Monday, April 16, 2012
Grandpa's Badges & Awards
Melville Batt’s military insignia and awards, from the originals obtained from his wife Gene Batt. Top to bottom, left to right: 8th infantry division arm patch, dog tag, 28th infantry regiment cap insignia, infantry collar insignia, bronze star, combat infantry badge, good conduct ribbon, European theater ribbon, ribbon bar with 3 ribbons (left to right: World War II victory ribbon, Asia-Pacific theater ribbon - probably belonged to Vernon Batt, American campaign ribbon) The dog tag is stamped with his name, his 8-digit serial number, the year he received his tetanus shot (‘41) and the booster shot (‘42) and his blood type (O - positive or negative was not used in the 1940s) Underneath that is his next of k…in (my great grandmother) and his home address. The notch in the dog tag serves no purpose other than holding it in place when it’s stamped in the machine. American GI’s carried 2 dog tags at all times, one always stayed with the body if he was killed and the other was for a temporary grave marker. The idea of collecting dead soldiers’ dog tags was a myth perpetuated by Hollywood. It would have only made it harder to identify the deceased if their dog tags were removed.
The blue pin with the musket on it is the CIB, combat infantryman’s badge. It’s still in use today and is issued to all infantrymen who are in active combat duty after their first month or so in service. It means he saw action and performed his duties.
I still have no idea what he earned his Bronze Star for. The 8th Infantry book only mentions his name and rank as a Staff Sergeant and that he was awarded it on 28 Apr 1945. Curiously, his name is nowhere else in the book and his picture is also not in it where it should be.
If he was a Staff Sergeant, he must have had men under his command and been able to issue some orders.
Missing from this collection is his bronze cross uniform pin for rifle marksmanship. We don’t have it but it is visible in the previous photograph of him.