George Washington Spymaster Award

 
mghofer
 
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mghofer
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12 December 2014 22:56
 

http://themedalcollector.com/uploads/THE_GEORGE_WASHINGTON_SPYMASTER_MEDAL.pdf

Above is an excellent example of the good use of heraldry in the U.S. Government, where so often bad heraldic design persists despite the best efforts of the U.S. Army’s Institute of Heraldry.

 
Michael F. McCartney
 
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Michael F. McCartney
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13 December 2014 03:05
 

Most interesting!  Nicely designed, well executed.  The choice of Griffin rather than raven for the crest inspired me to reread Joe’s writeup on GW’s arms in Arms of Famous Americans linked to the AHS homepage.

But is the best English translation of GW’s Latin motto really "The ends justify the means"?  Seems ironically inappropriate, or at least unfortunate, given the current political and media kerfluffle; isn’t there a better translation they could use?

 
steven harris
 
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steven harris
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13 December 2014 08:57
 

That’s AMAZING!!

 
Joseph McMillan
 
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Joseph McMillan
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13 December 2014 17:39
 

No, the translation is a botch job.  Exitus acta probat means "the outcome is the test of the deed."

I like the basic design, but the griffin perpetuates the misconception that Washington’s crest was a griffin, and I deeply dislike the recent proliferation of American decorations using neck ribbons.

 
Michael F. McCartney
 
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Michael F. McCartney
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14 December 2014 02:37
 

Apparently at some point GW himself thought it was a "flying Griffin" but at other times he clearly saw it as a raven.  His ancestors pretty clearly used the raven, though Joe’s article says the W’s in VA sometimes used an eagle, and to my less-than-expert eye, the crest in the seals shown, if not ravens, look more like eagles than griffins (tufts of feathers pointing horizontally back rather than ears pointing up).

If GW intentionally changed his ancestral crest for his own use, then IMO that change should be respected; but that isn’t clear, at least to me.  If on the other hand he simply made a mistake which he later corrected, then the mistake shouldn’t control contrary to the correction.

 

Unfortunately the examples of his actual use over time - the seals and backplate shown in Joe’s article - can likely be argued to support either argument; and in any case, they were all the work of others, and we (or I at any rate) don’t know just what instructions they were given.  Once GW received a new seal or bookplate, I suspect he would have used it "as is" rather than do without while sending it back to be redone, so long as the arms (shield) were OK.

 

There may be other examples e.g. decorative wood carvings at Mount Vernon, which if contemporary, might help resolve GW’s actual personal preference, but I haven’t seen them.

 

All of which raises more questions than answers!

 
David Pope
 
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14 December 2014 07:45
 

The justification for using a knock-off garter is weak, and that element adds nothing IMO.  Griffin instead of raven, too.  Meh.

 
MacEanruig
 
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MacEanruig
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14 December 2014 11:04
 

It is rather odd the design committee decided on a garter, griffin and a ribbon. Perhaps they intended to create a pretentious looking award which the committee members could ultimately receive.

 
mghofer
 
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mghofer
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14 December 2014 14:55
 

It is a lifetime award an was just approved for use by Gen. Clapper earlier this month, IIRC. I honestly doubt anyone in the design committee has the slightest chance of earning the award. I choose to look at this as the intelligence community equivalent of a Defense Distinguished Service Medal or the National Medal of Arts.

 
Michael F. McCartney
 
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15 December 2014 02:07
 

The garter with stars is obviously reminiscent of the English Order of the Garter. However, for better or worse even in Britain garter-like devices are not restricted to that Order; witness the strap-and-buckle surrounding every Scottish clan or "name" chief’s crest worn as a badge by his adherents; and I’ve seen a similar badge in at least one modern Irish patent online.

I would have preferred that the writeup for the new US intelligence medal had said "strap-and-buckle" rather than "garter" but for some unknown reason I wasn’t consulted smile

 
StarScepter
 
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StarScepter
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15 December 2014 03:37
 

I guess it’s safe to assume the strap and buckle are in the heraldic equivalent of the public domain ... as long as you don’t use the OG motto.

 
David Pope
 
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15 December 2014 06:39
 

Right, but the strap and buckle motif seems hackneyed and uninformed, as if the committee had looked at too many Scottish clansmen badges and had that image on their mind.

I would have avoided it because of its ubiquity. I’m disappointed that this is the best they could come up with, as I’m supremely confident that the AHS officers could have done much, much better.

 
arriano
 
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arriano
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15 December 2014 16:17
 

Michael F. McCartney;103208 wrote:

I would have preferred that the writeup for the new US intelligence medal had said "strap-and-buckle" rather than "garter" but for some unknown reason I wasn’t consulted smile


The nerve!

 
ninest123
 
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25 July 2018 10:19
 

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ninest123
 
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12 October 2018 04:11