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Rank & Army Unit Patches Meaning

What are these patches you might see on a soldier’s left or maybe even right shoulder? Well, stick around because in this video, that’s what we’re talking about. What’s up, friends? I’m US Army veteran Christopher Khaos. And in this video, we’re talking about these patches that you may see on a soldier’s left sleeve, right sleeve, maybe even sometimes on their Kevlar or wherever you might see them. Some of you may know this as a unit patch, maybe even a combat patch. The distinction between it being a unit patch or a combat patch, I’ll explain here in a little bit. But it is officially a shoulder sleeve Insignia or SSI. Let’s dive a little bit more into what the unit patch or the SSI even is. These patches are used to identify the headquarters of the unit that a soldier is assigned to. Now, you see one of these patches on the left sleeve of the uniform, then that is their unit patch. That is the unit that they are assigned to. But if you see it on the right sleeve, then that is a combat patch, and that is the headquarters of the unit that they deployed to a combat zone with.

Now, a soldier may have deployed with multiple units. For example, I deployed with 4ID and 30 ACR. Technically, I was allowed to wear either or. I can’t wear both. It’s one or the other. But I chose to wear the one that I went to Iraq with the very first time, and that was 30 ACR. Now, there are two different versions of the patch. There is usually a subdued version and a colored version. Colored version used to be worn on the Class A uniform. Now, the army has a different type of dress blue style uniform that they use, and it does not have that unit patch on the shoulder anymore. But on the current army service uniform, you might see a small metal version that is in color that is located on the right breast pocket of the soldier, and that represents their combat patch. So for the most part, you’re going to see the subdued versions usually on soldiers being worn on the left sleeve of the army combat uniform or possibly on the right sleeve if they have been to a combat zone. But let’s talk about some of the patches that I wore when I was in the army, as well as some of the more popular ones or the more commonly known ones that are more familiar that people might see in different areas.

Now, be advised, there are a ton of unit patches. Do not expect this video to cover every single unit patch that is out there. That would take a very long time. But we’re going to cover some of the ones, like I said, that you may recognize. Here I have two Velcro versions that were the last ones that I had. This one right here is from the 30 ACR. It was my third unit that I was ever assigned to. I wore this while I was in Fort Carson, and that’s where the headquarters was at the time. But currently it is out of Fort hood. So if you’re in the Fort hood area, you might see some soldiers walking around with this patch on their left shoulder. This one here was the last unit that I was in. This was the fourth Infantry Division. The headquarters is out of Fort Carson, Colorado. And if you are in the area, you might see some soldiers walking around with this guy on their left shoulder. Now, one that I do not have a Velcro version of because at the time it was simply a Sew On patch. That is going to be from the First Armored Division.

At the time, I was stationed in Fort Riley, Kansas, but currently the headquarters is out of Fort bliss, Texas. I also wore the Joint Security Area patch, and that patch is very specific to that unit in Korea. I don’t have a Velcro version of that patch either because back in those days, it was a Sew On patch for me. Probably have a Sew On version around somewares, but that patch would only be familiar to you if maybe you’ve been to Korea. This would not be a patch you’d probably see a soldier wearing in the United States unless they were, for some reason, going to a school from Korea or doing something from Korea for some crazy reason. Here’s one, though, that may look familiar to you. This one is from the first Infantry Division, also commonly known as the Big Red One. This is one that I used to see all the time while stationed in Fort Riley, Kansas, as their headquarters is out of there. So if you are in the Fort Riley, Kansas area, this could be also a common patch that you might see. This next one is the second Infantry Division.

This is a very big patch that takes up a lot of real estate on a soldier’s sleeve. But this would be a very common one that you might see in Korea, but you may also see it in Fort Lewis. This next patch is the 10th Mountain Division. It’s headquarters is out of Fort Drum, New York, so that might be a common area you might see a soldier wear in this patch. Anybody who has an interest in the army or maybe watches a lot of war movies will definitely recognize this guy as this patch is worn by the 101st Airborne Division, and their headquarters is out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Another airborne patch you might recognize is the 82nd Airborne Division. And if you happen to be in the Fort Bragg area, that’s their headquarters. So you might see some soldiers walk around with this patch. Next up, we have the First Cav. This is another one of those really huge patches that take up a lot of real estate. And if you happen to be in the Fort hood, Texas area, you might recognize it as that is their headquarters. Next up, of course, we have the very popular First Special Forces Command.

Now, this patch you might see in a lot of different areas as there are multiple groups spread out throughout the United States. You might see some in the Fort Carson, Colorado area, maybe in the Washington area, or even in the Fort Bragg area as that is actually where the headquarters of the special forces is located. Another thing I want to note with this patch is if you see a soldier wearing this patch, it doesn’t always necessarily mean that he’s actually a special forces individual. But one way you can usually tell that that is actually an individual that is special forces is if above that airborne tab, they additionally have a special forces tab. If they simply just have the sword with the airborne above it, they could possibly just be working with the special forces in a different role but not actually be special forces, like going through the queue course and selection and all that stuff. So special forces tab above the airborne, Special Forces soldier, simply just airborne above the sword, just means that that soldier is in a special forces unit. So there you have it. That is just a handful of some popular ones that you may recognize.

Like I said, there are a ton of unit patches. Don’t think that I’m trying to cover every single one because I’m leaving out a lot because there is too many to sit here and cover in this video. But hey, my question is, if any of you out there maybe have a favorite, let me know what unit patch is your favorite one that you like the style and design of. Any of my veterans out there or active duty people, let me know what your favorite unit patch that you wore was. It might have probably been my GSA one. A lot of people saw it as a scroll from a distance, so they thought I was a lot more high speed than I really was when I was just in the GSA, which is somewhat of a high speed unit too, but it would commonly be mistaken as thinking that maybe I’m a ranger or something. I’m not trying to play it off and pretend that I was a ranger, but sometimes it was funny because from a distance someone would just see this scroll and think that maybe I was some really high speed guy. Now, additionally, if any of you veterans or active duty personnel out there want to send me maybe an awesome unit patch, maybe we can make a unit patch wall and replace those CDs with some cool unit patches.

I do have a PO Box that is down in the description. If you want to send me a unit patch, I’ll trade you for a chaos sticker if you like. Additionally, with that PO Box, if you just want to send me a letter and maybe an address, maybe you want a pen pal. I don’t know. You want to send me some cool stuff, then that’s cool. If you just want to say, Hey, I want a chaos sticker, I’ll probably send you a chaos sticker as well if you have them still left. But there you go. There’s a little video about unit patches or the SSI, the Shoulder Sleeve Insignia. If you liked the video and it was informative for you, then make sure you hit that thumbs up. If you want to check out some of my other content, I got some suggested videos that are awesome. Check them out. If you’re not yet subscribed to this channel and you want to see more content like this, hit that subscribe button. Thank you so much for watching. I’m Christopher Kost and I will see you next time. See you.

George N.