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June 19th, 1965 Dated, U.S. Army, 1938 Pattern, White Color, Mess Dress Uniform, Belonging To A Combat, Artillery, Major General, Named: "William C. Bullock", The Deputy Commanding General Of The 3rd U.S. Army
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Description
 
This uniform is dated June 19th, 1965. It is a U.S. Army, 1938 Pattern, White Color, Mess Dress Uniform. It belonged to a Artillery, Major General (i.e.: a 2 Star General), named: "William C. Bullock". This uniform is of the 1938-ish Pattern, as it has several divergences from that common pattern. The number of facing buttons and the number of frontal button holes is not the same as for the 1938 Pattern uniform. This is not uncommon. After well over 40 years of collecting uniforms, and having owned several dozens of white color mess uniforms; we have found that a great many will vary from regulations. We have even seen quite a few of these mess uniforms that were, more or less, purchased right out of a local tuxedo shop, and not acquired through military outfitters. This accounts for many civilian features found incorporated into these neat uniforms. This practice is well documented with collectors today of these interesting uniforms.

The overall condition of this white color uniform jacket is in a LOW EXCELLENT CONDITION. It is of a bright white color and has no appreciable wear or moth damage. There are a few lose threads and a snag or 2 found here and there, but nothing that is very significant. There are, however, a few small stains found located on the cuffs which are mostly hidden from view. The underside felt cloth lining material found under the collar is a bit lose, but that is about it. There are 2 beautifully aged, gold bullion Officer's epaulettes found on each shoulder and which are matching. They are of the screw-down type which is proper, and they are made out of the correct material for the period. As is very common, these epaulettes are backed in black color wool cloth. That color was only supposed to be used on such epaulettes which were intended to be mounted on the dark blue color mess dress uniform. The white color mess dress uniform was supposed to use these same epaulettes, but only those which were backed in a white color cloth. This color matching practice was almost never adhered to in reality.

At this museum we have over 2 dozen of these uniforms. And interestingly enough, about 90% of the white color uniforms that we have, are of the black color backing type, and not the proper white color backed versions. And what is even more odd is that of the dozens of dark blue color mess dress uniforms that we have in this museum collection, none of the blue uniforms have the white color backed epaulettes. How odd is that? We surmise that since the blue color uniform was much more prevalent in use than the white color version; so there were consequently more of the black backed epaulette types available. When a white color mess dress uniform was acquired, it's owner simply removed his black backed epaulettes from his blue uniform and then slipped them on to his white color uniform (as an economy measure?). While the white color backed epaulettes definitely would not look good on the blue uniform, the black backed types do look good on the white uniform. Thus we believe, it is why they were often substituted. Since so many of these mess dress uniforms came from tuxedo shops, it is no wonder that simple things such as epaulette backing color was of no importance to anyone. These epaulettes are, however, of the proper slip-on type, and are secured with the proper screw type, small gold color buttons.

These buttons are not of the higher quality types as they have 1 piece faces. They are both matching and are not hallmarked. Moving on, the lapels of this uniform are of the proper non-branch colored type. We see no evidence of any metal insignia as ever having been placed on these lapels. And for some strange reason we can find no evidence of a miniature medal ribbon bar as ever having been pinned to the breast, which is odd as most of these uniforms at one time had such ribbon bars attached. Photographic evidence shows that some Officers eschewed the practice of the wearing of their medals, while some other Officers wore every piece of glitter that they could strap on. It all depended on the Officer in question, we suppose. Next, we note that there only 4 frontal buttons mounted on this uniform, with no evidence of there ever having been a total of 6 as is regulation for the 1938 Pattern. We do not know why there are only 4. Also, these buttons are sewn in place which is quite rare as almost all of the museum's white color mess dress uniforms have the more common removable type buttons. These removable type buttons greatly facilitated the cleaning of these delicate white color uniforms. If these buttons were sewn in, then the cleaning of the uniform would have been much more of a difficult process. The buttons used in this case are of the deluxe 2 piece face type found on more expensive uniforms. These buttons are all matching and are all hallmarked.

The next feature to mention are the jacket's frontal button holes. On this uniform there are only holes for the pair of tiny metal buttons that were connected by an attached metal cross chain. These buttons are not included, but we can supply 2 at a small additional cost if desired. On many of these uniforms there is a 2nd set of these button holes placed near to the bottom hem that were never to be used for actual buttons (they were only for decorative purposes).

