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.
General Winfield Scott is known as the “Father of Civil
Affairs” for the wisdom and foresight he displayed in establishing rules and regulations concerning not only how his troops would treat civilians in the territories in which they were fighting, but also how the military would interact with local governmental entities once hostilities were concluded and order was being restored. Following his conquest of Mexico City in 1847, Scott served as the city’s military commander and was widely hailed for the fairness he displayed, treating lawbreakers the same regardless of their nationality.

But Scott’s exemplary standards of military governance and upright dealings with a defeated populace seem to have faded from the memory of Army generals who were faced with the same tasks just a few years later. In contrast with Scott’s order to respect the rights and property of Mexican citizens and the Roman Catholic Church, for instance, Union General William Tecumseh Sherman made plunder and destruction his primary tactics during his infamous “March to the Sea” in 1864-1865. Corruption was rampant in the Reconstruction-era South, and the citizens of Southern states who had hoped that Lincoln’s plea of “with malice toward none, with charity for all” would guide the victors’ in their policy-making found themselves under military.

Civil Affairs Command Insignia
This less-than-illustrious track record continued into the Twentieth Century, with a military victory over Spain followed by extensive fighting against insurgent movements in Cuba and the Philippines. The fighting was particularly brutal in the Philippines, with hostilities against the occupying American forces on a significant scale until 1913. World War I, on the other hand, saw American forces (the Third Army) admirably perform occupation and administrative duties in Germany, with the vast majority of Germans in the zone of occupation controlled by the Americans grateful not to be under French arms.

But Colonel Irwin Hunt, the Third Army’s Officer in Charge of Civil Affairs, understood that this success came in spite of the lack of preparation by the Army. Hunt urged the Army to develop a Civil Affairs program that would create a cadre of officers who were familiar with the intricacies of effective civil administration. While his pleas went largely unheard during the interwar years, his advocacy for the importance of civil affairs doubtless helped lead to the establishment of a School of Military Government in April, 1942 and President Franklin Roosevelt’s order to establish the United States Army’s Civil Affairs in March, 1943.

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