Although almost exclusively associated with World War II because of the millions that were issued to American service personnel returning home at the war’s end, the Honorable Service Lapel Button was originally created and authorized for wear in June 1925. This pre-WWII button featured the same eagle-within-in-a-ring motif, but the vertical stripes at the bottom alternated red and white in color and the words “National Defense” were inscribed in a blue chief at the top.

The lapel button was revived with the design you see here, along with an Honorable Discharge emblem, during World War II. The button was worn on the left lapel by men and in a similar location by women; the emblem was a sew-on, lozenge-shaped patch with lapel insignia in the center designed for wear with military clothing. Both were designed to reflect the fact that the wearer had been honorably discharged from service and was no longer an active-duty servicemember.

The sew-on patch was necessary because civilian clothing shortages made it difficult for all returning veterans to immediately acquire non-military clothing, but Federal laws prohibited the wear of military uniforms under many circumstances. The emblem allowed servicemembers to wear their uniforms for a brief period while at the same time letting the public know that they were not on active duty.

In 1947, the original lapel button, which by then had been designated for service rendered prior to 1939, was rescinded, and the guidance for its replacement was spelled out: honorable Federal military service between 8 September 1939 and 31 December 1946. The insignia soon became known as the “ruptured duck” because to some eyes it resembled a waterfowl more than the national bird.

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.