Box filled with Military Badges

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I found a wide variety of articles and memorabilia that once belonged to Aunt Marian in my parent’s attic. One of the more mysterious items is a box overflowing with miscellaneous military badges. Many appear to be used—a few look new.

How (and why) did Aunt Marian assemble this collection of badges? Did people trade badges?

One thought, but it may be totally off base (no pun intended)–Aunt Marian was stationed at Fort Ord on the Monterey  Peninsula in California in the mid-1950s, and worked for awhile at the Quartermasters Sales Store. Could she have somehow gotten the badges off used uniforms that one way or another ended up the store?

36 thoughts on “Box filled with Military Badges”

  1. However she came upon the badges, I am reminded how previous generations never threw anything out; waste not, want not. My mom had a box of buttons, sometimes she even cut buttons off the clothes we outgrew. You just never know when you’re going to need matching buttons! ❤
    Diana xo

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    1. And, your comment reminds me that I have some girl scout badges of my daughter’s tucked away somewhere. We got them about the time she lost interest in girl scouts and I never got them sown onto her uniform.

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  2. Maybe you need research what each badge represents.
    When my daughter was in the RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force)she (several times) took part in combined military forces actions :One was called Operation Pitch Black, and many badges were swapped with USAF, Singaporean, NZ and RSA personnel.. She had interesting and varied badges and stories to share. What a pity Aunt Marian didn’t include a note in her box of treasures.

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  3. She may just have enjoyed collecting them. She was in a good position to do so. The impulse to collect can be pretty strong. My dad collected stamps and coins, my mom leaned towad depression glass, and I collected china for a tme. One of my friends collects postcards from every town she visits, if they are available. She’s been doing it for thirty years, just tossing them in a box. Some day one of her descendents will find them and say, “What….????”

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  4. When uniforms are updated the old patches come off and she would have been in a position to retrieve the old patches. I am certain that some of these are on the Internet someplace. You could find out what they all were:)

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    1. I like the box, too. I should take a photo of just the box lid so that people could better see the various words and notes on it. . . . hmm. . . maybe that’s a future post. 🙂

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  5. If she was working in the quartermasters office she may have been tasked at changing the badges and strips. The quartermaster was where you turned your laundry in to be done. and where you picked it up. If your rank or unite changed you could have that done there. If you needed your uniform altered that would have been done through the quartermasters. Sometimes people didn’t want all their badges back after they were changed. I don’t know if they were charged for it then. I know later it would come out of your pay at the end of the month. Used badges would have been used over in some cases if new ones where not in stock.

    After the war there was a draw down and many units were disbanded and those badges were no longer needed so when you google WWII badges you may find most of them from units that was disbanded. She may of been able to keep a sample of each one because they were being thrown out.

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  6. I also want to tell you some of those badges or patches is worth some money. The one laying on the top in that picture, blue background, gold wings and star. That is the 8th Army Air Corp( European Theater) has a value of about $15 or more. The one with the boat wheel is the Port of Embarkation patch that is uncommon also.

    If she was nice looking she probably didn’t have any trouble getting badges given to her.

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    1. 🙂 I’ve been wanting to research some of these badges, but hadn’t gotten around to actually doing it. Your comment is motivating me to start doing it.

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