Shoulder patch
Overview
 
A shoulder sleeve insignia, (often abbreviated SSI) is an embroidered patch
Embroidered patch
An embroidered patch is a piece of art which is created by using a fabric backing thread and some form of a needle. Embroidered patches can be attached with a pin or can be sewn on, but some of the more modern methods of attachment include both an iron-on and Velcro backing...

 used by major formations of the United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

. Each formation has a unique formation patch
Formation patch
Formation patches are types of military insignia developed during the 20th Century. Originally intended as battlefield identification of military formations, they have persisted into the 21stCentury as an element of military heraldry.-History:...

, and the US Army is unique among the US armed services in that all soldiers are required to wear the patch of their headquarters as part of their military uniform
Military uniform
Military uniforms comprises standardised dress worn by members of the armed forces and paramilitaries of various nations. Military dress and military styles have gone through great changes over the centuries from colourful and elaborate to extremely utilitarian...

s.

Shoulder sleeve insignia receive their name from the fact that they are most commonly worn on the upper left shoulders of all US Army uniforms, though they can be placed on other locations, notably a combat helmet
Combat helmet
A combat helmet or battle helmet is a type of personal armor designed specifically to protect the head during combat. Helmets are among the oldest forms of personal protective equipment and are known to have been worn by the Akkadians/Sumerians in the 23rd century BC, Mycenaean Greeks since 17th...

.
Encyclopedia
A shoulder sleeve insignia, (often abbreviated SSI) is an embroidered patch
Embroidered patch
An embroidered patch is a piece of art which is created by using a fabric backing thread and some form of a needle. Embroidered patches can be attached with a pin or can be sewn on, but some of the more modern methods of attachment include both an iron-on and Velcro backing...

 used by major formations of the United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

. Each formation has a unique formation patch
Formation patch
Formation patches are types of military insignia developed during the 20th Century. Originally intended as battlefield identification of military formations, they have persisted into the 21stCentury as an element of military heraldry.-History:...

, and the US Army is unique among the US armed services in that all soldiers are required to wear the patch of their headquarters as part of their military uniform
Military uniform
Military uniforms comprises standardised dress worn by members of the armed forces and paramilitaries of various nations. Military dress and military styles have gone through great changes over the centuries from colourful and elaborate to extremely utilitarian...

s.

Shoulder sleeve insignia receive their name from the fact that they are most commonly worn on the upper left shoulders of all US Army uniforms, though they can be placed on other locations, notably a combat helmet
Combat helmet
A combat helmet or battle helmet is a type of personal armor designed specifically to protect the head during combat. Helmets are among the oldest forms of personal protective equipment and are known to have been worn by the Akkadians/Sumerians in the 23rd century BC, Mycenaean Greeks since 17th...

. Shoulder sleeve insignia worn on the upper right shoulders on Army uniforms denote former wartime service. These "combat patches" will not be worn on the new Army service uniform. Instead a 2 inch metal replica will be worn on the right breast pocket and is officially known as the Combat Service Identification Badge
Combat Service Identification Badge
A United States Army Combat Service Identification Badge is a metal heraldic device worn on the right pocket of the new Army Service Uniform that uniquely identifies combat service with major U.S...

.

Versions

Shoulder sleeve insignia are often designed with intricate designs including bright colors, when created. Because these bright colors and designs risk standing out when a soldier is in combat or in hiding, the shoulder sleeve insignia in its color form is commonly only worn on the dress uniform
Dress uniform
Dress uniform , is the most formal military uniform, typically worn at ceremonies, official receptions, and other special occasions; with order insignias and full size medals...

, when a soldier is not in combat. For combat uniforms, "subdued" versions have been created for wear on the battlefield.

"Full color" SSI are only worn on the Service Green Uniform. Formerly, full color SSI were also worn on the "full color" (white letters on black or dark blue material) Military Police brassard, worn by MPs while wearing the green "Class A" service uniform or while wearing subdued field uniforms (BDU or DCU) in a garrison environment.

