Delaware Military History

The Delaware
Mexican Border
Service Medal

The Delaware Mexican Border Service Medal was established to recognize and
honor primarily the men of the First Regiment, Delaware National Guard, who
served in the
Punitive Expedition to Mexico during the period July 19, 1916-
February 1917.  

The Delaware Mexican Border Service Medal has a 1.23 inch circular bronze
planchet of.098 thickness.  The obverse shows the Delaware State seal, which is
surrounded by a 0.17 inch band reading “GREAT SEAL OF THE STATE OF
DELAWARE -1793-1847-1907”. The reverse side bears the words:

The medal hangs from a one and three eighth inch wide bicolor ribbon with
dark blue on the left, and golden yellow on the right. There is a brooch at the
top of the device which suspends the ribbon. The brooch is a rectangle 1.50
inch wide and .475 inch tall with a superimposed diamond centered amidst the
word MEX---ICO.  It surmounts two crossed rifles with only the stocks and
muzzles visible beneath the diamond. The diamond contains a Delaware Blue
Hen and three tiny chicks.

The Delaware
World War I
Victory Medal

Following the earlier precedent of minting a medal for service on the Mexican
Border, in 1919, the Delaware Legislature authorized a World War I Victory
Medal for its veterans.  Ten thousand medals were minted as an appreciation by
the people of the State of Delaware for the military service of her sons. The
medals were made of sterling silver.  

They were designed and manufactured by the firm of Millard F. Davis, jewelers
in Wilmington Delaware. A special commission was named by the legislature
composed of the Governor, John G. Townsend; Speaker of the House, A.P.
Corbet; President of the Senate, I.D. Short; and two other representatives and
two other senators.

It is a silver planchet of 1.435 inch width and .12 inch thickness. The face of the
medal depicts a narrow wreath connecting the broad arms of a cross to create a
nearly circular shape, which contains the state coat of arms of Delaware
surrounded by the inscription “WORLD WAR SERVICE” at the top and
“DELAWARE” at the bottom of the design. It is surmounted by an American
Eagle with extended wings. The original medals probably had a lacquered
finish to preserve their luster.

The obverse side of the medal contains the inscription:

The medals were numbered below the 1919 date. A wreath motif surrounds this
text. The Delaware Victory Medal was suspended from a rainbow ribbon very
similar to the federal Victory Medal.

Some medals bear a large star of finished silver mounted on the ribbon,
measuring 0.7 inches.  This signified that the named recipient was either lost in
action or from disease. Delaware suffered 270 fatalities during the war (of about
10,000 who served).

Delaware was one of only twelve states to issue a state victory medal for its
World War I veterans.  As the smallest of the states the Delaware WWI Victory
Medal is among the rarest.

World War I
Victory Medal

The World War I Victory Medal is a service medal of the United States military
which was first created in 1919, designed by James Earle Fraser. The medal was
originally intended to be created due to an act of the United States Congress,
however the bill authorizing the medal never passed, leaving the service
departments to create the award through general orders. The United States
Army published orders authorizing the World War I Victory Medal in April
1919 and the U.S. Navy followed in June of that same year.

Known until 1947 simply as the “Victory Medal”, the World War I Victory
Medal was awarded to any member of the U.S. military who had served in the
armed forces between the following dates in the following locations:
•        6 April 1917 to 11 November 1918 for any military service.
•        12 November 1918, to 5 August 1919 for service in European Russia
•        23 November 1918, to 1 April 1920 for service with the American
Expeditionary Force Siberia

The front of the bronze medal features a winged Victory holding a shield and
sword on the front. The back of the bronze medal features "The Great War For
Civilization" in all capital letters curved along the top of the medal. Curved
along the bottom of the back of the medal are six stars, three on either side of
the center column of seven staffs wrapped in a cord. The top of the staff has a
round ball on top and is winged on the side. The staff is on top of a shield that
says "U" on the left side of the staff and "S" on the right side of the staff. On left
side of the staff it lists one World War I Allied country per line: France, Italy,
Serbia, Japan, Montenegro, Russia, and Greece. On the right side of the staff the
Allied country names read: Great Britain (at the time the common term for the
United Kingdom), Belgium, Brazil, Portugal, Rumania (spelled with a U instead
of an O as it is spelled now), and China.


Pictured above: World War I "Dogtags"  1st Lt. James H. Hazel, 59th Pioneer
Infantry, Delaware National Guard. Aluminum Discs. Reverse: "U.S.A.

The U.S. Army first authorized identification tags in War Department General
Order No. 204, dated December 20, 1906, which essentially prescribes the  
identification tag:

"An aluminum identification tag, the size of a silver half dollar and of suitable
thickness, stamped with the name, rank, company, regiment, or corps of the
wearer, will be worn by each officer and enlisted man of the Army whenever
the field kit is worn, the tag to be suspended from the neck, underneath the
clothing, by a cord or thong passed through a small hole in the tab. It is
prescribed as a part of the uniform and when not worn as directed herein will
be habitually kept in the possession of the owner. The tag will be issued by the
Quartermaster's Department gratuitously to enlisted men and at cost price to

The army changed regulations on July 6, 1916, so that all soldiers were issued
two tags: one to stay with the body and the other to go to the person in charge
of the burial for record-keeping purposes.


This is a Helmet  worn by members of the 59th Pioneer Infantry, Delaware
National Guard.  It is the "Tin Hat" with a camouflage scheme displaying the
unit insignia, a gold swastika on a blue diamond.  This symbol was originally
an Indian design meaning good fortune.  Unfortunately it became a symbol of
Nazi Germany in years to come.  The 59th Pioneer Infantry Alumni met for a
reunion in the 1930s and voted to discard this unit crest and substitute a
covered wagon motif.

All photos courtesy of the Delaware Military Heritage and Education Foundation collection.
JUNE 18th 1916

Delaware Medals, Decorations, and
Insignia of World War I
(and more).