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United States Uniforms
1964 Dated, U.S. Army, "Coat, Man's, Wool Serge, AG 44, Class 3, E.M.", or Army Green Uniform, Belonging to a Major General, Named: "Kilmer"
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This uniform is dated 1964. It is a U.S. Army, "Coat, Man's, Wool Serge, AG 44, Class 3, E.M.", or as they are also known as the Army Green Uniform. These is a plastic name tag found pinned on the right upper breast pocket flap with the name of: "Kilmer" engraved on it's face. The museum is presently trying to identify this General by obtaining his biographical career information. But so far we have been unsuccessful in this search. Because of the lack of career information for General Kilmer, the selling price is considerably lower than other Generals that have an identified career portfolio. The savings is yours.
This uniform is VERY UNUSUAL! Taking a closer look at the inside tailor's tag and you will notice that in the wording there is a "E.M." designation. This translates to mean that this uniform was originally intended for an Enlisted Man. It is fairly common to find Army Green Uniforms re-issued several times to different soldiers over the years. It is also not all tha rare to find Army Green Uniforms intended for Enlisted Men to be re-issued to an Officer, and vise versa (O.D. color Ike jackets are notorious for this interchange anomaly). However, such uniforms must be retailored with appropriate briad and insignia for the transition to be effective, just as was done in this case. But what is really rare to find on this green uniform is that it has been retailored up to the rank of a Major General! We have many original, re-issued Enlisted Men's and Officer's uniforms in the museum collection, including a great many General's uniforms that have the earlier rank of a Colonel inscribed in them from a prior time. But this is the first Army Green General's Uniform that we have ever owned that originated not just as a lower rank Officer's uniform, but as in this case, had originated as an Enlisted Man's uniform.
We have in our collection several original O.D. color Ike jackets that were re-issued to Officers, and even 2 that were re-issued to Generals, which is fairly common for this type of uniform. But for Army Green Uniforms, they are almost never found retailored up to the higher rank of a General. Now, looking at this piece, the retailoring on this uniform was not all that well executed in several small ways. This probably indicates that the tailor was not a professional, and thus this uniform was probably done at home. The extra wide, black color mohair cloth General's cuff braid is of the correct type, and has been correctly hand sewn to each sleeve (it would have been machine sewn if the uniform had originated from the maufacturer as a General's uniform from thevery beginning). The sewing is not as tight and straight was would be expected from a professional tailor. While anything can be faked these days, and pretty much is; there is little reason to fake an Army Green Uniform as they are as common as wood. And Officer's uniforms are just as common too, so why use a Enlisted Man's uniform if you were going to make a fake when more correct Officer's versions are just as available? There would be no need to fake this type of a conversion as un-named/un-identified General's uniforms can be found without too much expense, thus making a faking economically pointless.
Trousers are also included and they show where the 2 double stripes of a General were added by hand sewing to complete this conversion to a General. An experienced uniform collector knows that these conversions did in fact happen, and such conversions are well documented in various reference books and collection. And finding 1 is considered great luck as these conversions do not show up as often as other uniforms, making them quite a find. If you think that this uniform conversion is a fake, well so be it, and just walk away from it. But a knowledgeable collector out there who knows his subject matter will undoubtedly scoff it up when it is realized just how nice a price it is. Also to note is that when removing the clutch backs from the various metal insignia, you will notice that an imprint of the clutch's rear face is plainly evident on the uniform cloth that was in contact with those clutches. These imprints from the clutch rear faces takes quite some time to imprint into the cloth, which is a good indicator that this General's metal insignia has been in place there for quite some time. If faking were takng place, then any recently added clutches would have left almost no imprint to the mating cloth. Therefore, from these many observations, we are confident here at the museum that this uniform is a genuine conversion and not some modern fantasy piece that was made to deceive some novice. While nobody can guarantee that faking was not involved, if we had any doubts about the trueness of this conversion, then we would not have purchased it! Experience is everything!
As for the condition of this uniform, we conservatively condition rate it as in EXCELLENT CONDITION. It has no major defects worthy of mention. However, this uniform is somewhat dusty from age. We left this lightly soiled condition just as it was when we found it, as this dusty condition left a sort of a shawdow around the perimeter of the 4 silver color General's stars found pinned to each epaulette. The reason that we left this easy-to-clean soiling was that it shows that the 4 General's stars were pinned on the epaulettes for quite some time in order for the uniform to acquire this shadowing condition. This shadowing helps a little to confirm the originality of this uniform conversion.
