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U.S. History/Identity of Soldier's Uniform


G.W. Caldwell
G.W. Caldwell  
The attached photo is of my uncle.  I would appreciate any information you can give me regarding what service this uniform indicates.  Is it a U.S. uniform?  He was born about 1897.

Hi Barbara,

The uniform appears to be that of a WWI era enlisted man in the US Army.  The chevron on his sleeve indicates he was a private.  The two chevrons down near the end of the sleeve indicates he served at least a year in service during the war (one chevron for every 6 months).  Although because the picture is black and white, I cannot be sure.  But I think the chevrons are silver, meaning he served in the US.  They would be gold if he served in France.  The insignia on his hat appears to be an insignia of the allies.

I suspect the picture was taken after the war.  It is unusual to see service ribbons on uniforms of this era.  Typically, most pictures are taken either undecorated, or with a full dress jacket with all the medals on it.  It became more common later for soldiers to wear service ribbons all the time, and was the norm by WWII.  That is why I suspect this may have been taken after the war had ended.  Also, privates typically did not even have the single stripe on their arm during the.  That rank identification for privates was added after the war in 1919.  So it appears by these markings that your uncle served in WWI, and remained in the army for at least a year or two following the war (and possibly longer).

I hope this helps!
- Mike  

U.S. History

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Michael Troy


I can answer just about any question on early American History. My specialties are the American Revolution through the Civil War/Reconstruction. I also have greater expertise in matters relating to military, political or legal history.


I have lectured at George Washington University regarding the Civil War, as well as several elementary school Civil War demonstrations. I was also a member of a Civil War reenactment group for about 10 years.


J.D. University of Michigan B.A. George Washington University

Awards and Honors
Truman Scholar

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