When you first meet somebody, are you in the habit of checking out their Velcro patches? I always do. Morale patches can tell you a lot about a person. If someone’s wearing a patch like yours, or something you can relate to, then you know you’ve found a buddy!
Morale patches have been popular among soldiers for over a century. The history behind them is fascinating! Early patches had appeared by the time of the Civil War, hand embroidered and placed on individual soldiers to identify them and their affiliation. As they were not mass produced, these patches varied from person to person. Not until the 20th century did we see the emergence of uniform morale patches as we know them today.
BROTHERS IN ARMS
The US Army’s first morale patches were sported by the 81st Division Wildcats around 1917. The wildcat image boosted the division’s sense of solidarity and esprit de corps. The patch was quickly adopted as the US Army’s first official shoulder sleeve insignia. Since then, morale patches have become a badge of pride for service members, police officers and civilians alike.
You can see how morale patch display can strengthen bonds between those wearing them. Originally, a patch signified that you were members of the same division. Brothers in arms! Today, the morale patch provides that same feeling of camaraderie even outside the military.
But that’s only one of many reasons why you need a morale patch.
The military has always sought to instill a sense of duty and discipline among its ranks. But that doesn’t mean you won’t find irreverence among the troops. That’s one way for them to stay sane in what can be a monotonous slog… by not taking things too seriously. We can all relate to that, right?
One fun way of tweaking the nose of the establishment is wearing something that looks official, but isn’t! Morale patches are largely unofficial and can display humor, pop culture references or even crude language. Someone who catches sight of an irreverent insignia is likely to laugh, or at least quietly chuckle over an inside joke. Morale patch display can boost one’s spirits, that’s for sure!
Check out these Velcro patches that say “But Did You Die?” and “Suck It Up, Buttercup!” They express the timeless adage that grit and determination will see you through all challenges. They just say it in a locker room way.
Enjoyed these funny patches? Here are a few more awesome ones to make you laugh! (I personally love the Bob Ross patch.)
Icons possess a kind of magic. The US flag is an icon. The American eagle is an icon. For Americans, they stand for love of country, and displaying the icon encourages one to live up to that ideal.
An icon on a patch motivates a person to embody what it stands for. You find yourself needing to show you’re worthy of wearing it. That’s a powerful way to give yourself serious purpose and drive.
Iconic images and symbols are often inspired by popular culture: music, movies, television, videogames and comics. The iconic visage of Darth Vader adorned the Navy Electronic Attack Squadron 209’s military morale patches. (George Lucas personally approved, it’s been said.) No doubt the squadron’s members wanted to signify that they were every bit as badass as Vader himself.
RULE OF COOL
Superhero icons are popular with both military and civilian patch enthusiasts. Batman, Superman and Captain America insignias are widely available as Velcro patches. But villains are not to be left out! Darth Vader’s the big one, but you won’t have to look far to find patches featuring the Joker, Venom, Frieza, Skeletor and other bad guys. Coz villains are cool!
Now have a look at these patches sporting the call signs of Goose and Maverick from “Top Gun.” You put on a patch like that, dollars to donuts you’re hoping a little of the character’s cool mojo rubs off on you. It’s a statement of what you wish to be, and an encouragement to remain on the path to that ideal.
PRIDE AND LOYALTY
K9 patches are some of the most popular patches around! These technically refer to the canine (K9) units of police departments, which have a law enforcer working with a trained police dog. But K9 patches are also broadly used by regular dog owners to signify the strong bond between human and pet.
Many K9 patches depict the dog as being a badass or fearsome beast. Clearly, they are expressions of an owner’s pride in their dog. They also indicate the owner’s trust in their animal. K9 patches are worn by people who know that they can count on the loyalty of man’s best friend. They’re confident that the dog will follow their commands and protect them from danger.
PRIDE IN SERVICE
Service dogs patches have a similar significance, but they also offer a practical purpose. These patches signal that the dog is more than a pet. It’s a working dog on special duty, whose presence can be vital to the health or care of its owner. Service dogs require special treatment compared to regular dogs. It’s bad to touch or pet a service dog without the handler’s permission. And you’re not supposed to give one food or snacks.
Service dogs patches are often worn by the animal, usually on a vest. These patches sometimes display warnings such as “Working,” “Do Not Pet” or “Do Not Feed.” They tend to be more utilitarian than K9 patches.
A PERSONAL TOUCH
Servicemen often find that people see the uniform, not the person. While that can be a good thing, it can also diminish one’s aura of individuality. Sporting a morale patch can help a soldier add a personal touch to one’s uniform (to the degree that it is allowed, that is).
Morale patches do suit uniforms very well. Perhaps because a patch can highlight the contrast between uniform conformity and individual flair. A patch can also look good on a jacket, backpack, tote bag or tactical gear. The choice of where to display a morale patch is also an expression of one’s individuality. Check out how good patches look on a Tactical Backpack, Admin Pouch or IFAK Pouch.
Patches can also be used to commemorate significant experiences in one’s life. After the height of the pandemic, many overseas troops adopted patches saying “I Survived COVID-19” and similar sentiments. Some people wear patches showing that they’re fighting cancer or that they survived it.
You’re not required to wear morale patches, of course. Nothing’s wrong with wanting to collect patches without sporting them on your outerwear. Many collectors keep their patches on a morale patch display boards. These are heavy-duty fabric pads that you can attach your Velcro patches to, and they’ll stay in place. The patch boards can be rolled up for easy carrying in your bag, and taken out to show off or hang on a wall.
Morale patches can also be sewn into a blanket or quilt. Or you can craft an album or scrapbook for the purpose of morale patch display. If you have a large collection, a set of albums might be the best option for you.
Looking for the best morale patches to collect? Start by checking out these cool and badass 14er morale patches! We’re sure you’ll find one that appeals to you!