Unofficial badges (some refer to them as emblems) are one of many categories of military insignia. An unofficial badge met the standards of the military regulations, but for one reason or another, never appeared on the official precedence chart. One such example of an unofficial badge would be one that was presented to a military individual by a higher authority, or even his local commander for a one time deed. Though issuing regulations of badges are strict, the word badge can still be used when referencing badges that were proposed though never distributed, badges that a member of the military would chose to place in their personal display of accolades and also some that would be worn on civilian clothing – once in a while, an individual would be known to even wear the badge on his uniform which often led to the person being chastised.
Military personnel would often be backed up by fellow enlisted whenever a debate would ensue regarding the validity of the medal. And while they were often granted permission to wear the unofficial badges for exclusive events, the majority of them would not have sewn it onto their uniforms as was mandated for the official badges.
Though some of the unofficial badges throughout war history may now be obsolete, other insignia outside this category have also become obsolete over the years. Categories for obsolete insignia often fall under the following guidelines:
- Revolutionary War Period
- 1913-1926 (which includes World War I 1914-1918)
- Army Air Forces (1941-1947)
- Army (1775-Present Day)
- Coast Guard (1790-Present Day)
- Navy (1775-Present)
- Marine Corps (1775-Present Day)
THROUGH THE CENTURIES
Military insignia, though started during the Revolutionary War, was mainly issued from early 20th Century all the way through to World War II. After WWII, many of the badges would be replaced with the modern insignias of today’s military and others would be discontinued completely. Nineteen alone would become obsolete when the Army Air Forces divided into the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force. In all, over 50 insignia have been removed from military issuance, making it difficult for a collector of insignia to locate some of these unofficial and obsolete military insignias.
The Armed Forces History Museum in Largo FL has an extensive of collection of military insignia on display. The insignia can be found throughout the museum in the areas most reflective of each particular insignia.