Regarding the arm patch on the combat medic, I've been unable to find its meaning online. Could someone help me identify this?

I'm 99% sure the person (who is actually in the Air Force) is dressed as a WWII medic, though she happens to be in a vehicle from Vietnam; but tell me if I'm wrong.

enter image description here enter image description here

  • The clothing, webbing, and helmet certainly look like US GI - but aren't the rank chevrons on the badge upside down? It looks to me like British Army corporal chevrons, under a red cross (medic), and some kind of bird symbol...
    – user13123
    Jul 1 '16 at 1:44
  • 1
    @HorusKol I could be wrong -- I don't really have any background in this -- but I was thinking the bottom part means "2nd Class", the red cross because it's a medic or surgical technician, and the bird I presumed was an eagle? I thought it kinda looked a little like this Navy petty officer 2nd class insignia, but obviously the background color is different at the very least and this one doesn't have the red cross... navycs.com/gallery2/v/useful_images/military/PO2.jpg
    – Hack-R
    Jul 1 '16 at 1:53
  • yeah - after I commented, I started looking at other services
    – user13123
    Jul 1 '16 at 2:00
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    That is a Pharmacist's Mate, 2nd Class rating. My mother was one as a WAVE in the USN. Mar 19 at 20:08

I think it's the badge of a Second Class Petty Officer of the US Navy with a specialty as a medic, or hospital apprentice, or related discipline.

Link to image: https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/ref/Ranks&Rates/img/plate.jpg

And the article it is from: https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/ref/Ranks&Rates/index.html

Petty officer badges had downward pointing chevrons under the specialty badge, with the naval officer eagle at the top.

The color variation was probably a consideration of wearing the badge on khaki uniform (and darkening as camoflage).

I guess this would be what Navy Corpsmen would wear when landed with Marine units in the Pacific and elsewhere...

  • 4
    Thanks. I think you're right. I'm about to ask her and find out. If we got this right I think there's a better chance she'll go out with me :) I'll update this accordingly as soon as I hear back from her on it.
    – Hack-R
    Jul 1 '16 at 2:00
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    haha - good luck with that ;)
    – user13123
    Jul 1 '16 at 2:01
  • @tohowawohu thanks for the edit - I had trouble getting the image to display inline
    – user13123
    Jul 1 '16 at 5:29

That is the insignia for Pharmacist's Mate 2nd Class, a corpsman. The red cross in the middle distinguishes it from a Petty Officer 2nd Class.

Pharmacist’s mates are petty officers who, under the direction of medical officers, administer medical assistance, treatment, and services to naval personnel. They may serve in the sick bay or dispensary of a ship or shore station, at a naval hospital, or on a hospital ship. When assigned to a marine landing party, they render first aid to the injured on a battle field, or at a dressing station. Many pharmacist’s mates in addition to skill, training and experience acquired in the performance of general hospital duties, take specialized training and through practical experience become competent medical technicians in such fields as X-ray, clinical laboratory, pharmacy, epidemiology and sanitation, fever-therapy, etc. Those pharmacist’s mates who are employed as technicians are required to attend regular classes in general medicine to maintain skills and knowledge previously acquired.

United States Navy Rating Description for the Pharmacist Mate, Second Class, NAVPERS 15386, Navy Department Bureau of Naval Personnel, 1945

You can see an example here of Pharmacist's Mate Second Class George E. Wahlen, USN receiving the Medal Of Honor from President Truman.

enter image description here

Women in WWII could be Pharmacist's Mates via the WAVES. The woman standing in this picture is a Pharmacist's Mate 3rd Class.

enter image description here


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