Military Special Ops & Forces Patches

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Information extracted from the book
by Barry Jason Stein

Used by permission

1st SOCOM patch

Worn from:  26 April 1983 - 19 December 1990.

The horse's head is a reference to the knight in chess, the only piece capable of moving indirectly and of striking from and within enemy territory.  Green and silver are colors associated with special operations units.  The lightning flash is symbolic of speed and striking power.


Worn from:  1 December 1989 - Current.

The stylized spearhead alludes to the shoulder-sleeve insignia worn by the First Special Service Forces and signifies the heritage and traditions that the United States Army Special Operations Command will perpetuate.  The unsheathed black dagger symbolizes total military preparedness and has long been associated with army special operations forces.

USASOCOM Europe patch

Worn from:  8 November 1993 - Current.

The insignia was approved on 8 December 1993.  The shield represents strength and defense; its three sides emphasize the command's many capabilities -- on land, in the water, or in the air.  The indented border implies the hazardous conditions under which the Special Operations Command, Europe operates.  Red symbolizes action, sacrifice, and courage; white denotes integrity.  The black dagger, raised to represent military preparedness, is adapted from the special forces insignia and reflects the command's heritage and association.  Black and white allude to twenty-four hour vigilance in total combat readiness.

USACA Psych Ops Cmd Patch
Psych Ops Cmd

Worn from:  16 January 1990 - 19 December 1990.

Re-designated:  Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command -- United States Army.

Worn from:  19 December 1990 - Current.

The sword represents the military nature and strength of the command.  The flashes suggest speed and electronic communica - tions.  The colors of the insignia reflect the units within the command.  Purple is associated traditionally with civil affairs and dark green with psychological operations and special forces.  The color gold (yellow) denotes excellence.


Worn from:  31 May 1995 - Current.

The parachute represents the airborne status of the unit and is a primary means of delivery of forces.  The three lightning bolts represent the sea, air, and land mediums used for rapid deployment of forces.  The dagger, a replica of the stiletto issued to the First Special Service Force, ties the organization to its United States Army Special Operations forefathers.  The wings represent the rotary wing aviation component of the army.  The trident is representative of the United States Army Special Forces surface, subsurface, and small boat operations.

SOCOM 1st Design Patch
1st Design

Worn from:  15 September 1983 - April 1989.

SOCOM 2nd Design patch
2nd Design

Worn from:  April 1989 - August 1991.

SOCOM 3rd Design patch
3rd Design

Worn from:  August 1991 - Current.

The shoulder-sleeve insignia is adapted from the official seal of the United States Special Operations Command.  The color black alludes to special operations activities performed under the cover of darkness.  The color yellow represents the quality of excellence as performed by the command in the nation's defense.  The spearhead suggests the fighting capabilities of the command.  The bands on the spearhead refer to the forces assigned from the army, navy, and air force.  The braided border encircling the shield represents strength through unity.

SOCOMC Commander Aircraft Patch
Ccommander Aircraft

Worn from:  June  1992 - July 1995.

Approved for local wear only.

Joint SOCOM patch

Worn from:  July 1994 - July 1995.

The origin of the design is unknown.