02 March 2013

Historical sleeve insignia of the 45th infantry division

Not of the German army, but of the U. S. Army.
The 45th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army was a major formation of the Oklahoma Army National Guard from 1920 to 1968. Headquartered mostly in Oklahoma City, the guardsmen fought in both World War II and the Korean War. They trace their lineage from frontier militias that operated in the Southwestern United States throughout the late 1800s...

The division's original shoulder sleeve insignia, approved in August 1924, featured a swastika, a common Native American symbol, as a tribute to the Southwestern United States region which had a large population of Native Americans. However, with the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany, with its infamous swastika symbol, the 45th Division stopped using the insignia. Following a long process of submissions for new designs, a new shoulder sleeve insignia, designed by a Carnegie, Oklahoma native named Woody Big Bow, featuring the Thunderbird, another Native American symbol, was approved in 1939.
After my post last month "All swastikas as not created equal," a family member notified me about this historic usage and about an extensive Wikipedia page entitled "Western use of the swastika in the early 20th century."

1 comment:

  1. This was a most auspicious find (although the web is a cornucopia of them admittedly), as I've been working a number of years on the Repossession of the Swastika, starting when I spotted a gigantic one on the prow of an Indian freighter docked in Vancouver harbor back in 1975.

    Guru Swastika, an artist living in Cranbrook, BC, has tattoed his body with swastikas and issued several books on the history of the symbol.

    Here in Indonesia it's commonly found in Balinese Hindu architecture and design. Drives ignorant tourists crazy.

    Jose Arguelles considered it a squared-off spiral in his excellent book on that subject.

    I think it's a mandala of rectitude and will be championed long after Mr. Hilter and his motley gang of thieving magpies are forgotten. (Charlie Chaplin even accused him of stealing his moustache).

    Keep up the good work.


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