As for the sleeves, each is properly covered in white color, general's lace/braid which is of the proper width and type. It is also of the proper 2 band width construction. Found sewn above the general's cuff braid are Bullock's 2 general's stars. They are of the proper color and material. They are directly embroidered on a white color twill type of a backing material. Then these embroidered stars were professionally hand sewn on to each sleeve. Note: 1 star is tiny bit loose though.

The back side of this jacket is unremarkable in that it has no features worthy of mention. Except perhaps that we should mention that it is cut in the correct way for such uniforms. Moving on to the interior of this uniform, it is in a HIGH EXCELLENT CONDTION, showing no damage. Incredibly, there are no perspiration stains found in the armpit areas. This is very rare indeed as almost all of these jackets that we have show some, if not a lot, of such staining. The lining is also free of tears and lose threads which is also quite rare to find these days. There is, however, a little bit of staining found around 1 of the jacket's inside tailor's tags, but it is not serious. Apparently, this uniform was well cared for and/or little worn by the general. The lining is of the full body type and looks marvelous. It has 2 inside pockets. While there is no tailor's tag found in the neck area, there is a large, green-ish blue tailor's tag found sewn on the outer face of 1 of the inside pockets. This label is of the "bevo" type, and it reads: "Lautenstein's, Uniforms of Distinction, San Antonio". This is a well known supplier of such uniforms. There is a 2nd tailor's tag found sewn inside of one of the inside pockets. It is also a larger size cloth tag. It is a bit lose fro mage, but otherwise it is O.K. It also has "bevo" style lettering, and it reads: "Lautenstein's, Uniforms of Distinction, San Antonio". But in this case the label also includes a "Name", "Date", and "Fabric" inclusion. Only the name and date were filled in, and they read: "Wm. Bullock", and "6-19-65" respectively, which is excellent proof of provenance.

And as a final embellishment, and great additional proof of provenance, this jacket has General Bullock's personal name monogram tailored in. This monogram tag consists of a black color artifical silk tag which has been hand sewn in this jacket, just above 1 of the inside pockets. This cloth tag has then had "bevo" style, blue and silver color letters hand embroidered over it. and which read: "WB", obviously for William Bullock. This my friends is as good as it gets!

Moving on, this uniform includes it's correct style of general's trousers of black color wool. They are of the proper cut and style, and include the proper 2 gold braid general's stripes running down each leg. The stripes in this case are of the cheaper "celon", or artifical gold material type. These trousers are in mostly O.K. shape, everywhere except fo much crotch moth damage, and 2 larger size holes found near one of the leg's gold stripes. There are several medium size moth holes, some the size of a dime located in the crotch area. Some of these holes could be sewn closed but some will need a small patch to fill in. There is ample excess material found inside these trousers to fabricate some of these patches from, so restoration should be possible with a tailor. There are also several tiny moth holes/tracks found elsewhere on these trousers, but the black color wool hides these smaller defects quite effectively. Due to this damage we will conservatively rate these trousers as in only a FAIR CONDITION. If the crotch damage was repaired by a tailor then these trousers would otherwise look much better. The inside of these trousers are correctly partially lined. The lining, for the most part is in acceptable condition showing only the usual wear and tear as should be expected. There is 1 partially broken, black color plastic button that was used to hold the suspenders to these trousers. The back side of the change (or watch fob) inner pockets has a blue color linen, cloth tailor's tag found machine sewn in. But, unfortunately, it is completely blank, showing no evidence of ever having been filled in otherwise.

As an inclusion the museum has added 6 pages of biographical research information delineating Major General Bullock's military career. To young for W.W.I, Bullock was a Lieutenant Colonel and then a Colonel in W.W.II. He was the Commanding Officer of the 13th Field Artillery Observation Battalion from D-Day in Normandy right up into Germany. He was responsible for coordinating the artillery fire for all of the VII Corp of the 1st U.S. Army in France, Belgium, and into Germany. His college and additional education included a masters degree in applied physics, with him specializing in acoustics and sound ranging. That served him well in a Artillery Observation capacity. He also taught that subject in military college. He also was in charge of an atomic bomb test which included the 1st cannon to fire an atomic shell in history (from the famous "Atomic Cannon"). Oddly he was at one time the Chief of Psychological Warfare as well. All of his military positions are clearly delineated in the biographical information that is included.

Comments from the Curator:

This is a nice grouping about an interesting combat officer of W.W.II to the Vietnam Conflict period. Bullock was a not a uninteresting staff or rear area general, thus making this grouping quite attractive to collectors that just have to have a combat officer. Bullock had several W.W.II and Korean War period combat awards which is all the more popular today. Since this is a small grouping of items, it is priced accordingly and should be attractive to a collector on a tight budget.

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