Soldiers, police officers, and even civilians have grown to love morale patches, but what are their origins? The history of morale patches is long and interesting, so let's start by taking a look at what a morale patch is.

What Is A Morale Patch?

Morale patches are a small strip of fabric with an insignia, letters, logo, design, or quote that is sewn into a soldier's uniform. Morale patches are primarily used to identify membership within a particular unit, such as a division or brigade. They are intended to build an esprit de corps, or pride and loyalty, with each member of a particular group.

Origins of the Morale Patch

Morale patches have been around since at least the early 20th century, possibly before World War I. British soldiers would wear distinct designs to identify allies and what unit they belonged to. The first known morale patch in the US Army can be traced back to the 81st Division Wildcats during World War I. The Wildcats wanted an easily identifiable representation of their unit to boost the morale of their troops, leading to the birth of the morale patch. Shortly after it was adopted, General Pershing ordered every division to create and wear patches with a design that was unique to their own unit. Since then, morale patches can be found throughout the military and police departments.

Patch Trading

Shortly after their introduction, soldiers would customize morale patches to show off their own personalities while indicating their loyalty to a brigade. These customizations led to patch trading. While it started with soldiers trading their patches, this practice eventually spread to civilians. Law enforcement agencies began creating their own morale patches as well, and these practices led both law enforcement and the armed services to appear more approachable to the general population. You can still find collectors and traders of morale patches anywhere you go, from thrift stores to flea markets. Morale patches from World War I through the current day are incredibly popular collector's items.

Morale Patches Today

The use of morale patches can vary between divisions, with some being stricter on uniform regulations. Most uniforms include Velcro on backpacks, bags, and hats, allowing for easy application and removal of morale patches, depending on what unit a soldier belongs to. Morale patches today have an even wider array of uses than they were originally designed for. You can find morale patches with medical information, like allergies, blood type, and preexisting conditions, patches with inspirational quotes, patches with meaningful or amusing symbolism, and much more. These patches can be used to create solidarity with fellow soldiers while also showing off a soldier's unique personality.

Veteran Pride

Morale patches are not just popular among active duty soldiers, but can be found widely used within the military veteran community. Even without a traditional uniform, veterans will wear morale patches on their hats or jackets long after their uniform has been retired. This allows veterans to point out any specialty jobs they had, when they served, what conflicts they served during, and any other facts or events they are proud of. It is also very common for pins to be created that bear former morale patches. This makes them easier to wear on a wider variety of clothing, so veterans can always keep these symbols close by.

Whether you are active duty, a veteran, or a civilian, morale patches can become an important part of your apparel. At Tactical Distributors, we are committed to supplying you with the very best brands for dependable performance and long-lasting endurance when you need it most. With a large selection of options available coupled with our commitment to affordability, we are confident you will find everything you seek with ease. We carry a wide variety of morale patches that allow you to show off your unique personality on your uniform. Made with high-quality materials, patches are available in your choice of embroidered stitching or PVC, depending on the design. Many of our patches are Velcro backed to allow you to regularly swap out patches when you want to change up your look. If you have any questions about any of the morale patches we offer, please contact us for further assistance today.