GAF Policy No. 3
Rev 1 - 10/20/08
Rev 2 - 03/17/15
- The Goal and Mission of the Grand Army of the Frontier (GAF) is to honor the
memories and achievements of the late Victorian-era military of all nations between 1860
and 1902, with a particular emphasis on American army on the Western Frontier between
1860 and 1900, though the pursuit and sharing of knowledge, and by actively
participating in the hobbies of Cowboy Action Shooting, historical reenacting,
living history programs, skirmishing, social events, and other activities while
wearing appropriate military attire.
- To further honor the memories and achievements of the Victorian-era military, the
GAF encourages its members to wear an appropriate uniform of their choice when
participating in GAF events, or other events in which they represent the GAF. However,
no member of the GAF is required to acquire or wear a uniform.
- The GAF recognizes that our membership includes both veterans and non-veterans, and
makes no limitation or restriction on what uniforms our members wear as long as they are
- These guidelines apply only to the wearing of a period uniform at any GAF sponsored
or hosted event. GAF members attending a non-GAF sponsored or hosted event should apply
good judgment to insure the GAF is not falsely or negatively represented.
- Choosing a Uniform. There are few restrictions on what uniforms are acceptable at
GAF functions, but members can base their decision on one or more of the following
- Personal History. GAF members who served in the armed forces may create an
equivalent period uniform to honor their actual service. This option may require some
creativity since some services, corps (branches), ranks and occupational fields did
not exist in the Victorian-era the GAF represents and a appropriate equivalent may
need to be chosen.
- Personas. GAF members may develop a persona to help guide them in assembling
their uniform. The most basic information would be to determine when and where you
entered military service, what regiment or corps you served with, where that unit
served and campaigns/battles it was in. Additional information such as when and where
your were born and lived, education, pre-service occupation, and promotion and service
postings can also help establish who and what you are.
- Family History. GAF members may create a uniform to honor an ancestor who served
in the Victorian-era military.
- Specific Interest. GAF members may create a uniform for a unit that served in
their local area, a campaign or battle they are particularly interested in, a specific
unit or individual they have an interest in, to compliment their choice of firearms
for GAF competition, or some other factor.
- Time Period. The Victorian-era, as defined for the GAF is between the years of
1860-1904, or as roughly equates to the black powder cartridge era.
- Some leeway on the exact time period is permitted, depending on the member's
individual interests but should not exceed that of the Crimean War (1854-1855) and
the Pershing Expedition into Mexico (1916). Uniforms of the First World War are not
- Nationality. GAF members may wear the uniform of any nation, country, state,
military or para-military organization that existed during our time period they so
- Service. GAF members may wear the uniform of any military or para-military service,
to include but not restricted to the Army, Navy, Marines, National Guard, Militia,
Territorials, and post-war veteran organizations such as the Grand Army of the
- Para-military is defined as any unit raised during our time period for the purpose
of providing protection against hostile forces or criminals. The Northwest Mounted
Police is an example this type of unit.
- Rank. GAF members may wear any rank they chose but with the understanding that
this does not give them any authority or privilege over other GAF members.
- GAF members who hold a position of responsibility within the GAF are identified
by the use of a Brevet or Acting rank. These members are encouraged, but not
required, to wear their GAF rank on an appropriate uniform of their choice, but may
equally wear any uniform and rank of their choosing in keeping with the options in
- Dress Uniform. For GAF purposes, a dress uniform is defined as any uniform that
would have been worn for parade, formal inspection, daily duty in garrison, and for
social occasions. This may include, but is not restricted to what was variously known
as Full Dress, Dress, Undress, Mess Dress, etc. A dress uniform is most appropriately
worn for GAF and other organizational social events, but not for shooting activities.
- Service and War Stripes. The US Army authorized a stripe to be worn on the lower
sleeve for each enlistment (typically three years for infantry and five years for
cavalry), with those enlistments served during wartime to be trimmed in red. Since
many GAF members are creating a uniform based on a persona they have created, which
may include long service and at least one war, the wearing of a appropriate service
and war stripes is up to the individual. For those creating an equivalent uniform of
their own service in the armed forces, they may wear the appropriate number of service
and wartime stripes.
- Field Uniform. For GAF purposes, the field uniform is defined as any uniform worn
for duty in the field, fatigue duties, or such other occasions where a formal uniform
would be inappropriate for the time period. A field uniform is most appropriately worn
during GAF and other organizational shooting events.
