Chaplain Insignia


First Army Chaplain Insignia“The shepherd’s crook of frosted silver on a shoulder strap of black velvet was authorized in 1880 by General Order No. 10…

“A regulation of 1 May 1899 substituted a silver Latin cross for the shepherd’s crook on shoulder straps…”

“General Order No. 169 of 1907 [prescribed that] on the olive drab and khaki coats a bronze cross was to be worn in place of insignia of rank, and a silver cross on the white coat…

“On 15 August 1917 Special Regulations 41 and 42 made the silver cross the badge of the chaplaincy for all uniforms and placed it on the coat collar where other officers wore insignia of branch. This implied that chaplains should wear insignia of rank in the same manner as other officers…” (Honeywell, pg. 157).

Chaplain W.T. Baucom

WW1 Chaplain W. T. Baucom, prior to the insignia change of May 1918

In May 1918 the War Department published regulations implementing the recommendations made by General Pershing in a cable to the Secretary of War in March 1918 which removed insignia of rank from chaplains’ uniforms and moved the silver Latin cross from the collar to the shoulder loop, though some chaplains “ignored the order and continued to wear the insignia” (Stover, pg. 205).

About this time, with the increase in Jewish chaplains, the Secretary of War “authorized Jewish chaplains to remove the cross.” Then “on 15 October 1918 Jewish chaplains were authorized to wear a distinctive insignia representing the ‘Tables of the Law surmounted by the Star of David'” (Stover, pg. 204).

.Grade insignia didn’t return to chaplains’ uniforms until Army policy changed on 19 March 1926.




Honeywell, Roy J. Chaplains of the United States Army. Washington, D.C.: Office of the Chief of Chaplains, Department of the Army, 1958.

Stover, Earl F. Up From Handymen: The United States Army Chaplaincy, 1865-1920. Washington, D.C.: Office of the Chief of Chaplains, Department of the Army, 1977.

Photo credits

Shepherd’s Crook:



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