Item:
ONSV5069

Original U.S. WWI USMC 5th Marines Headquarters Company Uniform Insignia Patch - 2nd Division

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Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is an ultra rare uniform patch insignia from World War One for the 5th Marines Headquarters Company. The patch features a black velvet background that measures about 3 1/2" x 3 1/4" inches, with a felt five pointed star patch with an embroidered Indian Head sewn to the center. These patches are extremely rare and ones in this high grade very good condition are close to impossible to find on the market.

Almost 100 years after its inception, the 2nd Division’s distinctive star and Indian head insignia is perhaps the most sought after of all of the shoulder patches used by the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF). There are a number of reasons for this … One being the 2nd Division’s unmatched fighting record during the Great War. Another is that it was the only AEF division to be composed of Army, Navy and Marine Corps personnel. Still another is because the shoulder sleeve insignia (SSI) was authorized to be made from six different colors of cloth that were cut into fourteen different shapes, geometric and otherwise. 

In this system, the "black square" indicates the Headquarters Company of the 5th Marine Regiment, part of the 4th Marine Brigade. This is one of the only times they ever used army style unit patches, and generally each regiment used a different background shape, with the colors designating which battalion they were.

The U.S. Marine Corps did not field divisional size units during WWI, so they were made part of the divisions of the U.S. Army. In fact, the entire 2nd Division was for a time during WWI commanded by U.S.M.C. Major General John A. Lejeune himself!

The 5th Marines MG Company, along with the rest of the 5th Marine Regiment, was first organized on June 8, 1917, as the United States prepared for World War I. The battalion was composed of four companies: the 16th, 20th, 45th and 47th. Six days later, manned by Spanish–American War and Boxer Rebellion veterans along with a large number of raw recruits, they set sail for France. They participated in campaigns and battles such as Bois de Belleau, Vierzy, Château-Thierry, Pont-a-Mousson, Limey Sector, Fleury, Meuse-Argonne, Blanc Mont, St Michiel, Leffincourt and Soissons. The French Government recognized the young battalion by presenting it the Croix de guerre along with the Fourragère and changing the name of a French landmark, Belleau Wood, to "Bois de la Brigade de Marine" or "Wood of the Marine Brigade".

More on the 2nd Infantry Division - Indianhead

The 2nd Division was first constituted on 21 September 1917 in the Regular Army. It was organized on 26 October 1917 at Bourmont, Haute Marne, France. At the time of its activation, the Indianhead Division was composed of the 3rd Infantry Brigade, which included the 9th Infantry Regiment; the 23rd Infantry Regiment and the 5th Machine Gun Battalion; the 4th Marine Brigade, which consisted of the 5th Marine Regiment, the 6th Marine Regiment and the 6th Machine Gun Battalion; 2nd Brigade of field artillery; and various supporting units. Twice during World War I the division was commanded by US Marine Corps generals, Brigadier General Charles A. Doyen and Major General John A. Lejeune (after whom the Marine Corps Camp in North Carolina is named), the only time in U.S. military history when Marine Corps officers commanded an Army division.

The division spent the winter of 1917–18 training with French and Scottish veterans. Though judged unprepared by French tacticians, the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) was committed to combat in the spring of 1918 in a desperate attempt to halt a German advance toward Paris. Major General Edward Mann Lewis Commanded the 3rd Brigade as they deployed to reinforce the battered French along the Paris to Metz road. The Division first fought at the Battle of Belleau Wood and contributed to shattering the four-year-old stalemate on the battlefield during the Château-Thierry campaign that followed.

On 28 July 1918, Marine Corps Major General Lejeune assumed command of the 2nd Division and remained in that capacity until August 1919, when the unit returned to the US. The division went on to win hard-fought victories at Soissons and Blanc Mont. Finally the Indianhead Division participated in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive which ended any German hope for victory. On 11 November 1918 the Armistice was declared, and the 2nd Division entered Germany, where it assumed occupation duties until April 1919. 2nd Division returned to U.S. in July 1919.

The 2nd Division was three times awarded the French Croix de guerre for gallantry under fire at Belleau Wood, Soissons, and Blanc Mont. This entitles current members of the division and of those regiments that were part of the division at that time (including the 5th and 6th Marine Regiments) to wear a special lanyard, or fourragère, in commemoration. The Navy authorized a special uniform change that allows hospital corpsmen assigned to 5th and 6th Marine Regiments to wear a shoulder strap on the left shoulder of their dress uniform so that the fourragère can be worn.

The division lost 1,964 (including USMC: 4,478) killed in action and 9,782 (including USMC: 17,752) wounded in action.

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