Our tie tack or tie clasp for O-1 officers features a single gold bar, the rank insignia for 2nd Lieutenants (Army/Air Force/Marine Corps) and Ensigns (Navy/Coast Guard). Although a tie tack or tie clasp is an optional uniform item, it is a highly affordable way to add an extra bit of professionalism to your appearance.

Many civilians and military personnel alike have often wondered why the rank insignia for 2nd Lieutenants and Ensigns, the lowest of commissioned officer ranks, is gold while the insignia for an O-2 officer (1st Lieutenant or Lieutenant Junior Grade) is silver, especially since gold is typically considered more precious and valuable (think of Olympic medals).

Several explanations have been concocted to explain this seeming anomaly, one of the most popular being that younger officers are just beginning to be “molded” by the traditions of a branch of service and are more malleable, just as gold is more malleable than silver.
The reality is actually a convoluted saga involving epaulettes, shoulder straps, branch of service in the Army, and sheer pragmatism: Once the Army set the precedent for having a silver oak leaf represent a higher-ranking officer (Lieutenant Colonel) than a gold oak leaf (Major), it applied the same system to 1st and 2nd Lieutenants (although there was discussion of changing the 1st Lieutenant insignia to two bars and the Captain’s insignia to three).

The Army did not have a rank insignia for its 2nd Lieutenants until 1917, while the Navy introduced the single gold bar for Ensigns in 1922.

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.


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