Those acquainted with me know I am a passionate USMC collector, historical enthusiast and have been for many years. I have condensed my USMC collecting to UNIS marked utilities, and researching the brave Marines who wore them. Running in hand with this is a passion to understand more about the UNIS beginnings. There are scattered extracts and individual publications out there which are brilliant. However, there has never been any supporting official documented evidence?
Here is a breakthrough discovery of mine. It came from the archives of the Marine museum in Quantico with the help of a fellow enthusiast.
It is a document presented by Lt Col Robert N Fricke (BGen retired) who was a logistics officer with the 24th Marines, 4th Marine Division and supplied this SOP (standard operating procedure) to the museum in the 1970's. Extracts were brought to light by Col F B Nihart via the ‘Fortitudine’ publication (Newsletter of the Marine Corps Historical Programme) in the summer of 1974 under a title ‘Lowest form of Insignia’.
Unfortunately, I do not know when the SOP was compiled, but am still pushing to find out.
From another fellow enthusiast, I have evidence that the 4th adopted and used UNIS for the ‘Flintlock Operation’, and that an official report generated after the operation dated 10 March 1944 made recommendations which directly tie in with this document.
I am awaiting copyright approval before detailing this other report.
It is my opinion that this SOP was written after the Marshalls (Roi-Namur) and just prior to the Marianas (Saipan).
It also appears to confirm the theory that UNIS is a system which quickly enabled officers and NCO’s to pick out men of their own command that might be intermingled with other groups by the use of easily distinguishable markings on their utilities, packs and waterbottles.
This may help to explain why the 4th Division was the most advanced in UNIS compared to other Divisions who ultimately adopted a similar system.
I am on the hunt for the other Divisions! If anyone can assist, please let me know! I am not a historian – just an enthusiast!
I enclose the document: Part 2 – SYMBOL AND “UNIS” (8 pages)
My thanks to George Marshall Peters and Jean-Bernard Passemard