As mentioned above, found pinned to each shoulder epaulette are 4 silver color metal General's stars. Because of the dusty shadows found surrounding each star, we have not removed these stars to see if they are hallmarked or not as this would disturb the dust shadowing. But they do appear to be matching nevertheless.
The next insignia to discuss are the 2 gold color metal "U.S." Officer's collar devices that are found pinned to each upper collar lapel. They too have the same dusty shadows and clutch cloth imprints as mentioned on the above stars. These "U.S." insignia themselves, besides their clutches, also left their imprint in the facing cloth of the collar from having been placed there for a long time.......just the same as the clutches did on the backside of the collar. This indicates that these 2 Officer's insignia were pinned there for quite some time and not just a recent faking addition. This is good proof of this uniform being a true Officer's conversion. Peeling back the cloth we can see that these U.S. pins ar both hallmarked and are matching.
The buttons found on this uniform all are of the more expensive, 2 piece face design which is usually indicative of someone who had the extra cash (like a more affluent Officer) to invest in higher quality insignia. The larger buttons are all hallmarked and matching. As for the 6 smaller size buttons, it is difficult to see their back sides, but they appear to be matching and all are hallmarked. We believe that all of the many buttons are of the same hallmark, but we are not sure because the little ones are partially hidden from view. As for the attaching threading from these buttons, it is of the correct type and gauge.
Moving on, as mentioned previously, each sleeve cuff has had the extra wide, General's, black color mohair cloth rings that have been hand sewn on. These rings are of the proper type for a General. And their hand sewing is indicative of what would be correct for a ocnversion to a General, even if the sewing was somewhat crudely done.
The next item to mention is that there is a correct plastice name plate found pinned on the upper left pocket flap with the name of "Kilmer" engraved on it's face. As of now this is the only evidence that we have of the identity of this General's name (hopefully until we finally hit pay-dirt with our research attempts). There are many manufacturers of these plastice plates, and this example is of atype that we have only seen a few times. It is not of the more common manufacturing method as found on the more common types. This example has 2 separately glued-on clutch post attaching points found on ths back side. The more common types have a single, glued attaching bar that then in turn had the 2 clutch posts permanently attached to the bar, mking it 1 assembly. This style is not of the more modern style which they make today. These newer types are made quite differently in back, and are easy to differentiate from the "oldies".
General Kilmer has many award ribbons pinned to this jacket. They were pinned on as small groups of ribbons, and not just as 1 giant, 1 piece assembly as is more common. His ribbons are as follows: "Distinguished Service Medal", the "Silver Star Medal", the "Legion of Merit Medal", the "Purple Heart Medal", the "Air Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters", the "American Defense Service Medal", the "European/African/MIddle Eastern Campaign Medal with 3 Bronze Stars, the "Army of Occupation Medla", the "W.W.II Victory Medal", the "National Defense Service Medal", the "Korean Service Medal with 2 Bronze Stars", the "Armed Forces Expeditionay Medal" (it's a rare award), the "Vietnam Service Meal with 3 Brone Stars, the "Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal", the "Republic of Vietnam PResidential Unit Citation", and the "Vietnam Presidential Unit Citation.
If this uniform were indeed a true conversion and not some modern fake of an Enlisted Mna's uniform that was converted to that of an Officer, then there should be some sewing imprint evidence of the E.M.'s old sleeve rank insignia found inside the sleeves. And this ocnversion does not disagree as it is TRUE to the point as both inner sleeves show evidence of prior cloth sleeve rank patches as once having been machine sewn there. The inside of the let sleeve appears to show only 1 stitching imprint for 1 rank patch as once having been sewn there for an E.M. But the inside of the right sleeve is quite odd in that it shows a sewning imprint for 2 cloth patches as having been sewn there previously. We can not positively explain this anomaly as both inner sleeves should show the same quantity and shape of sewing imprints for matching rank patches. Of the right sleeve with the 2 sewing imprints, both imprints appear to have been for similar rank patches. Although I imprint does not have a odd, dog-leg sewing imprint protruding from it's bottom right hand area that looks something like the shape of the Cape Cod hook portion of the Rhode Island state map. This dog-leg portion may have been a sewing error slip-up. Most likely the wrongly sewn patch was then removed and then re-sewn back on in a slightly different location to correct the error, thus the extra sewing imprint. This is a relly cool discovery that we have only seen a few times in our 50 plus years of collecting uniforms. It shows that we all make mistakes at one time or another. Incidentally, the inner sleeves show no sewing imprints for any other insignia.