The subdued version of the SSI created for the Battle Dress Uniform
Battle Dress Uniform
The Battle Dress Uniform were the fatigues that the armed forces of the United States used as their standard uniform for combat situations from September 1981 to April 2005. Since then, it has been replaced in every branch of the U.S. military. Only the U.S. Navy currently authorizes wear of the...

 (BDU) features patches that are primarily olive
Olive
The olive , Olea europaea), is a species of a small tree in the family Oleaceae, native to the coastal areas of the eastern Mediterranean Basin as well as northern Iran at the south end of the Caspian Sea.Its fruit, also called the olive, is of major agricultural importance in the...

, dark brown and black
Black
Black is the color of objects that do not emit or reflect light in any part of the visible spectrum; they absorb all such frequencies of light...

, to match the BDU. In general, this version is obsolete because the Army phased out the BDU uniform in favor of the Army Combat Uniform
Army Combat Uniform
The Army Combat Uniform is the current combat uniform worn by the United States Army. It is the successor to the Battle Dress Uniform and Desert Camouflage Uniform worn during the 1980s and 1990s. It features a number of design changes, as well as a different camouflage pattern from its...

 (ACU). A few examples still remain, as older accessories, such as BDU winter weather jackets and coats are still in use by some units, such as ROTC formations. These jackets still use the subdued BDU SSI.

The subdued version created for the Desert Camouflage Uniform
Desert Camouflage Uniform
The Desert Camouflage Uniform is essentially the same as the United States military's Battle Dress Uniform uniform, only featuring the three-color desert camouflage pattern of light tan, pale green, and brown, as opposed to the dark green, black, brown, and dark tan of the BDU's woodland pattern...

 is primarily tan
Tan (color)
Tan is a pale whiteish, tawny shade of white. The name is derived from tannum used in the tanning of leather.The first recorded use of tan as a shade name in English was in the year 1590....

 and "Spice" brown, to match the DCU uniform design. This version is also obsolete, as the Army phased out DCUs in favor of ACUs.

The subdued version created for the Army Combat Uniform
Army Combat Uniform
The Army Combat Uniform is the current combat uniform worn by the United States Army. It is the successor to the Battle Dress Uniform and Desert Camouflage Uniform worn during the 1980s and 1990s. It features a number of design changes, as well as a different camouflage pattern from its...

 is the version widely used in the field today. Since the Army-wide adoption of the ACU, SSI for the ACU have been developed. These SSI are primarily foliage green
Green
Green is a color, the perception of which is evoked by light having a spectrum dominated by energy with a wavelength of roughly 520–570 nanometres. In the subtractive color system, it is not a primary color, but is created out of a mixture of yellow and blue, or yellow and cyan; it is considered...

, light brown, and black
Black
Black is the color of objects that do not emit or reflect light in any part of the visible spectrum; they absorb all such frequencies of light...

, though a few patches also feature red
Red
Red is any of a number of similar colors evoked by light consisting predominantly of the longest wavelengths of light discernible by the human eye, in the wavelength range of roughly 630–740 nm. Longer wavelengths than this are called infrared , and cannot be seen by the naked eye...

 and maroon
Maroon (color)
Maroon is a dark red color.-Etymology:Maroon is derived from French marron .The first recorded use of maroon as a color name in English was in 1789.-Maroon :...

 colors for some details. Unlike previous patches, the ACU SSI are velcro, designed to attach to the velcro pockets on the shoulder of the uniform, instead of being sewn on. This makes them easier to remove and replace.

Since the development of the Operation Enduring Freedom Camouflage Pattern (OCP) uniform (commonly known as MultiCam
MultiCam
MultiCam is a single camouflage pattern designed to help the wearer hide in varied environments, seasons, elevations, and light conditions. It is a 7-color, multi-environment camouflage pattern developed by Crye Associates in conjunction with U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center...

 as it is derived from Crye Precision's proprietary pattern) new SSI have been procured where the "Foliage" green of the ACU SSI is replaced by "Bagby" green. Velcro remains the method for attaching the SSI to the uniform.

