Thank you everyone for the information behind this sword. I’ll take more pictures of the sword tomorrow to provide further detail.
The story I got from my Uncle is that my Great Grandfather was in the pacific as part of 6th ID, 1st Infantry Regiment and led a charge to take an enemy base, killing the enemy commanding officer and taking his sword. The flag in the photo was the flag of that base and was signed by his platoon and awarded to him for his gallantry and leading the assault to close with and destroy the enemy.
He never told us this story and we had no idea of the swords existence. He only spoke of it to my Uncle who fought in the 101st IR in Vietnam and was given the sword when he returned from being drafted into combat and serving 2 tours.
When I graduated college in 2005 I joined the service as an Infantryman with 4th ID and was deployed to Iraq. My Uncle had a conversation with me when I returned about what he and I had experienced and as he had no sons, he gave me the sword. We all brought back trophies but nothing like a family sword and I was told to give it to my oldest living son or any direct descendant of my Great Grandfather who serves in a combat role (if any of my cousins kids do then they’re kid takes precedence over mine unless my son serves in a combat role.)
I have never spoken about my experiences with my family and plan to do with our Family sword as my uncle did with me. As I have 3 girls who will NEVER serve in combat I am waiting to see if any of my cousin’s sons do. If they do, it will go to them, if not my oldest daughter will hold it until a later generation worthy can take it.
I couldn’t in good-conscience sell it but I very much appreciate the information from everyone. I had no idea that there was a whole forum dedicated to these items until I found Nihonto forum.
Thank you everyone who can help shed light on this heirloom!!