As for the rear side of this uniform, it shows nothing worthy of mention and no detractions other than the light soiling mentioned earlier.
Moving on to the interior portion of this uniform, it is of the common, partially lined type. Other than some lower inner hem area soiling, it is in nice shape. There is a sewing imprint for a round shape cloth patch found in the upper left inner sleeve area, but alas, this patch was removed. A round shape patch could be for either an Enlisted Man, or for an Officer, so this fact does not help us to identify this General's identity/unit, which is a shame as we would just love to know if he had any "Tank" in his blood. The next detail is that found sewn in the inner neack area of this uniform is a standard, white color cloth manufacturer's tag. This tag reads: "38R" for the size, and then it has a "8405-286-5151" inventory number that is printed in the correct black color ink. Next, there is a very large, albeit common, black color style, laundering tag which is embroidered in silver color lettering and then was machine sewn to the outer face of the inner right inside pocket. It is a common item found on Army Green Uniforms of the period. There is also another white color cloth manufacturer's tag found sewn inside of this same inside pocket. It is of the usual garden variety with black color printed lettering, and which reads: "Coat Man's Wool Serge Ag 44, Class 3 E.M.". It has the contract date of 1964 inked on it's face along with it's inventory number of "DSA-1-4378-64-C", and then a "100% Wool" designation. It also has a large hand stamped, inked in number of "33", which we believe to be a quality control inspector's identity mark.
This uniform includes a pair of 1986 dated trousers. They exactly match in material cloth that of the uniform, even though they are of 2 different dates. These trousers are in EXCELLENT CONDITION showing no major detractions. As mentioned previously, they have had the dual, black color, mohair cloth stripes of a General added down each leg. They have been hand sewn on which is definitely correct for a conversion to that of an Officer. These stripes however, were not well executed as their hand sewing is not as perfect as that of factory machine sewing. And the really odd, but cool thing to notice about these 2 dual side stripes are that they have been sewn on to each leg side seam in a different location manner. You see.......each leg has 1 of these stripes correctly sewn to the trailing edge of the leg's out side seam. But when the 2 stripe was added to each leg, on 1 leg, 1 side stripe was sewn behind the 1st stripe, while on the opposite leg, the 2nd side stripe was sewn in front of the 1st stripe. When wearing these trousers, the 4 side stripe locations are not noticeable, but when you hang these trousers on a hanger, the error then becomes a little bit noticeable. This is an incredible error, and one not probably done by a professional tailor, but one that was probably done by a "mom" or "wife" type tailor who didn't notice the placement error. It is a very subtle mistake. Next, there is a standard, white color cloth manufaturer's tag found machine sewn inside on 1 of the pocket bags. It has black color inked in lettering which reads: "Trousers, Men's, Wool Serge, AG-44, Type I, Class I", and which includes the contract date of 1968, etc. There is also another white color cloth tag found machine sewn in at the waist line area. It is of the usual black color ink printed variety, and it reads: "Regular W-37 L-34", and then it has it's part number as well. The rest of the interior of these trousers are in GOOD CONDITION, as they show little wear.
Comments from the Curator:
Uniform conversions such as this are a VERY touchy subject with people as conversions are not hard to fake. But just ask yourself this .........just what in this world is not being faked these days? Army Green Uniforms are no exception to this unfortunate rule. Most collectors realize that conversions are not worth the time and money to monkey with. There are plenty of original uniforms still out there to dig up, so why bother? If you are not knowledgeable on this well documented ocnversion process, then please do not give us any comments on it as we have not interest in hearing from arm-chair "experts". We have over 50 plus years of uniform collecting experience. Our present uniform collection is over 2,000 Tank and Cavalry uniforms. Over the years we have inspected many thousands more uniforms. We have seen many conversions, including fakes that were both crudely done and some that were well refined in execution. Our great many years of experience tells us that this is a TRUE conversion and not some fake. Duhhh.....that is why we bought it in the first place! If you do not like this grouping, or do not agree with our synopsis, then just walk away from it as it is not for you. But for those knowledgeable collectors/historians out there that DO know their subject matter, then this conversion is a great find. If we are successful later on with our search for biographical career information on Kilmer, then the price will be increased to effect that added data. Priced for an easy sale.
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Sale Price: $900.00
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