Sunday, November 2, 2008

The History Behind the Patches

My primary profession since 1997 is in information technology. My wife and I are self-employed ( I’m the geek who works with spreadsheets and databases, consulting and instruction. My wife Sheila on the other hand is a graphic artist and website designer. Together we create t-shirts and gift items for veterans on another site called Military Vet Shop (

The reason I tell you all this is not in a gratuitous attempt to sell you IT consulting or a veteran’s sweatshirt. The designs we make almost all have a unit patch on them. The patch we’re talking about is the shoulder insignia worn on the uniform. A soldier wears the patch of the unit they are assigned to on their left shoulder, and the unit they have been in combat with on their right. The reason that the patch that a veteran had on his shoulder is so important is because each of those colorful patches has a story behind it. When you become a part of a military unit, you become part of its history, part of the story behind the patch. The unit’s reputation is your reputation. Today, since I wore the Blackhorse patch of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, it is like I made the last cavalry charge in 1916 with them. I had gone into Cambodia with them. Those who wear it today patrolled the East German border with me. The future soldiers of the 11th ACR will have gone to Iraq with the troopers of today.
To honor those veterans, I enjoy posting a summary history (usually between 1000 and 1800 words) for some of the unit patches found on the site. I’ve created 22 so far with many more to follow. Today is significant because I just put up the first history of a marine unit (the other 21 are for army units). If you are interested, and I hope you are, take a look at the history of the 1st Marine Division, From that page there are links to others. I’d like to hear what you think. I hope you’ll share them with others.

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