As I first read about this lapel pin I thought who would want an award with a name like that? This award is for being honorably discharged from the military. It’s nickname is the “Ruptured Duck”.
It is the Honorable Discharge Lapel pin (and patch), yes it is an official emblem, adopted by the War Department.
It was awarded to US military members who were discharged under honorable conditions.
They originated in 1919, though not produced until the 1940′s.
So how did it get it’s name?
There was a myth about the device looking more like a duck in flight rather than an eagle. But the myth was started on purpose. It was to help save a career of a famous actress named Hedy Lamarr. She had come up with ideas to improve weapons and her husband felt humiliated that it was her and not him that was known to have accomplished that. He plotted to murder her. She drugged her husband, left Germany, and came to the US with the aide of the Underground Railroad. In her words, she made a statement that translated to her escape as a “broken bird” or “Ruptured Duck”. Those that manufactured the “Duck” began labeling the boxes with that name and it has stuck with it.
The Ruptured Duck’s original purpose was to allow the person to continue wearing their uniform after discharge until they could afford civilian clothes. It also identified those veterans as no longer being active duty. The pin was to allow a civilian to identify their former military status easily when applying for work or veteran’s benefits.
In 1943 the words “National Defense” was dropped from the description.
The Ruptured Duck is the only official all-branch “Honorable Discharge” lapel pin for all eras. Though branches of the military do have their own Honorable Service pins. A person is only allowed to receive one of the discharge pins, no matter how many discharge papers they may have with re-enlistments.
It is no longer routinely awarded, although it is available to qualified individuals.
written by Nancy originally shared in 2010