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Mr. History,

Hello. I’m the historian for the 12th Armored Division Association, an association of WWII veterans, relatives and other people interested in preserving the relationships and history of that unit. I write a monthly column for the 12th ADA newsletter, the Hellcat News. Much of what I write comes from questions by veterans and in this vein I hope you can help me.

A question was posed by one vet and a comrade responded requesting that I try to obtain the true story, if indeed there is such a thing. The first veteran recalled a picture which showed an armor Soldier wearing his overseas cap on the left as opposed to the right as other WWII era Soldiers did. This gentleman’s recollection was that either the armored divisions or the armored infantry wore their caps on the opposite side, but he didn’t know why. Another vet stated that it was the entire Armored Command that wore their overseas caps on the left.  That took in divisions and all individual units.  It was explained to him in basic training that the head of the Armored Command wanted a separate and distinct dress uniform for his troops, but the request was denied. So he settled for the compromise that to distinguish armored troops, along with the shoulder patch designation, Soldiers assigned to armored units would be permitted to wear their overseas caps on the left.

I have been unable to shed any light on this.  I’ve contacted the US Army Armor Center historian at Fort Benning, GA and the Patton Museum at Fort Knox, KY. Neither could provide any verification.

I was hoping you might be able to provide an answer and references to help me out.

Any assistance you can provide, including other avenues to pursue would be greatly appreciated.

Bob Scherer
Robert W. Scherer
COL, (USA Retired)
12th Armored Division Association

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Dear Colonel Scherer,

If the two primary sources of U.S. Army armored corps history could not provide positive answers on their own past policy, it may be beyond the poor capabilities of this research director, who spent most of his 20 years of Army National Guard service piping his garrison cap with the cobalt blue and golden yellow piping of NBC (nuclear bio-chemical, aka “No Body Cares”). It might be worthwhile to check the photos in question to ensure that they are not reversed or flopped. As far as distinguishing itself from other branches of the Army, in 1940 the Armored Corps broke with the Infantry by replacing the blue piping around its garrison caps with green and yellow (see reference below—and while you’re at it, note the different angles at which the officers in the photo are wearing their caps!).



Jon Guttman
Research Director
World History Group
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