For those who served in the RVAH Community, their families, and friends!
Recently an old Navy buddy asked me if I knew what the two stars on the Dress Blue Navy jumper flap represented......I researched Naval Uniforms and found an article on Stars and Stripes but it only addressed the stripes on the jumper flap but not the two stars....Can anyone answer the question "What do the two stars represent"..........Ed Keefner
JUMPER FLAPS--the collar originated as a protective cover for the jacket to protect it from the grease or powder normally worn by seamen to hold hair in place.
STRIPES AND STARS ON JUMPER UNIFORMS--on 18 January 1876, Rear Admiral Stephen B. Luce recommended a collar with stars and stripes as a substitute for the plain collar used on the frocks of seamen. Three stripes on the collar was proposed for all grades, with the stripes on the cuffs to indicated grade. One stripe for E-1, etc.
Google & you will find a whole bunch of interesting history
Maybe it's just something Admiral Luce for it did say stars & stripes - someone else will find something on this.
From a site I found on the InterNet: Navy Uniforms Q & A - United States Navy uniforms have essentially followed the British traditions.
Q. What is the significance of the three white stripes on a sailor's jumper?
A. The three rows of tape on the collar of the British bluejackets' jumper was authorized in 1857. Originally, it was suggested two rows of white, but for unknown reasons the Admiralty decided on three. The idea of commemorating Nelson's three victories was never mentioned at the time. Therefore, the three lines on the collar of a bluejacket blouse are selected for decorative effect and have no special significance. Sea stories hold to Nelson's victories.
Unfortunately, this theory is not substantiated by any historical record, nor is there any good reason why the US Navy should commemorate the successes of a British admiral. The white tape on the blue flap is simply decorative, and seamen have worn black silk neckerchiefs for centuries, black being a perfect color to hide grime.
This explanation may hold true for the British Navy as a well as the Royal Canadian Navy, as they still wear three stripes on their uniform flaps as a matter of tradition, but neither (as well as similar world navies) have any "stars" appearing along with their stripes.
From what I have been able to ascertain, the stars and stripes on US Navy "Crackerjack" uniforms are a uniquely American tradition hearkening back to a young nation's patriotism and honoring the national flag. Some have suggested it was purely for decoration purposes, but I have found reference to US Naval enlisted men's uniforms dating back to the early 1800's. Look at the 1878 painting “Decatur Boarding the Tripolitan Gunboat”, by Dennis M. Carter, where he illustrates the common sailor's white frock tunics with blue collars, and clearly visible are the three white stripes and stars. This was from the period of the First Barbary War in 1804.
As early as the War of 1812, US Navy sailors wore white frocks with blue collars. In 1815 Boston Navy Agent Amos Binney sought “five hundred cotton Frocks, one yard long from the collar, the collar, cuffs, and bosoms lined with blue nankin [nankeen, a plain-woven cotton].” Although there are no images of American navy frocks during the war, the description offered by Binney sounds very much like the decorated frocks worn with increasing frequency in the 1830s and 1840s. It is possible that this fashion was retained for thirty years afterward, not so much because slop clothing (everyday working clothes) tended to be conservative in cut, but rather in honor of the 1812 generation.
That frocks were frequently decorated in some manner can be seen from an 1816 navy clothing contract proposal, in which a potential supplier promises “Duck Shirts if Made Plain, that is without any ornamental trimmings or work, [for] one dollar and fifty cents.” British deserter Samuel Leech, serving on USS Siren in 1813, remembered, “I ... adopted that peculiarity of dress practiced by American men-of-war’s men, which consisted in wearing my shirt open at the neck, with the corners thrown back. On these corners a device was wrought, consisting of the stars of the American flag, with the British flag underneath.” The garment Leech describes is not a “body shirt,” but rather a frock embroidered by the crew.
Another interesting fact: Pompous, Egotistical, General George Armstrong Custer had a special-made uniform that resembled a sailor’s tunic with wide blue collar and three concentric white stripes and a single star in each forward corner signifying his rank of Brevet Brigadier General.
Custer’s orderly Joseph Fought wrote: “Custer approached with a paper in his hand and said: ‘I have been made a Brigadier General, how am I going to show my rank?’ ‘Well’. Fought said ‘the Rebels have been through here and have robbed and threatened everybody. But I will see what I can do.’ ‘Late that night” he said, “I found an old Jew and in his place he had box of clothing and uniforms and stars.
Together we made up a uniform and sewed on the stars. I went back and found the captain in his room at the headquarters. He was so excited.” It would appear that he could not wait to wear his new general’s uniform and lead his troopers into action.”
Still another reference appears from a young sailor's 1867 uniform on exhibit on the USS Constitution in Boston Harbor:
Seaman Jefferson followed the old sailor tradition by embellishing his clothing with embroidery. A narrow, naturalistic vine of foliage follows the trousers’ fall, or front flap. Contrasting white stitching decorates the frock’s blue scalloped cuffs. Wavy white cotton gimp outlines the bottom edge of the cuffs and the edges of the neck, while two white embroidered stars complete the collar.
I looks like the answer is someone just liked the two stars as decoration...Thanks.............