FORT KNOX, Ky. --
Tradition runs deep in the U.S. Army, and unit patches are just one staple in an organization steeped in history.
On Sept. 14, 2020, U.S. Army Recruiting Command’s 48-year-old patch will get an official makeover.
This is only third time in 15 years a modification to a U.S. Army shoulder sleeve insignia has been authorized by the Army Institute of Heraldry.
The new patch with inverted colors, intended to make the patch more noticeable on Army recruiting NCOs’ uniforms, was designed by Salt Lake City Recruiting Battalion’s Sgt. 1st Class Eddie Haddle.
Soldiers across the Army don patches on all of their uniforms. They are markers that easily identify the Soldier’s current unit on the left sleeve and the unit with which the Soldier has deployed on the right.
The current USAREC patch dates back to Nov. 21, 1967. When USAREC was established on July 1, 1966, leaders determined that the “U.S. Army Recruiting Service” patch worn as part of the Continental Army Command was no longer appropriate, so the process began to establish a new shoulder sleeve insignia.
The first official patch for the newly established U.S. Army Recruiting Command was to have 13 stars, representing the original states, and the Liberty Bell, indicating the command’s role in the preservation of liberty and defense of country. Initially, the “recruiting” tab was a separate tab.
Complaints about having to purchase two badges to create the full insignia led to the creation of the current patch, which is only one piece, on Dec. 6, 1972.
Not long after, in July 1973, the draft had been eliminated and the all-volunteer force was underway, bringing about significant changes for the Army’s recruiting force.
While recruiting an all-volunteer force, Army recruiting NCOs across the nation wore the recruiting patch on all of their uniforms until 2007. At that time, the command took a seven-year hiatus from the recruiting patch to wear the subdued Army Star Logo patch on the Army Combat Uniform. This was done through an exception to policy requested by Lt. Gen. Benjamin Freakley, who served as the command general for U.S. Army Accessions Command at the time, to “help improve initial reception for our Soldiers, particularly in challenging environments.”
The recruiting patch did not go away entirely, as the exception was only for the Army Combat Uniform.
In 2014, the commanding general for USAREC at the time, Maj. Gen. Al Batschelet, made the request to end the exception to policy for the Army Star Logo and bring the recruiting patch back to the Army Combat Uniform.
In the nearly five decades of its existence, the recruiting patch has been worn on the sleeves of Army recruiting NCOs as they have helped more than six million volunteers find a career in the Regular Army and Army Reserve.
Now with a new attention-grabbing patch on the way – with all the historical aspects still intact, of course – USAREC’s recruiting NCOs looking to the future as they continue the mission to seek quality individuals for the Army team.