Important: Be aware that cancellation requests for bullion shoulder straps must be made within 24 hours of placing an order because of the substantial time investment required for the custom hand embroidery process.

When shoulder straps were first introduced for wear on the coats of members of the Army Chaplain Corps, they were used as an insignia of branch rather than rank. The February, 1880 War Department regulations stated that the strap was to be “black velvet, with a shepherd’s crook of frosted silver on the center of the strap,” and it was worn on a nine-button, black frock coat; before the strap was introduced, the black frock coat served as an insignia unto itself. The shepherd’s crook on the shoulder strap was changed to a silver cross in 1898.

Beginning in 1902, Chaplains wore the sack coat along with the appropriate branch insignia—Infantry, Cavalry, Coast Artillery, or Field Artillery—with a small cross just below it. As before, the shoulder strap was not used to display rank on the white and khaki uniforms, but was instead adorned with a plain metal Latin cross. In 1907, regulations were changed to specify the cross be bronze for the service uniform and silver for the white.
Starting in 1914, officers in the Chaplain Corps wore rank insignia on their shoulder straps, but in early 1918 they switched back to silver crosses. This continued until 1926, with crosses replacing rank insignia on every part of the Chaplain uniform (including sleeve insignia on overcoats). This move reflected the shared view of General John J. Pershing and AEF Chief of Chaplains Charles Brent that a rank display might hamper the lines of communication between soldiers and Chaplains. Their policy was disestablished in 1926 by Colonel John T. Axton, the United States Army’s first Chief of Chaplains.
Related Chaplain Corps Items
Chaplain Corps Collar Devices


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