Embroidered Patches And Their Military History

Published: 07th May 2009
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Patches and badges have been around for many years and most typically for those in the military. Military patches not only establish the personal identity of servicemen but can also represent associations, honors and missions.



In the United States, for example, military badges are awards authorized by the United States armed forces that signify rating, qualification, or accomplishment in several career fields. They also serve as identification devices for personnel occupying certain assignments.



In the United States, each of the five military services maintains a separate series of badges for its service members. Various regulations exist on how badges are displayed, how many may be worn at one time, and whether or not such badges may be worn on the uniform of more than one branch of service.



Well-recognized examples of military patches are the Shoulder Sleeve Insignia or SSI. In the US Army, the SSI is worn on the left upper arm, just below the uniform's shoulder seam. The SSI is attached with a Velcro backing and is then centred on the arm. The most common place for the SSI to be worn is on the shoulder of the uniform, however it is also sometimes worn on other places, notably when the soldier's body armour covers the shoulders.



By World War II, all United States army groups, field armies, corps, and divisions, as well as all major Army commands, had unique SSI. These SSI would often be created with symbolism alluding to the unit's formation. Most US formations had unique patches, which varied greatly in size and makeup, with the exception of US Armoured divisions, all of which adopted the same patch (a yellow, red and blue triangle with a symbol for Armour in the middle). Each division then included its number on the patch to denote it. A few of the divisions added their unit nickname onto the patches, but most did not.



Subdued patches and insignia were introduced during the Vietnam War and were made mandatory for wear on the field uniform starting July 1, 1970.



For the British Army, chevron patches are worn on the sleeve to establish rank. The chevrons and their current use for NCOs originate from the time of the Napoleonic Wars in 1802. Chevrons were originally worn on the collar, but were moved to the shoulder boards in 1880 when the system of crowns and stars was reorganized. In addition to the shoulder badges, officers' ranks were also reflected in the amount and pattern of gold lace worn on the cuffs of the full-dress tunic.



Military insignia is full of metaphor, from the colors used to the types of images. For instance with color, white or silver means peace and sincerity, yellow or gold, generosity, blue stands for loyalty, red for fortitude and green for loyalty. Heraldic lines include the Nebulee or Nebuly, which stands for the sea or water. Engrailed and invected is for earth or land. Indented means fire. Dancette is water. Insignias called Ordinaries include: Chief - Dominion and authority; Cross - Chevron - Protection; Fess - Military belt or girdle of honor; Bar - For "one who sets the bar of conscience, religion and honor against angry passions; Pale - Military strength and fortitude; Canton - Bearing of honor; Bend - Defense or protection; Battune Sinister - Marks a royal descent that is barred by illegitimacy from succession to the throne; Orle or Tressure - Preservation or protection; Flasques - Given by a king for virtue and learning, and especially for service in embassage; Voiders - Given to gentlewomen who have deserved highly; Bordure or Border - Frequently adopted as a "difference" between relatives bearing the same arms; Gyron - Unity.



What about animals? They also have meaning. They include: Lion - Deathless courage; Tiger - Great fierceness and valor when enraged to combat; one whose resentment will be dangerous if aroused; Bear - Ferocity in the protection of kindred; Wolf - Denotes valiant captains that do in the end gain their attempts after long sieges and hard enterprises. One whom it is dangerous to assail or thwart; Rhinoceros - Great ferocity when aroused; Elephant - Courage and strength; Leopard - Valiant and hardy warrior; Panther - As a lion may be said to signify a brave man, so may a panther a beautiful woman, which, though fierce, is very tender and loving to her young, and will defend it with the hazard of her life; Horse - Readiness for all employments for king and country; Bull or Ox - Valor and magnanimity - and so on.



With military patches come expert designers configuring patterns and symbolism into their work. Unit patches go through alterations now and then in the manner they are put on and utilized. The problem with military patches and their significance is the fact such patches can be reproduced. For the United States, protecting reproduction is The Institute of Heraldry, whom is in charge of providing information to patch suppliers on United States Army heraldic entitlements. A hallmark is actually assigned to each certified manufacturer of military insignia to indicate which manufacturer made which product. This means that it is illegal for manufacturers to create designs on their patches that incorporate the likeness of an official Army heraldic item. The Institute of heraldry also decides how military insignia is displayed, and how and why it is worn.



While you cannot copy the design of a military patch, you can certainly create your own patch with its own symbolism and meaningfulness to you personally. In designing your own embroidered patch you can show your artistic talents. And if something as important as your own personal symbolism and artistic talents are combined, then they most certainly should be done through the embroidered patch method rather than choosing a plastic model. With an embroidered patch, your design could be around for hundreds of years, used and reused as you so choose, reproduced and shared with others. It is your choice.About The Author

Visit the Patch Superstore and browse through the gallery of embroidered patches to obtain an idea for your custom patches. Everything from Boy and Girls Scout patches, to Police and Fire department patches, and more. Visit online at http://www.patchsuperstore.com/ today.



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