Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Officer Insignia Misidentifications

RVNHS recently acquired a small grouping of original Republic of Vietnam army and air force rank insignia. The grouping was compiled over many years by a private collector. Among the grouping, labeled by the collector as an "ARVN 2nd Lieutenant" rank, was this insignia:

ROC Army Major Rank

This was not the first time we have seen this insignia labeled as Vietnamese, so we decided to make a post to clarify the matter.
The insignia above is a Republic of China / ROC ("Taiwanese") army insignia. The ROC uses five pointed insignia in a similar style as the Republic of Vietnam did. However, unlike the Republic of Vietnam, the ROC only uses these insignia for senior officer ranks from major (1 blossom) to full colonel (three blossoms). ROC army major to colonel's insignia is gold, while ROC air force major to colonel's insignia is all silver.
This differs from the Republic of Vietnam where 2nd Lieutenant to Captain was denoted with gold blossoms, and major to colonel with silver blossoms. 
The basic difference between the blossoms of the ROC and those of the Republic of Vietnam is that ROC blossoms are one layer with rays of varied length shooting out from the center, while all Republic of Vietnam blossoms were double layer, and  with rays of roughly equal length.
ARVN Army 2nd Lieutenant Rank