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That's not one or two leaves - that's a tree!

In the comments on my Father's Day post, the Auld Soldier opined thusly:
 

No fringe (or fraying ) on the national flag. The Battalion colors were fringed and that is what shows below and to the right of the US flag. For Old Fat Sailor - yes, my A battery was split between two miserable 5th SF group camps on the Cambodian border for over six months.

Not a hero,I was a professional soldier by choice, but I had a bunch of draftees I would put in that category.

Dad 

This is vintage Dad.  Concerned that someone would think he'd allow his Colors to get frayed, a shout-out to a fellow-traveler of the times, and a deflection of honor to others, uncomfortable of a simple reality. 

In a good way - would that more persons of the political class would suffer such humility.  As the words the Bard put in Duncan's mouth in Macbeth -
 

So well thy words become thee as thy 
           wounds;
They smack of honour both.

Or an echo of  Captain Guy Henry, United States Army, shot through the face at the Battle of the Rosebud 17 June, 1876 - 
 

It is nothing.  For this, are we soldiers.
Spoken like a Regular.

 

Colonel Tim Donovan's Purple Heart collection.  Gathered the hard way.  No stolen valor here.

For those who don't know - the medal represents the first award,  A bronze Oak Leaf Cluster represents a subsequent award.  You do the math for  Colonel Tim Donovan's Purple Heart collection.

Gathered the hard way, not a pawn shop or eBay.

No stolen valor here. 

That's not one or two leaves - that's a tree.  And none of them a scratch requiring no treatment, or a slice on the hand from a c-rat can garnered jumping into a bunker in response to indirect on the other side of the firebase.  Those are up close and personal - especially the bullets.  I remember a time at Fort Leavenworth, back in '64, when the Auld Soldier had to take a short break from a softball game because Chinese grenade fragments were working their way out of his arm.

Three in one war, four in the next.  Neither of them popular wars where you came home to acclaim, either.  One forgotten, un-noticed at home, almost.  The other a source of division and rancor.   Yet, no one went home early.  No, one simply did their Duty to the best of their ability, as the oath demands.

17 Comments

This discussion shows how unmilitaristic the US is.  In a militaristic country, everyone would know the difference between a flag and a color.  My question would be: If the Battalion Color is present why isn't the National Color? 
 
Jim - eh?  Both are present in the referenced picture in the referenced post.  You have confused me here.
 
Just so I know what I'm looking at: I see One Purple Heart and 7 clusters (my glasses are in the bedroom and I'm too lazy to go get them). Does that indicate 8 Purple Hearts from 8 incidents? If so, I would like to shake his hand and hope some of the luck rubs off. Hell, I'd like to shake his hand just for the first one.
 
There's six clusters, FM.  That second horizontal one just looks big.

So it's *only* seven.
 
Godfrey Daniels.
 
John, I respectfully disagree, that's not a tree, but a forest. *THANK YOU!* 
 
...and hope some of the luck rubs off.

No way. I'm staying the hell away from that guy. He's a bullet/frag magnet!

 
XBradTC...Ya think?

I should ask John whether after all the Auld Soldier been through, the Army found a job for him teaching young LT's how to duck.
 
John,

Sorry to confuse.  I must have been in weird mood.  Its just 75 years ago most folks would know the difference between flag and a color, or perhaps I so fantasize, and now I find not many do.  If we were a militaristic society, well, then everyone would know this difference caused by a fringe of gold.

My question was one of honors.  Since a flag is a lesser symbol than a color, I wondered why the American Flag instead of the National Color?  Seems to me ceremonies like that require both colors and the colors travel with units into harm's way.  So what happened that the National Color was not present?   Does this help any?
 
Yes, it does, and  I dunno, Jim.  Exigencies of war, perhaps?  Maybe Dad will weigh in.  I learned something today.  I don't think I've ever heard the distinction between fringe and no-fringe, though once you said it, it was instantly clear to me, as well as why.
 

That's quite a tree. Auld Soldier, sir - Thank you.  I'm glad you made it home to your family.

 
Well done Sir.
 
The Old Breed. Setting the standards that others try to follow but too often fail.

God Bless em all and your dad in particular. Not all the Old Breed pass on their strength and integrity as yours did.
 
Godfrey Daniels is right!! Hugs to you, Auld Soldier. I bet you like 'em as much as your son, but I'm sending 'em anyway :-)
 
I don't know whether the national colors have a higher precedent than the national flag. What I do know is that the national colors are strictly for the military, and our government flies the national flag, since we have civilian control of the military.

Indeed, national colors are strictly a unit phenomenon. Look at the headquarters of any post. They fly the national flag. The only time you see colors are mounted on a staff in a color guard.
 
A cattle farmer up the road a ways by the name of Falls served on the barges-I;ll pass the word.
 

So, I take it that the other two were through-and-through, or are they still in him?  Whatever, those jagged chunks look like they were quite ouchy.  Oh, and one of those looks like a pistol bullet.  I'd like to hear the story belonging to that one.

 

Lotsa folks have been instaneously killed dead by one hit from smaller objects than any of those.  I am glad that's not the case here, otherwise I wouldn't get to read this site which would not exist, nor its owner.  Or his Dad.