Wear

Well-recognized examples are the Shoulder Sleeve Insignia for the 1st Infantry Division and the 1st Cavalry Division.

In the US Army, the SSI is worn on the left upper arm, just below the uniform's shoulder seam on all but the ACU. On the Army Combat Uniform
Army Combat Uniform
The Army Combat Uniform is the current combat uniform worn by the United States Army. It is the successor to the Battle Dress Uniform and Desert Camouflage Uniform worn during the 1980s and 1990s. It features a number of design changes, as well as a different camouflage pattern from its...

 the SSI is attached to a velcro
Velcro
Velcro is the brand name of the first commercially marketed fabric hook-and-loop fastener, invented in 1948 by the Swiss electrical engineer George de Mestral...

 backing and is then centered on rectangle of velcro 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 armor covers the shoulders. SSI are also commonly worn on the shoulder pads of interceptor body armor
Interceptor body armor
Interceptor Body Armor is the United States Army's primary bulletproof vest. The Interceptor design replaced the older fragmentation protective Personnel Armor System for Ground Troops body armor system, introduced in the early 1980s...

, which covers the SSI on the uniform. Some soldiers also wear SSI on their MICH TC-2000 Combat Helmet
MICH TC-2000 Combat Helmet
The Modular Integrated Communications Helmet , is a combat helmet used by the United States Army. It was developed by the United States Army Soldier Systems Center to be the next generation of protective combat helmets for use by the U.S. Army...

s, however this is not standard practice for all units. Some SSI are too large to be worn on the helmets. SSI are also occasionally worn on the backpack
Backpack
A backpack is, in its simplest form, a cloth sack carried on one's back and secured with two straps that go over the shoulders, but there can be exceptions...

s or rucksacks of soldiers, but this is not standard practice and is usually personal preference.

Which SSI that is worn depends on the chain of command that the soldier's formation is a part of. Usually, the soldier wears the SSI of their division
Division (military)
A division is a large military unit or formation usually consisting of between 10,000 and 20,000 soldiers. In most armies, a division is composed of several regiments or brigades, and in turn several divisions typically make up a corps...

 or separate brigade
Brigade
A brigade is a major tactical military formation that is typically composed of two to five battalions, plus supporting elements depending on the era and nationality of a given army and could be perceived as an enlarged/reinforced regiment...

, but if they fall under the command of a different division, they must wear the SSI of that division.

Former wartime service

Those soldiers who are combat veterans are authorized permanent wear of the SSI of the unit they fought with on their right shoulder. This shoulder sleeve insignia recognizes "former wartime service" and is frequently called a "combat patch". Per Army Regulation 670-1, a soldier is authorized to wear the SSI of their higher headquarters. This is not dependent on whether or not the higher headquarters deployed, or to whom the soldier was attached throughout his/her deployment. Exceptions have been made for operations of relatively short duration such as service in the Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...

, Panama
Panama
Panama , officially the Republic of Panama , is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The...

 and Grenada
Grenada
Grenada is an island country and Commonwealth Realm consisting of the island of Grenada and six smaller islands at the southern end of the Grenadines in the southeastern Caribbean Sea...

.

With the transformation of the US Army into a brigade-centered force, the SSI that soldiers may wear for wartime service has grown. Where soldiers once fought only under the command of their home division headquarters, this is no longer always the case. Early in the Global War on Terrorism, soldiers could earn the wartime service patch of several units during a single deployment according to their chain of command. This issue was corrected to ensure that the soldier can now only earn the SSI for former wartime service for their home unit when deployed.

