Lapel buttons are worn only on civilian clothing--on the left lapel for men and in a similar location for women.
The Honorable Service Lapel Button may be worn only by a person who served honorably prior to 8 Sep 1939 as an enlisted man, warrant officer, nurse, contract surgeon, veterinarian, or commissioned officer, in the Regular Army or a Citizen's Military Training Camp for 2 months, or in the National Guard, Enlisted Reserve Corps, or senior ROTC for 1 year, or in junior ROTC for 2 years.
War Department General Order No 13, dated 9 Jun 1925, authorized the wearing of the badge by individuals named and fully described by the design of the badge. It was also described in Army Regulations No 600-35, dated 31 Dec 1926, but was not illustrated in the Army Regulations until AR 600-35, dated 10 Nov 1941, was published.
In a May 1943 change to AR 600-35, the lapel button was described as being ''all of blue plastic,'' and then in Army Regulation No. 600-35, change No. 26, dated 28 Jul 1943, a modification prescribed ''all of gold plated plastic.''
NOTE: The lapel button was created and produced during a period when the War Production Board had issued a restrictive order prohibiting the use of metal for such purposes. Therefore, plastic was substituted for metal and production time decreased. Originally, a blue design was specified. However, as work proceeded, it was evident that the design would not be discernable against a dark suit. Before the lapel button was issued to any individual, action was taken to gold plate all buttons. The words ''National Defense'' were also dropped from the description in the changes.
War Department Circulars 187 and 318, dated 19 Aug 1943 and 7 Dec 1943, respectively, provided for gratuitous issue of the button to Army personnel honorably discharged after 9 Sep 1939.
AR 600-35, dated 31 Mar 1944, lists the two lapel buttons with the different designs. In a directive dated 13 May 1944, the War Department General Staff authorized the Honorable Service Lapel Button to be manufactured in gold color metal or gold plated plastic. Change No 8, AR 600-35, 8 Aug 1946, states, ''For the World War II Victory Medal, no lapel button is prescribed. (The lapel button for service rendered since 8 Sep 1939 was used in lieu of a lapel button for the World War II Victory Medal awarded to Army veterans. However, the Navy and Marine Corps authorized for wear both the Honorable Service Lapel Button and a separate lapel button corresponding to the World War II Victory Medal.)
On 24 Nov 1947, the lapel button for service rendered prior to 8 Sep 1939, was rescinded. The eligibility requirements for the Honorable Service Lapel Button are honorable federal military service between 8 Sep 1939 and 31 Dec 1946. Service beyond those dates does not qualify; in fact, a new Army lapel button, the so-called “Minute Man” was developed to recognize a minimum of nine months’ honorable active Federal service in the Army of the United States subsequent to 31 December 1946.
The Honorable Service Lapel Button has been commonly referred to as the ''ruptured duck'' over the years. The reason for that name and the originator of the phrase are unknown, although many claimed to have invented the nickname.