United States Army
30th Artillery Patches, Crest, Brass and Insignias
Service Number: US56708259 Would translate to: US=Drafted, 56=From California, 708259=Personal Army ID Number
As pictured above, top to bottom, left to right are my badges and awards:
Torri Patch, 30th Artillery Brigade Patch, Specialist E-5 Rank Insignia, Marksman Badge with Missile, Machinegun and Bazooka bars, Expert Badge with Rifle bar, Wheeled Driver Badge, 1st. Artillery Crest, Artillery Brass, U.S. Army Brass, National Defense Service Ribbon, Cold War Recognition Ribbon, Good Conduct Ribbon and Name Badge.
When I was originally assigned to Okinawa, I wore the Okinawa Base Command patch, which showed a Japanese Torii bridge in Gold on a black circle. The Torii was a sacred entranceway to a Shinto Temple, and the patch alluded to the Ryukyu Islands as WWII's "gateway to Japan". It was worn from 1950 to 1972 under different names, but was replaced in 1973 when Okinawa reverted back to Japan. It was replaced by the US Army Japan's patch. US Army Japan Patch (a blue, white and red patch with a image of Mt Fuji on it)
I changed to the 30th Artillery Brigade Patch when I was assigned to C-8-1. Everyone in the Brigade wore the 30th Artillery Brigade Patch. The patch was is use from April 26, 1966 until July 1, 1973 when the unit ceased operation. The three arrows alude to three missiles and the three main Ryukyu Islands of the unit's home station. The circle symbolizes a specific area or target and also represents a zero which, in conjunction with the three arrows, suggests the numerical designation of the organization, the 30th Artillery Brigade and reflected the Brigade's motto "Always on Target" - red and yellow are the artillery colors.
The Specialist E-5 Insignia, indicating the rank of Specialist E-5, or Spec 5 as it was commonly called, is no longer in use. Today’s grade of E-5 is now called "Sergeant". Spec 5's were sometimes squad leaders or in charge of technical groups - most E-5's in a Hawk Battery were senior radar or missile technicians and reported to the sergeant in charge of their maintenance group. It was the highest rank you could receive without re-enlisting. Our PLL (missile parts) squad, consisted of an E5 acting as the NCO, two E2 or E3 clerks and an E3 truck driver. The E5 reported directly to the Maintenance Warrant Officer - there was no sergeant in our chain of command, so the PLL E-5 functioned as a "sergeant" and supervised and gave work direction to the lower ranked members of the squad. The PLL was a group unto itself and had free reign on and off the site. We were the scroungers, trading, echanging or just grabbing needed parts and supplies that were hard or impossible to order. Our favorite source for "supples" like paint or metal runway matting was either the Navy Supply Depot or the Army Surplus Depot at the Port of Naha. The Army Surplus Depot was the final destination for all the savageable items brought back from combat in Viet Nam. There was everything from damaged M-16's and 45's to planes and helicopters. There wasn't a parts clerk on the island who wouldn't trade a "surplus" 45 for a case of paint!
The Marksman Badge with Missile Bar indicated that I had qualified with the Hawk Missile system at the Air Defense School in Fort Bliss Texas. The Machinegun Bar indicated that I had qualified with the M-2 50 cal. Machinegun and the Bazooka Bar indicated that I had qualified with the M-20, 3.5 inch Rocket Launcher aka Bazooka.
The Expert Badge with the Rifle Bar indicated that I had qualified as an expert with the M-14 7.62 rifle.
The Driver-Wheeled Vehicle Badge was awarded after completing the Army's Heavy Truck Driver training (tractor trailer and Deuce-and-a-Half), but was usually not worn
The 1st. Artillery Crest, with the motto, "Primus Inter Pares", "First Among Equals" was worn by all the 1st. Artillery Hawk units on Okinawa; and the Air Defense Artillery Brass and the U.S. Army Brass were worn by everyone in the U.S. Army Artillery.
The National Defense Ribbon was awarded for honorable active service.
The Cold War Recognition Ribbon is new, covering all who served during the cold war era.
The Good Conduct Ribbon is awarded on a very selective basis to a soldier who distinguishes himself from among his fellow soldiers by his exemplary conduct, efficiency, and fidelity.
The black and white name tag was worn on the both the green (winter) and khaki (summer) dress uniforms.
If you are missing any or all of your ribbons or awards, the Army will give you a set for free, you just have to request a set.(see below) However, after requesting mine, I was informed that I only had earned a "Expert Badge" for Rifle, a "Marksman Badge" for Machine Gun and a National Defense Ribbon. Seems the "Driver" for Wheeled Vehicle, "Marksman" for Missile and Bazooka and my "Good Conduct" Medal were never recorded with them... good luck!