- Authenticity. The GAF encorages members to wear the most authenic uniforms possible. However, the level of authenticity is up to the individual member based on
their particular interest, the availability of the items, and cost considerations.
Since 19th century uniform regulations were not as precise, clothing was tailor made or
modified, and some items were worn after newer items were authorized, GAF members who
enter a GAF uniform competition should be prepared to explain any deviations from the
uniform regulations of the period.
- Regulation Uniforms. A regulation uniform is defined as one that reasonably
follows the uniform regulations for a particular country or service for a specified
time period. Reference should be made to the official regulations as well as images of the period.
- Silver Screen Uniforms. Uniforms based on those worn in film and on TV are
perfectly acceptable for wear in the GAF.
- Medals and Awards. The GAF authorizes its own medals and awards to be worn on the
uniform. Recognizing that each country and service had its own regulations regarding
their placement, the GAF member is advised to follow the appropriate regulations or
customs when wearing their particular uniform. With the exception of the GAF medal, Iron Trooper Award, and Marksmanship Badge,
no more than three additional medals, as described below, may be worn on the coat at a GAF
event. Those in civilian attire may wear these medals at their discretion and how they
deem most appropriate for their attire.
- The GAF Medal identifies members of the GAF and may be worn at the member's
discretion, but most certainly should be worn when attending GAF events, or representing
the GAF. The GAF medal is a replication of Grand Army of the Republic post-civil war
veteran organization medals and thus may be appropriately worn with civilian attire.
The GAF Medal takes precedence over all other medals worn on the coat. It will be
either worn to the extreme right of all other medals, or worn above all other medals
(except for the Marksmanship Badge and the Iron Trooper Award).
- Commander's Citation. The Commander's Citation is awarded by the GAF Commander to a
member who has significantly contributed to the advancement and promotion of the GAF.
It is designated by a silver oak leaf cluster device worn at the top of the ribbon the
- Star of Merit. The GAF awards the Star of Merit for a variety of actions and
activities. Up to five stars may be placed on the GAF medal. A bronze star represents
one Star of Merit, a silver star represents five Stars of Merit, and a gold star
represents 25 Stars of Merit.
- Veteran's V. GAF members who are currently serving or have served honorably in the
armed forces are authorized to wear a "V" at the bottom of their GAF Medal.
- Color Guard. Those GAF members who serve or have served on a GAF organized Color
Guard may wear a "Color Guard" Bar on their GAF medal. The wearing of this bar is
- Muster medals. The GAF presents military-style medals at its annual Grand Musters and
Regional Musters. Up to three of these may be worn on the breast of the dress uniform,
but no more than one first place, one second place, and one third place. Subsequent
awards (regardless of the category) may be designated by a star on the ribbon.
- Marksmanship Badge. The GAF Marksmanship Badge is a simple silver bar engraved with
"Marksman" and may be worn on both the dress and field uniforms at the wearer's
discretion. It will be worn over the GAF Medal.
- Iron Trooper Medal. The Iron Trooper Medal is awarded at the Grand Muster for doing
well in both the Battle Rifle shooting categories and uniform competition. The Iron
Trooper Medal is suspended around the neck on a ribbon and does not count against the
three Muster medals that may be worn on the breast of the uniform.
- Modern decorations, medals, qualification badges, and unit patches. No modern
military decorations, medals, ribbons, badges, or unit patches are authorized.
- Decorations of Valor. No awards of valor (US Medal of Honor, British
Victoria Cross, etc), modern or period replications, may be worn with the uniform at
GAF functions or events, or when the member is representing the GAF, with the
- The member has actually been awarded their nation's highest decoration for
valor (Medal of Honor, Victoria Cross, etc). A period-style replica decoration is
authorized to be worn if the modern decoration is of a significantly different
- The member is portraying an individual who was awarded a decoration for valor
in a living history program. This caveat does not include attending a GAF social
event, at which time the GAF member should only wear those GAF awards to which
- Other Badges and Medals.
- SASS and CAS club badges. When in uniform and attending a GAF sponsored or hosted
event GAF members should refrain from wearing the various "lawman" type badges
indicating membership in SASS or a CAS-style shooting organization which look out of
place on a military uniform. Those desiring to show their membership in these
organizations are encouraged to suspend the badge from a ribbon so that it looks like
a military award.
