U.S. ARMY STAFF SPECIALIST CORPS CAP / SLEEVE BRAIDS

Ornamental braids used on the cap and sleeves of the dress worn by members of the Staff Specialist Corps are manufactured in the branch color of Green (cable 65007). An officers-only branch of the Army National Guard and Army Reserve, the Staff Specialist Corps was originally established as a way to handle the enormous expansion of the number of officers in the Active Army that resulted from the U.S. entry into World War I.

Rapid advances in a wide breadth of technologies such as communications, transportation, weapons, and medical care meant that officers whose skills and experience did not make them suitable for traditional branches might well have talents that could be put to use in yet-to-be developed departments and branches. According to The Encyclopedia of United States Army Insignia and Uniforms, the Army designated them as “detailed, detached, and unassigned officers,” keeping them available either for assignment to new areas or for training to equip them for service in existing branches. The insignia approved for these officers in February, 1918 was a disc with the Coat of Arms of the United States (the obverse of the Great Seal).

August, 1933 saw the redesignation of unassigned officers to “Officers not members of Arm or Service,” and in November, 1941 the phrase “Special Reserve” was tacked on to the end of the title. Two years later, in an effort to further clarify the status of officers not assigned to a branch, the designation was changed again to “Officers and Warrant Officers not on duty with an arm or service; special reserve”—which was rescinded three months late because the inclusion of Warrant Officers was obviously an error. In 1947, the Army established the streamlined and succinct title of “Staff and Administrative Reserve,” simplifying it even further in 1950 to “Staff Specialist, USAR.”

The current official branch name, Staff Specialists, Army National Guard / U.S. Army Reserve, was introduced in 1979.
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