Dear Mr. Motl:
In its meeting of 16 March, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed alternative designs for five medals honoring the U.S. armed forces involved in World War I, for issue in conjunction with the upcoming centenary of the war. In selecting from among the presented alternatives, the Commission suggested a unifying concept of placing the emblem or insignia of each military service on the reverse, to complement a battle or military scene on the obverse. The Commission’s recommendations were as follows:
U.S. Army. The Commission members recommended obverse #6, citing its elegant, modern composition that depicts the experience of trench warfare; they commented that the close cropping of the scene results in greater legibility of the soldiers and the barbed wire. They recommended reverse #3 as the better rendering of the two alternatives depicting the historic Army emblem.
U.S. Navy. The Commission members recommended obverse alternative #2, illustrating a ship in battle, and reverse alternative #3, depicting the historic Navy emblem. They also recommended further coordination of fonts for this pairing of obverse and reverse designs.
Air Service, American Expeditionary Forces. The Commission members recommended reverse alternative #6 for the obverse design, citing its dramatic composition of airplanes, and recommended reverse alternative #8 for the reverse. They also noted the sparseness of the design featuring the wings insignia in reverse #8, and they therefore recommended moving some of the medal’s text from the obverse to the reverse.
U.S. Marines. The Commission members recommended obverse #1, suggesting careful modelling to better illustrate the distinctive heads of the wheat. They recommended reverse #6 as the clearest depiction of the Marines’ eagle, globe, and anchor emblem without extraneous elements. They also recommended rebalancing the text between these obverse and reverse designs, specifically by moving “2018 – Centennial of World War I” to the reverse and, in its place on the obverse, adding the text “Battle of Belleau Wood,” as seen on some of the other reverse alternatives.
U.S. Coast Guard. The Commission members recommended obverse alternative #2 and reverse alternative #4. They noted that the Coast Guard emblem on the recommended reverse would become a redundant element on the recommended obverse; commenting that obverse #2 is carefully composed, they suggested that the small emblem could be replaced by a compass design instead of simply eliminating this element.
As always, the staff is available to assist you with future submissions.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Acting Principal Deputy Director
United States Mint
801 9th Street, NW, 8th Floor
Washington, DC 20220