One of the things about the Army is the we always had to improvise, and being able to do that was an essential part of how the Army functioned. A soldier might be out in the middle of nowhere without any of the proper supplies. What happens if the soldiers needs something to accomplish the mission?
Ergo, a very simple measuring tool that every soldier had in their pocket: The quarter.
We used it to put rank on a battle dress uniform (the BDU) collar. The rank then consisted of two each, with two pins on the back that fastened using a pin closure. I always hated the closures because they were hard to get on and easy to loose.
Some pictures of the rank here: http://www.galaxyarmynavy.com/rank-insignia-p-130.asp. The black ones at the bottom where known as the “subdued rank” and were used on our battle dress uniforms (the camouflage uniforms you see on old TV shows). The basic idea is that you don’t advertise your rank on the battlefield with something shiny that can be seen by a sniper.
The polished ranks in gold and silver were worn on the dress uniforms. Contrary to what might appear obvious, silver is the higher ranked.
To put the rank on the uniform:
- Line the quarter up to the point on the color.
- Pin the rank above the quarter and try not to stab myself with the two pins.
I always knew the quarter is being one inch because of this (the rank goes one inch from the point), but it’s actually a little under an inch.