Words By Mike Weisbecker, USAF Ret.
So, I'm going through my Facebook feed this morning and I see a posting from the Utah Grizzlies, a minor league hockey team. They are doing a specialty game worn jersey auction after their 28 March game to raise funds for the Fisher House Foundation. Great cause. The jerseys, along with the pant shell and hockey socks are in the style of the class “A” Army Service Uniform. Ribbons, badges and all. Looks pretty sharp. Each of the jerseys will have the name of one of their season ticket holders who happen to be military vets on the black name tag on the front of the jersey. My wife and I collect hockey jerseys, we have over 150 in our collection. Would be a great addition to the collection.
The first thing that jumped out at me was that little light-blue ribbon with the five white stars on it. Don’t think it’s in the right spot. Then you look at the ribbon rack. Um wait something doesn’t look right…
Yahoo’s Puck Daddy did a preview of the jerseys http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/utah-grizzlies-to-honor-military-with-creative-specialty-uniforms--photos-165902748.html
To quote the artice “The uniforms were designed by Jeff Tasca, a graphic designer whose work you’ve definitely seen. He’s the man responsible for jerseys featuring Iron Man, Batman and Robin, tuxedos and many, many others.
Tasca told Paul Caputo of SportsLogos.net that the Grizzlies’ head equipment manager came up with the idea and that the design process took some time to get all the details of the ASU just right, like the ribbons, badges and medals” (my emphasis)
Yeah, guess everyone missed the whole order of precedence thing. Whoops.
There are numerous military installations within a 50 mile radius of their offices in West Valley City (a suburb of Salt Lake City). No one could pick up a phone and say “hey can you do a once over of this before we have the jerseys made?”
All the other facets of the jersey do show the level of detail that would make them a collector’s item. Call me picky, but I can’t get past the mistake on the order of precedence.
How many of us who served have spent time explaining to friends and relatives what each of our individual ribbons mean, which ones are awards (been there, done that) and which are decorations (hey you did something noteworthy while you were being there and doing that). How the ribbon rack is a snapshot of your career. In the Air Force at least, the decorations at the top are worth points for promotion. So yeah the order of the ribbons matters a lot.
In the future I hope that groups wishing to honor the military in this way contact public affairs to make sure everything is in order. Attention to detail matters in the profession of arms. It should matter everywhere.