- Historic medals. Various vendors sell reproduction medals of those issued to
veterans of the Civil War, Indian Wars and Spanish American War. Since these medals
were issued in the early 20th century, they are anachronisms for the GAF and should
not be worn when attending a GAF sponsored or hosted event. There is no restriction
on wearing these at non-GAF events.
- GAF Insignia.
- The GAF has its own collar and hat insignia and belt plate, based on that worn by the Grand Army of the Republic after the American Civil War. These may be worn in lieu of the equivalent regulations items on the uniform at any time.
- Department, District and Division emblems. A Department, District, or Division may select one of the many American Civil War corps devices (various crosses, shields, etc) to wear as a recognition device. The appropriate Department, District or Division Commander will select the device and insure that it is not being worn by another Department, District or Division. Many of these devices are easily obtained through vendors who cater to Civil War reenactors.
- The GAF also has a reduced size belt buckle that may we worn with modern civilian
- Uniforms for Female Members. With rare exception, women were not authorized to join
the military or wear military uniforms during the Victorian era. However, the GAF
recognizes that some female GAF members want to enter into the spirit of the GAF by
wearing a uniform. Consequently, the following options are permitted:
- Vivandiere. Vivandières played an interesting and often obscure role in
the American Civil War. The term Vivandière is usually applied only to women
who served with Zouave outfits, and occasionally other ethnic units, since they were
officially under this title apparently only in France. Most Vivandières were
mascots, present for parades and reviews but not often seen in battle. Their uniforms
generally consisted of jackets copied from those of their units, many times with
feminine touches such as extra braid or lace. They wore men's pants under a knee-length
skirt, similar to the bathing and gymnastics uniforms of the period. It is interesting
to note that many Vivandières had pants which were sewn in two sections, cotton
from the waist to just above the skirt hem, with wool starting at the hemline, so that
they appeared to be wearing the same wool pants as their male companions. (Reference:
- Daughters and Wives of the Regiment. Daughters and wives of the regiment were
women who were as much a part of the regiment as were the soldiers. For the most part
they wore typical female attire of the period, but sometimes they might put together a
very stylized outfit based on the uniform worn by their fathers, husbands, brothers,
and sweethearts. These usually were riding habits based on military uniforms. These
can be highly stylized outfits based on uniform worn by European hussars, lancers, and
others, or simple ones (such as worn by Joanne Dru in "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon").
- Disguised as a man. Some women disguised themselves as men and enlisted as soldiers,
wearing the same regulation uniforms as worn by their male counterparts. Women who
chose this option should wear their hair short or up and no make-up, particularly if
they are participating in the uniform competition.
- Formal gowns or dresses with a patriotic theme may be worn by women members
whenever dress uniforms are authorized.
- Scouts. GAF members who prefer not to wear a uniform are permitted to wear
appropriate civilian attire when participating in GAF events or representing the GAF.
- Scouts should wear suits or "showman" attire when attending occasions calling for
a dress uniform. Showman attire is defined as the fancy outfits worn in Wild West
- Scouts should wear appropriate frontier attire as would have been worn in the
field on campaign during shooting events. Scouts should attempt to wear clothing
that will readily identify them as scouts and not as cowboys, townsmen, lawmen, etc.
- Uniform Competitions. The GAF conducts uniform competitions at its Grand and
Regional Musters, and provides a key component of the criteria for competing for Iron
Trooper at the annual Grand Muster. Participants are to be guided by the policies as
set forth above.
- The categories will be established by the Muster coordinator and should, at a
minimum, include Dress, Field, and Scout for the both men and women. At the
Grand Muster these categories may be broken down further by either service (Army,
Naval, etc) or time period (Civil War, Indian Wars, Spanish-American War, etc) as
determined by the Muster Coordinator.
- It is up to the individual to provide documentation if challenged by the uniform
competition judges, particularly for anything that may be non-regulation. This can
take the form of formal regulations, descriptions in letters, or images (photographs
or drawings), etc. For those copying a Silver Screen uniform, an image will be
sufficient. More leeway will be permitted women but they should be able to provide
the basis for their inspiration.
- Competition for Iron Trooper. The Iron Trooper competition requires participants to
shoot in the Battle Rifle categories while wearing a field uniform. Men's field
uniforms are described in paragraph 11 and women's field uniform
equivalents in paragraph 15. For the dress uniform competition, men's uniforms
are defined in paragraph 10, and women's in paragraph 15d.