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World War II US Navy insignia; WAVES issued weapons
robert_huff wrote in little_details
Where: real life

When: early 1945

Searched: Google and Wikipedia on "'US Navy' + insignia", plus various historical websites

I'm gnawing on an idea for a mystery that takes place in Washington D.C. in very early 1945.

1) The focus character is a Marine major, and part of the plot involves him recognizing the (qualification ?) badge of someone assigned to Naval Intelligence.

I have found a site which shows something involving a magnifying glass crossed by a quill pen; however this is in a section of cloth badges for enlisted personnel. There is nothing explicitly pertaining to officers.

2) I have found a picture of W.A.V.E.S. training with a .22 caliber pistol. Given they could not, by law, serve off of U.S. soil and were with rare exception assigned to the continental United States ... were they issued a pistol/holster, or permitted to buy same?

My mother was a WAC, and while I know it's not the same as what you are looking for...they did weapons training with pistols and rifles, but they were not issued any weapons, and they did not carry any while working. This was on a base in the US during the Vietnam era.

I have found a site which shows something involving a magnifying glass crossed by a quill pen; however this is in a section of cloth badges for enlisted personnel. There is nothing explicitly pertaining to officers.

As you might know, in the USN, enlisted don't have "ranks" but have "rates," which is a combination of "rating" (occupational specialty, e.g. Intelligence Specialist) and pay grade (e.g. Petty Officer First Class). Someone with the quill-and-magnifying glass above three chevrons would be an Intelligence Specialist First Class. "Job" and "pay grade" are together on the badge.

Officers don't have rates; they have a rank and a designator. Rank insignia are worn on the shoulders and designator insignia (if any) are worn on the breast. Not all designators have breast insignia, and as far as I know, Intelligence Officer is one of those designators without insignia. It is possible there exists some medal specific to intelligence work the officer might be wearing, but I can't seem to think of any that existed in the 1940s.

Co-signing on this. Information Dominance Warfare is a new warfare designation (it was introduced in 2010 I believe) and would be the most fitting for your character, but doesn't quite fit your timeline. What you could do instead is look at medals and ribbons and say that your Naval Officer earned one of those decorations and the Major recognizes it. (As you may know, every branch has their own awards, and even the shared ones may look different or have a different significance - for example, the Navy enlisted award for Good Conduct is solid maroon, while the same award in the Marine Corps is maroon with a blue stripe down the center)

Here's a good site with military awards:
http://valor.defense.gov/

Edited at 2014-04-22 01:59 am (UTC)

> Officers don't have rates; they have a rank and a designator. Rank insignia
> are worn on the shoulders and designator insignia (if any) are worn on the
> breast. Not all designators have breast insignia, and as far as I know,
> Intelligence Officer is one of those designators without insignia.

Do you know enough to say whether the absence of a designator would have been sufficiently unusual as to be noticeable/remarkable all by itself?



The designator is the job class, which may or may not have an insignia.

I do not know enough to say the lack of insignia would be unusual, no. I'm a civilian WWII geek and this is outside my personal expertise, so I can only speculate.

I expect the lack of designator would strongly suggest the person was one of a half-dozen or so types of restricted line officer (AFAIK all or nearly all restricted line officers and staff officers had breast insignia at the time) but it's not like that's something particularly suspicious.

Sorry, "AFAIK all or nearly all UNrestricted line officers and staff officers had breast insignia at the time"