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The Measure of a Man: 1917

The Measure of a Man: 1917

1917. "U.S. Army. Physical examination." Our second look at this young man's initiation into the Army. Harris & Ewing glass negative. View full size.


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The recruit isn't necessarily joining the cavalry, and the officer isn't necessarily a cavalryman. Lots of soldiers rode horses in those days, including any officer above the rank of captain in any branch.


Let me explain the boots and why you may have seen them still in use recently. I am a former (still in USAR) United States Army officer. I am a tanker. I also served in 3-8 Cavalry, Second Brigade, Third Armored Division. The boots are not really regulation. However, by a strict interpretation of the manual, AR 670-1, Wear and. Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia, you can make them regulation. At least, you could make them regulation in the 1980s. These days, I have no idea. All the manual used to say about boots was "black toed and able to be shined." So, tankers and cavalrymen got some pretty exotic boots, often spending hundreds of dollars. I wore "tanker boots." I have included a link to what they look like:

Still in Service

A few months ago, I saw an army sergeant with a Cavalry shoulder patch, rows of battle ribbons and wearing boots and spurs. I'm guessing the boots and spurs are part of the US Cavalry Class A uniform.

Riding Spurs

Note that the examining officer is wearing riding spurs. I guess we can assume that the young man is being inducted into the cavalry!

That outfit ...

If there is a riding crop anywhere in the examining room, put on your clothes and head for the hills, boy!

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