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WWII/1954 Period, US Army, 1944 Pattern, Jackets, Field, Wool, OD Dark, Officer's or "IKE" style jacket, belonging to Brigadier General (i.e.: a 1 Star General), named: "Russell T. Finn", the former Commanding Officer of 609th Tank Destroyer Battalion
WWII/1954 Period, US Army, 1944 Pattern, Jackets, Field, Wool, OD Dark, Officer's or "IKE" style jacket, belonging to Brigadier General (i.e.:  a 1 Star General), named:  "Russell T. Finn", the former Commanding Officer of 609th Tank Destroyer Battalion


 
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Description
 
This uniform is undated inside, but is dated by the accompying biographical information file. This uniform is of the W.W.II period. General Finn received his star in 1954. This uniform is a 1944 Pattern, Jackets, Field, Wool, O.D. Dark Officer's. They are often called "IKE" style jackets after Dewight Eisenhower who advocated their adoption in latter W.W.II. The jacket was patterned on the British Army's uniform. During W.W.II some people called these jackets "chocolates", or when worn with the "pinks" trousers, call the set "pinks & greens". This uniform is in low-mint/high-excellent condition with only 2 tiny moth nips. The jacket inside is fully lined and is perfect. There is a chocolate and white, bevo-like tailor's tag sewn on the outside of the inner pocket. It reads: "Sanders-Uniforms of Quality Distinction, 130 S. 15th ST. Phila. PA". There are 2 inside pockets and each has a sewn in garment workers union cloth tag. Inside of one pocket has a sewn in small white tag that reads: "R.T. Finn 016237-FA" ("FA" = Field Artillery). The 2nd inside pocket has this inked in: "R.T. Finn 016237 FA". What wonderful proof of provenance this is! This is only the 3rd uniform that this museum has seen in recent memory where the solider's name was indicated twice (how rare is that !).

The buttons are the correct brown color and are sewn on with correct thread. Each upper collar lapel has matching, non-hallmarked "US" pins. There are no lower collar lapel pins althrough he is shown in the enclosed GIANT photo file (which is included), wearing several different designs (WOW - you can pickyour favorite!). There are 2 really cool single General's star insignia found pinned on each shoulder epaulette. They are quite exceptional! Each, and they are matching, is hallmarked "sterling" and are of the clutch-back style. But they are of a never seen before "low profile" style, not the usual higher relief type. And they have a WWI style "pebbled" surface. There stars are just too cool t believe, and we wish that we could keep them for ourselves - but they are original to General Finn' uniform, therefore they go to the lucky person who purchases the grouping (Darn!).

The upper right shoulder sleeve has a 5th United States Army patch for past combat service, and it is correct to the information given in his massive biographical file (which again is included). Sewn on the upper left shoulder sleeve is a patch for current service in the 8th United States Army. On his uniform he wears 15 award ribbons, and they are pinned on with gaps between each row. This drives some uninitiated collectors just nuts as "it is not regulation". Well "phooey" to regulations! Anyone who has studied period uniforms and photos will have seen this practice done before - albeit a rare practice in fact. His ribbons show 5 bronze stars (not the regulation 1 silver star) for 5 campaigns in Europe. He also has 3 bronze stars for campaigns in Korea. He also has some nice foreign decorations as well. His lengthy biographical file corroborates in detail all of the above data.

Sewn on his lower left sleeve (correct for WWII placement, not post war right side placement), are a whopping 9 "Hershey Bars". That equals 4 1/2 years served overseas. But his sleeve must not have been long enough for all his bars because his biographical file indicates that he could have worn an amazing "16 Hershey Bars". If he did choose to wear all 16 bars he would have had to re-locate his elbow higher up his arm to accommodate them all!

This uniform includes a pair of chocolate color, Officer's trousers, and they are in MINT! condition. They have been re-issued as is quite common showing 4 different serial numbers inside. They are inked twice in pen inside with the name of: "Dowd 7878-1", and "Dowd A-2". There is a bevo-like, common, private purchase tag sewn inside that reads "Regulation Army Officer's Trousers". Also found sewn inside is another tailor's tag that reads: "January 25th, 1945 dated, Trousers, Wool, Elstique, OD, Dark, Officer's, Pat. Date March 1944, MFR.505, P.O. 11774 PQD 49C". Now for some really cool extras. First up is a fantastic 10 piece photo and biographical military career file. It shows that the then Major Finn was both the Activization Officer and the 1st Commanding Officer of the famous 609th Tank Destroyer Battalion in early 1942. During W.W.II he saw combat as a Battalion and later Executive Officer in the 190th Field Artillery Regiment. From mid W.W.II to the end of hostilities he held many positions, and later was the Commanding Officer, of the "US Assault Training Center".

In the 1945 to 1949 period he was stationed at Adolf Hitler's house/headquarters in Berchtergarden (that's cool!) as the post Commanding Officer (many enclosed pictures are included showing him there). Later he served in H.Q. in Korea - doing several tours. He finished his military career as the Chief of Staff of the 5th United States Army (in Chicago - which is odd as he spent most of his life overseas!). The next item included is a aged, but functional, brown leather brief case of a rather complicated construction (must have been made by the Gerrys!). But the best part is that it is stenciled on it's face "R.T.F. O-16230" (more great proof of provenance folks!).

Next up is a manila envelope dated 1942 to them "Lieutenant Colonel" Finn, 609th Tank Destroyer Battalion, Fort Bragg, NC. This is more proof of his T.D. service and Commanding Officer status. Another inclusion is a letter and invitation card dated 1948. General Finn was largely involved in directing multi-national sports activities in 1947/48. There are 2 matching programs dated 1947 titled: "Allied Forces Sports Council Presents The Second European Track And Field Championship Sponsored BY USA, Olympic Stadium, Berlin, Germany, 1400 HRS, 13-14 Sept. 1947". Each of these 2 programs each contains a custom made gold color medal attached to a funky gold lame ribbon (looks real cheap to us for a sports medal!). Another inclusion is a "Allied Forces Sports Council, Swimming Championships", 1946 dated, un-filled out, award certificate.

Lastly, there is an AMAZING! 71 original photographs included! Many are very rare for the period 8"X10" in size. The pictures show General Finn in uniform and in civilian clothes, on duty and on vacation in the German Alps. Other pictures show him with foreign dignitaries in Germany and in Korea. There are Chirstmas celebration photos, sports competition pictures of competing track & field athletes from many nations, and the most absolutely wonderful photos of General Finn hosting a German children's SOAP BOX DERBY! competition (you gotta see-em to believe-em!). These pictures are worthy un-to themselves of publishing - and they are very high quality too (unusual for the genre). Some of the photos are even captioned in back, but with careful examination under a magnifying glass, much can be ascertained from these clearer - than - average photos. This grouping is a sports lover's dream come true. They are the best we have ever seen-ever!

Comments from the Curator:

If you are a TD aficionado, or just plain sports "nut", then this exotic grouping is for you. Proof of provenance is beyond exceptional. The uniform is very attractive - the "Hershey Bars" being most striking of all. The photos are great beyond description. All in all this is a just plain good ole' grouping that will please any serious historian and/or collector.

Note: a proper hat, shirt, tie, trousers belt and buckle, and a pair of brown color shoes can be added at extra cost

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