A morale patch is a piece of art that is used as a military ornamental insignia with humorous images and expressions. They are designed to build esprit end corps within the military and can be used as identification with a particular unit.
Morale patches are not official patches distributed by the military but are usually found on military clothing and gear. However, they are deeply integrated into the army.
At first, the morale patches were known as battle patches, it is a name given by the British Army even before World War 1 and it was used to identify allied and enemy units – the uncommon designs served as a way of separating not only allies from enemies but different units in the allied army.
A couple of years later, the patches became so distinctive and unique that a sub-culture was created around them. People started collecting morale patches – it became a collector’s item. This, however, served a bigger purpose other than mere trading collectible items. This was an invitation for the broader public to become more acquainted with the military.
This was a way of mitigating the differences between the army and the civilian population. And quite a successful one. Collecting morale patches has become more than a hobby for some people. There are individuals who live from making custom morale patches – whole websites and companies dedicated to designing, making, and distributing the patches to the customers.
More Than a Hobby
Supporting local or not so local private business is one of the benefits of acquiring a morale patch. Most small businesses of this kind that are on the internet require you to buy in bulk. As they are small privately-owned businesses or just someone’s hobby they do all their work by hand.
There is a possibility that there are some machines that require a person to operate them, but the point is the same – people who are in this business are morale patch lovers themselves working from their homes, garages, and backyards to share their fondness of morale patches.
The estimated wait period for the whole batch to be completed can be a nuisance, however. As they are all hand made from drawing and transitioning the picture from paint into embroidery to distributing.
The prices vary, but they generally revolve around one principle – size vs quantity, the toughness of the task, or rather the amount of detail and color needed can also be a factor that can alter the price.
Meaning Behind the Patches
Having patches often make fun of a depressing, boring or otherwise specific part of the job is a completely regular morale patch.
Having Krusty from the hit TV series The Simpsons on your military insignia being annoyed by the mundane job such as the Navy customs is a way of expressing yourself while in the army. You have a job to do, but having Krusty with you makes the task much easier and he makes it seem like the job is doable.
Or when you feel like the war is about to break out. A satirical patch can be what you are looking for – in the midst of the Cold War when the situation seemed unavoidable, and everyone has gotten enlisted one particular patch got popular.
On the outer circle, the writer stated: “When you care enough to send the very best” while looking on the picture you could see the USA and the USSR sending rockets towards each other.
Getting a morale patch isn’t expensive nor is it something you have to work for. It is as easy as sending a message to the website that makes them. People who collect and trade them understand that they are not just pieces of soldier’s uniform – they are a part of a greater story.
The patch speaks the tale on its own. Whether it is a funny one to boost morale or a satirical one to remind of humanity. Getting a patch and understanding its story gets you one step close to mutual understanding between a civilian and a soldier.