U.S. Army Majors are authorized to wear nonsubdued (i.e., gold) pin-on grade insignia on the shoulder loops found on the AGSU, the Black or Green Windbreaker, and the Black or Green All-Weather Coats, as well as on the sleeves of the Blue Mess and White Mess jackets. The pin-on metal insignia is also authorized for wear on the AGSU Garrison Cap and centered on the flash of the Beret worn with the Army Service Uniform (see link below). When the insignia is removed from the Windbreaker and All-Weather Coat, both garments may be worn with civilian clothing.

On the Blue or White Mess jackets, the nonsubdued grade insignia is centered in the area formed by the bottom two curves of the trefoil knot meeting the jacket’s sleeve braid (see Figure 16-9, DA PAM 670-1). However, we suggest either the Embroidered or Embroidered Bullion Rank Insignia (link below) for these two dress-uniform jackets because the pin-on metal does not provide as consistent an appearance with the embroidered sleeve ornamentation.


A single leaf was first used as the rank insignia for Majors in the United States Army in 1835, but at the time the leaf’s color was variable (either gold or silver, depending on the wearer’s branch) and, somewhat surprisingly, the leaf itself was generic. In fact, nearly 80 years would elapse before Army regulations revealed the type of leaf in its descriptions of the collar and shoulder-loop rank insignia for Lieutenant Colonels and Majors.

“Oak leaf, point up” was the prescription for both ranks, with the colors of the leaves for (silver and gold respectively) having been decided forty years earlier in 1872.

More Army Major Insignias
But perhaps the reason the Army didn’t specify that the Major’s golden leaf was from an oak was because they didn’t deem it necessary.

On the New York Metropolitan Museum’s blog site devoted to The Cloisters Museum and Gardens, we find that “In heraldry, the oak is the tree and the tree is the oak. It’s seen as a symbol of strength and endurance; even its leaves display a tenacity, less easily shed in the fall than the leaves of other trees. Lesser heraldic species, such as the linden or the holly, must be mentioned by name, despite being readily recognized.”

It's easy to see how Army officials, having chosen a leaf as symbol for the ranks of Lieutenant Colonel and Major, would simply assume everyone would know that it came from an oak, especially in light of the oak’s renowned strength and tenacity. Just as a tree without any description in heraldry is assumed to be an oak, a heraldic leaf not immediately identifiable as coming from another source is almost certainly an oak leaf.

About us

As a certified manufacturer of uniforms and insignia, The Salute Uniforms considers it a privilege to provide the members of our nation’s military services with superior-quality apparel and accoutrements. We guarantee that every product we offer is made in the USA and meets or surpasses Mil-Spec standards. Browse our online catalog and discover how our tradition of excellence and commitment to innovation makes us your best source for military uniforms, insignias, medals, and accessories.


100% secure payment

Salute Industries Inc, proud maker of The Salute Uniforms.
105 Apache Drive, Archdale, NC, 27263.