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Help identifying WW2 ribbon bars in photo
Old 08-31-2019, 09:59 PM   #1
robgalli
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Default Help identifying WW2 ribbon bars in photo

Can anyone tell me what the 8 ribbon bars are on my great uncle’s uniform? This photo is from 1943. My great uncle enlisted in the Navy in September 1941 and was a torpedoman on the USS Nautilus in 1942-43 and then on the USS Wahoo for her fatal voyage in late 1943.




Last edited by robgalli; 08-31-2019 at 10:13 PM. Reason: Added photos
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Old 08-31-2019, 11:17 PM   #2
Edward
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Very nice photo. I had to do a double take though. Do you have any service related papers in your family? Out of 7 of the 8 ribbons they would make your Great Uncle one of the highest decorated sailors of WW 2. I could certainly be wrong on some of them.

- Navy Cross
- Silver Star
- Navy & Marine Corps Medal
- Purple Heart
- American Defense Medal
- Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal w/ 2 campaign stars
- American Theater Medal
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Old 08-31-2019, 11:36 PM   #3
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I donít have any documents that mention any of his military awards. I do have documents showing his service with the USS Nautilus (SS-168) in 1942-43. Nautilus was involved in the Battle of Midway and the Makin Raid with the USMC and Carlsonís Raiders. This is the only photo I have of him. Iím hoping the ribbon bars are clear enough to someone who is an expert in WW2 medals and their corresponding ribbons bars to positively ID them all.
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Old 09-01-2019, 12:09 AM   #4
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Here’s one more close up.


Last edited by robgalli; 09-01-2019 at 12:24 AM.
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Old 09-02-2019, 11:15 AM   #5
Bill D.
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I had exactly the same thought as Edward.
The photograph seems to me to show awards that include the Navy Cross, the Silver Star, the Purple Heart and the Navy and Marine Corps Medal. That would be an extraordinary array of decorations. Beyond that, though, as Edward's posted illustration shows, the ribbons (if the identifications are correct) are seriously out of order on the ribbon rack.
Maybe I'm just not interpreting the photo correctly.
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Old 09-02-2019, 01:25 PM   #6
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Robgalli, you might already know this, but on the right sleeve your Great Uncle is wearing a 2nd Class Torpedoman rate patch. The other cloth patch on the left sleeve was to designate the Gun Captain in a gun crew. In this case one of the 2 Type XII 6" deck guns on a sub. Pic below of the gun.

Also, here is another photo of what the complete rack with all 8 ribbons should look like in order of precedence. The last one not mentioned in my first post appears to be an European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign ribbon.

Bill D, your point regarding the interpretation of the ribbon rack being out of order in the photo is a good one and imo correct.
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Old 09-02-2019, 02:16 PM   #7
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Here is a link to one of the websites listing Navy Cross recipients: https://valor.defense.gov/Portals/24...Cross-WWII.pdf

I would start by looking here for your uncle. If his name is here, there may be a list of Silver Star recipients.

A records request from NARA, or hiring a private researcher may be in order.

Steve
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Old 09-02-2019, 03:28 PM   #8
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The ribbons being out of order concern me. Also, I have not been able to find any websites listing Navy Cross winners of WW2 that contain his name: Walter Oswald Galli. Iím going to request his service records from the National Archive in St. Louis, MO, but that will likely take months before I get them.
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Old 09-02-2019, 03:47 PM   #9
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Another forum member recommended I try Redbird Research, a woman who specializes in military research. She may be able to find his records faster than my National Archives request. I’m going to give her a call to see if she can help me.

Last edited by robgalli; 09-02-2019 at 04:11 PM.
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Old 09-02-2019, 04:07 PM   #10
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When Edward mentioned gun captain, I immediately thought of this letter of commendation my great uncle received as a crew member of gun No. 1 on the USS Nautilus (SS-168) in September 1942. I hope you can zoom in and read it.





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Old 09-03-2019, 09:20 PM   #11
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★ Purple Heart
★ Combat Action Ribbon
★ World War II Victory Medal
★ American Campaign Medal
★ Distinguished Unit Citation
★ Good Conduct Medal
★ Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
★ Navy Expeditionary Medal

https://www.honorstates.org/index.php?id=95102

https://www.abmc.gov/node/485383

Last edited by 101combatvet; 09-03-2019 at 09:32 PM.
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Old 09-04-2019, 12:39 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 101combatvet View Post
★ Purple Heart
★ Combat Action Ribbon
★ World War II Victory Medal
★ American Campaign Medal
★ Distinguished Unit Citation
★ Good Conduct Medal
★ Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
★ Navy Expeditionary Medal

https://www.honorstates.org/index.php?id=95102

https://www.abmc.gov/node/485383
1. The Combat Action Ribbon did not exist until Vietnam.
2. The WW II Victory Medal was not issued until 1945.
3. The USS Nautilus (SS-168) was awarded the PUC for 3 wartime patrols during 1942. The Wahoo (SS-238) a patrol during early 1943. I can find no Navy PUC in the photo on the ribbon rack.
4. To my knowledge Navy Expeditionary Medals were not awarded during WW II. The newly created theater medals being awarded instead. Also, the 2 combatant vessels he served on during the war never received the award.
5. I do agree that their could be a Navy Good Conduct ribbon on the rack as the criteria for the medal was amended for the period of WW 2 allowing for an award with 1 year of war service. I do believe though that it is a Purple heart ribbon as their is a thin vertical stripe of white at each end of the ribbon.
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Last edited by Edward; 09-04-2019 at 01:32 AM.
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