so they can sell you something that isn’t regulated by the government. Hmmmm.
  12. Chrisnp Chrisnp, 5 years ago
    Sorry, I was sleeply last night, where I wrote 1941, I meant 1946.
  13. Chrisnp Chrisnp, 5 years ago
    I'm sure all these typos are my keybard, couldn't be me.

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