As our nation draws nearer to Election Day on November 6, 2012, we are increasingly blasted with political advertisements on television and radio, and the landscape is polluted with the signs of candidates from local, state and federal elections. Take a look on the streets as you walk or drive and every conceivable pro- or anti-candidate bumper sticker or campaign button can be seen on passing vehicles and pedestrians. It is the time of year I loathe with vigor.
As much as I have disdain for this season, there is a segment of collectors who thrive on the materials that are produced to grab the undecided voters’ attention and sway them to cast votes in the candidate’s favor. Does it work? That is a subject of much debate, but the materials created can be a treasure trove for collectors, especially when it comes to candidates for the office of the President of the United States. Our own Collectors Quest blogger, Tom Peeling, has a blog entirely dedicated to collecting this memorabilia.
As the above election items are clearly NOT my forte, there are some militaria pieces that hold my interest. Though they are connected to our nation’s highest office, these uniform accoutrements have nothing to do with any individual president.
On June 1, 1960, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed Executive Order 10879 establishing the Presidential Service Badge or PSB (and the associated Presidential Service Certificate). Prior to the issuance of the PSB, U.S. military personnel assigned duty at the White House offices including…
- Camp David
- Naval Administrative Unit
- White House Garage
- White House Army Signal Agency
- Air Force One
- US Army Executive Flight Detachment
…were issued the White House Service Badge (WHSB). The design of this badge incorporated a gold-colored medallion with a field of white with the eagle of the presidential seal superimposed over the center.
Superseding the WHSB in 1964 was the Presidential Service Badge. The badge was a slight departure from the WHSB, changing the field from white to blue and adding a ring of white, 5-pointed stars around the field’s inner circumference. Each PSB is individually and uniquely numbered. Each number is associated to the person to whom that individual badge was issued, making each one trackable. The PSBs come with a three-prong clutch-back to affix it to the wearers’ left breast pocket.
Vice Presidential aides, like those serving the President, are also issued a badge that is nearly identical to the defunct White House Service Badge with the difference being a gold (versus silver) colored seal as well as a variation with the gold edge thickness and design.
Just as awarded medals and ribbons, both the Presidential and Vice Presidential Service Badges remain a permanent part of the service members’ uniforms for the remainder of their military careers, even after their duty with the elected officials has been fulfilled.
These badges are fantastic additions to collectors of both militaria and presidential items.