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Army Issue

refer to caption
3-cent Army single

On July 14, 1945, Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson submitted Associated Press photographer Peter J. Carroll’s photograph to Post Master General Hannegan to be used as the basic design for this issue, which honored the army’s achievements during World War II. By July 31 the Bureau of Engraving and Printing had already submitting two models of the proposed stamp (in vertical and horizontal formats) to the third postmaster general. By August 2 the horizontal design had received initial approval in the Pentagon and was sent on to Stimson for his sign-off before being returned to the postmaster general.

As the stamp was on the fast track to completion, Washington Sunday Star’s philatelic editor, J. W. Fawcett, responded with a published complaint that a photograph of the Remagen Bridge had not been used as the source for the design, as he had announced earlier. He also challenged the authenticity of war planes appearing in the Paris sky, to which the third assistant postmaster general responded:

"Possibly the introduction of planes in this design by the War Department was for the purpose of paying incidental tribute to the Air Force. . . . The mere fact that the subject matter for the Army stamp was submitted from an outside Agency . . . does not relieve the Post Office Department from seeing that the material approved is completely appropriate and conforms with recognized standards. The design . . . does not portray in recognizable manner the features of any living individual . . . is not intended as a faithful reproduction of any well-known photograph . . . and in my opinion is completely satisfactory as well as effective in honoring the victorious Army of this country."

On the first anniversary of the triumphant parade through liberated Paris, the 3-cent khaki postage stamp was issued in the District of Columbia. The official press release announced, "The central design of the Army stamp is a reproduction of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, through which hundreds of United States soldiers are marching." Over a year later the wording in the press release would be contested by 1st Lt. George R. Becker. War Department investigations, official photographs, and first-hand testimony confirmed that troops had been routed around the monument, which stands over the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of France. The identity of the troops in the picture had not been made public but consisted largely of the "1st Battalion, 112th Infantry Regiment of the famous 28th Infantry Division, while the extreme right portion of the stamp illustrates the 1st Battalion, 110th Infantry Regiment of the same division."

Mary H. Lawson, National Postal Museum

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