Entire formations of soldiers are rarely deployed to the same command structure. For example, a battalion from a separate support brigade may be attached to a Brigade Combat Team
Brigade combat team
The brigade combat team is the basic deployable unit of maneuver in the US Army. A brigade combat team consists of one combat arms branch maneuver brigade, and its attached support and fire units. A brigade combat team is generally commanded by a colonel , but in rare instances it is commanded by...

 during on deployment, which, in turn, would be attached to a different division headquarters. It is a misconception that in that deployment, soldiers in the battalion could earn three patches at once; the patch of their regular headquarters (the separate brigade), the patch of the Brigade Combat Team
Brigade combat team
The brigade combat team is the basic deployable unit of maneuver in the US Army. A brigade combat team consists of one combat arms branch maneuver brigade, and its attached support and fire units. A brigade combat team is generally commanded by a colonel , but in rare instances it is commanded by...

 that they were attached to, and the patch of the Division
Division (military)
A division is a large military unit or formation usually consisting of between 10,000 and 20,000 soldiers. In most armies, a division is composed of several regiments or brigades, and in turn several divisions typically make up a corps...

 that the Brigade Combat Team was attached to. In actuality the regulation states that soldiers will wear the shoulder sleeve insignia of former wartime service of the lowest deployed echelon authorized its own distinctive SSI, which applies to divisions, separate brigades, and a handful of battalions. After March 27, 2007 the policy was changed to allow units of company level and higher to wear the SSI of their regular headquarters as a combat patch. This policy change also means that units above company level no longer receive multiple combat patches for single deployments, in turn simplifying what combat patch soldiers are actually entitled to wear.

Although all US Army army group
Army group
An army group is a military organization consisting of several field armies, which is self-sufficient for indefinite periods. It is usually responsible for a particular geographic area...

s, field armies, and corps
Corps
A corps is either a large formation, or an administrative grouping of troops within an armed force with a common function such as Artillery or Signals representing an arm of service...

 have SSI, they do not award combat patches of these to all soldiers serving under them. These combat patches are usually only given to soldiers who serve the corps or army headquarters directly, and not one of the subordinate units.

There is no time-in-theater requirement for wear of the SSIFWTS and orders are not created to authorize it. Soldiers are also not required to wear a SSIFWTS, and if they can wear more than one SSIFWTS then Soldiers can alternate from one to another, but they cannot wear more than one at a time.

History

The 81st Infantry Division "Wildcat" is generally agreed to have been first U.S. Army unit authorized an SSI. In 1918, during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, the 81st Division sailed for France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 after training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina
Fort Jackson, South Carolina
Fort Jackson is a United States Army installation, which TRADOC operates on for Basic Combat Training , and is located in Columbia, South Carolina. This installation is named for Andrew Jackson, a United States Army General and 7th President of the United States.-Overview:Fort Jackson was created...

. On their left shoulder the men of the division wore an olive drab felt patch with the silhouette of a wildcat - after Wildcat Creek, a stream that flows through Fort Jackson. When men of the other fighting divisions challenged the right of 81st soldiers to wear the patch, General
General
A general officer is an officer of high military rank, usually in the army, and in some nations, the air force. The term is widely used by many nations of the world, and when a country uses a different term, there is an equivalent title given....

 John J. Pershing
John J. Pershing
John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing, GCB , was a general officer in the United States Army who led the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I...

 ruled that the 81st could keep this distinctive insignia. He also suggested that other divisions adopt shoulder patches of their own. This patch was officially adopted by the U.S. Army on October 19, 1918.

By World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, all army group
Army group
An army group is a military organization consisting of several field armies, which is self-sufficient for indefinite periods. It is usually responsible for a particular geographic area...

s, field armies, corps
Corps
A corps is either a large formation, or an administrative grouping of troops within an armed force with a common function such as Artillery or Signals representing an arm of service...

