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.
|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|
Susan Carter White
Pieroth, Copyright © 2004