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77th Division WWI Veteran's Grouping – with Certificate of Merit Ribbon?

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    Posted 9 years ago

    (310 items)

    Here’s a recent eBay purchase of mine. Although the Victory Medal, with battle clasps representative of the 77th Division, is an upgrade of the poorer condition 77th Div. Victory I already had, I bid more than I otherwise would have to get his intriguing medal bar.

    I think that the blue, white and red ribbon to the left (center is soiled, but clearly was white) may be for the Certificate of Merit Medal. This medal was awarded between 1905 and 1918, and replaced an actual certificate. It was awarded to enlisted soldiers for distinguishing themselves in action or other hazardous service. In 1918, these medals were replaced by the Distinguished Service Medal, and later by the Distinguished Service Cross.

    The second ribbon on the bar is sometimes misidentified as the first issue of the Victory Medal ribbon, which was later replaced by the familiar rainbow ribbon. This actually does fit the description of one of the ribbons submitted for consideration by the Victory Medal Commission and it contains the national colors of each of the major allied powers. To my knowledge, however; this ribbon was never issued with the Victory medal. It was used with some of the local veteran’s medals.

    It makes sense that this group may have come from one veteran. The 77th Division was made up of men from New York State, and this came with WWI veteran’s medals from New York State and Madison County N.Y. That begs the question (and is the mystery here) who really did issue the multi-color ribbon on the bar? Also, since it is on the same bar as the Certificate of Merit Medal ribbon, could I have misidentified that ribbon? Could that also be some other local veterans’ ribbon? One clue may be in the tie clasp for the Veterans of World War I of the USA, which was a Veterans organization that may have also issued ribbons. Hey Militarist! Help!

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    1. Militarist Militarist, 9 years ago
      Chris, my memory may not be 100% here but there was a private issue medal with the motto "Fear No Evil" that was sold to the public and had a ribbon that was very similar to the mystery ribbon.
    2. Militarist Militarist, 9 years ago
      The medal was listed in the CITY AND STATE MEDAL NEWSLETTER Vol. IV No. 3 June 1993. The motto was "Do Right And Fear No Man" The medals were on an "Allied" ribbon and were sold by Thomas Elder, New York Coin dealer in 1917. The medals were in bronze and silver.
    3. Chrisnp Chrisnp, 9 years ago
      Thanks so much Militarist! I really do think this ribbon may have been one of the ones presented by an American deligate (Col. Mott) at the Interallied Commission when it discussed a common Victory Medal in 1919. Mott presented several samples of ribbons, and if the ribbon were already manufactured in 1917, it's reasonable he may have obtained a piece.
    4. Militarist Militarist, 9 years ago
      I am sure you are correct in the origins of this ribbon which would explain why it was used for this private medal before there was an official Victory ribbon or medal. By the way I have also seen this ribbon on some of the local Illinois WWI medals.
    5. Militarist Militarist, 9 years ago
      Locally here in my small village the last WWI veteran died in the late 1980's so the tie bar in my opinion is not out of place here in this grouping.
    6. Chrisnp Chrisnp, 9 years ago
      Kevin, you are absolutely correct that the tie clasp was made post WWII, and I assume you knew this by the style? It certainly has a more modern look to it.

      Actually, I’ve identified the insignia on the clasp as “Veterans of World War I of the USA,” which was founded in 1948. Someone on another internet site claims it was organized by former members of the American Legion after the Legion voted to admit WWII Veterans. The Legion started as a WWI Veterans organization in 1919, and I can imagine some of the old vets wanted the Legion to stay that way. I don’t know if the story is true or not, but it seems that something must have happened to make the WWI veterans want to start a new organization that long after the end of WWI.
    7. Chrisnp Chrisnp, 9 years ago
      Thanks or the love, AR8Jason, blunderbuss2, petey, Militarist, iKKoChristmas11, officialfuel and BELLIN68.
    8. Chrisnp Chrisnp, 9 years ago
      I’m slapping my forehead and saying “Duh” here Kevin. Of course “World War I” would be THE obvious clue! I guess I was just tired last night.

      I wonder if those WWI veterans felt that sharing the same generation and wartime frame of reference made for stronger cohesion, comradeship and understanding. Perhaps they wanted the Legion to go the way of the GAR.

      Anyway, I’ve heard the same thing about the American Legion not being accepting of Vietnam Vets back in the day, but now it’s the ‘Nam era vets that are holding all the important positions, especially at the state and national levels. At my own post, I’m the commander this year, and a Gulf Wars Vet. Our 1st Vice Commander is a ‘Nam vet, and a VFW member. Our 2nd Vice is a ‘Nam Vet and a DAV member, Adjutant is a ‘Nam Vet, Chaplain is a Korea Vet, our Historian – a retired Fist Sergeant – is a Veteran of three wars; WWII, Korea and Vietnam.
    9. scottvez scottvez, 8 years ago
      Thanks again, chris!


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