, and divisions
Division (military)
A division is a large military unit or formation usually consisting of between 10,000 and 20,000 soldiers. In most armies, a division is composed of several regiments or brigades, and in turn several divisions typically make up a corps...

, as well as all major Army commands, had unique SSI. These SSI would often be created with symbolism alluding to the unit's formation. Examples include the 82nd Airborne Division, which included an "AA" on its patch alluding to the "All-American" soldiers from every state that made it up, and the 29th Infantry Division, which included blue and grey to allude to soldiers that made it up being from states on both sides of the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

.

Most US formations had unique patches which varied greatly in size and makeup, with the exception of US Armored divisions (as well as I Armored corps and the U.S. Army Armor Center & School), all of which adopted the same patch (a yellow, red and blue triangle with a symbol for Armor in the middle). Each division and I Armored Corps then included its number in the upper yellow portion of the patch to distinguish it. The SSIs of those Armored units which survived into the Cold War became irregular pentagons (some units later than others) with the addition of rectangular section at the bottom, bearing the division's nickname or "U.S. Army Armor Center".

Subdued patches and insignia
Insignia
Insignia or insigne pl -nia or -nias : a symbol or token of personal power, status or office, or of an official body of government or jurisdiction...

 were introduced during the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 and were made mandatory for wear on the field uniform starting July 1, 1970.

SSIs are generally authorised only for units commanded by a general officer. In the early 1960s, separate armor regiments began creating SSI, and the number of separate brigades increased. Today, most separate brigades have their own SSI, but those brigades permanently assigned to divisions do not. A handful of smaller units have SSI (including US Army Ranger battalions [all of which have identical SSIs apart from the number], Trial Defense Service
United States Army Trial Defense Service
The United States Army Trial Defense Service is an independent unit within the Judge Advocate General's Corps, U.S. Army, and is part of the US Army Legal Services Agency . The TDS motto is "Defending Those Who Defend America."...

 and Headquarters & Headquarters Company, U.S. Army), but most units battalion
Battalion
A battalion is a military unit of around 300–1,200 soldiers usually consisting of between two and seven companies and typically commanded by either a Lieutenant Colonel or a Colonel...

 level and smaller do not have SSIs of their own. A handful of SSIs are designated for use by units which are not under a unified command wearing that SSI; these include Special Forces, Department of the Army Staff Support and the SSI designated for soldiers assigned outside of DOD (e.g., military attachés
Military attaché
A military attaché is a military expert who is attached to a diplomatic mission . This post is normally filled by a high-ranking military officer who retains the commission while serving in an embassy...

).

Shoulder sleeve insignia galleries

  • commons:Field Army insignia of the United States Army
  • Corps insignia of the United States Army
    Corps insignia of the United States Army
    Shoulder sleeve insignia are cloth emblems worn on the shoulders of U.S. Army uniforms to identify the primary headquarters to which a soldier is assigned...

  • Division insignia of the United States Army
    Division insignia of the United States Army
    Shoulder sleeve insignia are cloth emblems worn on the shoulders of US Army uniforms to identify the primary headquarters to which a soldier is assigned. The SSI of some army divisions have become known in popular culture....

  • Brigade insignia of the United States Army
    Brigade insignia of the United States Army
    Shoulder sleeve insignia are cloth emblems worn on the shoulders of US Army uniforms to identify the primary headquarters to which a Soldier is assigned. Like Division sized units, separate brigades of the United States Army are allowed their own SSI to distinguish their wearers from those of...

  • Miscellaneous shoulder sleeve insignia of the United States Army
    Miscellaneous shoulder sleeve insignia of the United States Army
    Shoulder sleeve insignia are cloth emblems worn on the shoulders of US Army uniforms to identify the primary headquarters to which a Soldier is assigned...


  • See also: Distinctive unit insignia
    Distinctive unit insignia
    A Distinctive Unit Insignia is a metal heraldic device worn by soldiers in the United States Army. The DUI design is derived from the coat of arms authorized for a unit...


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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