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No photo attached, so can't comment on the photo. However, if you are talking about US Army Armor triangles, I have seen them worn on the pocket in the 1960s--- not as unit insignia, but as various types of awards (distinguished tank gunner, etc) and by instructors from the Armor school. Doc

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For tradition reasons, supposedly connected with Patton wanting the troopers to wear the patch close to their hearts, at various times different armor units wore their unit patch above or on a pocket rather than on the sleeve. There is a thread here with a bunch of pictures and some speculation: http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=18511

While I was in the Army, the only units I recall encountering with patches like this were the 2nd Armored Division. However, that thread shows other examples.

Besides armored patches, I have seen this done in one other context: during the 1980s and early 1990s, several active divisions had as a third "roundout" brigade a National Guard or Reserve brigade. These Guard and Reserve brigades had their own sleeve patches, but would sometimes wear the patch of the division to which they were attached above the right pocket. As I recall seeing when I was at Fort Benning, Georgia, the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the Georgia National Guard wore the patch of the 24th Infantry Division on the pocket while they were a roundout brigade. The roundout concept ended in the 1990s as the active Army shrank and the remaining active divisions filled out their missing brigades with those of deactivating divisions.

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Oh that...

As you may recall, the US Army is eliminating the green Class As and replacing them with the dress blues (returning more or less to the traditional Army Blue). Sleeve patches are not worn on the dress blues, so for the new uniforms, the right shoulder "combat patch" (officially "Shoulder Sleeve Insignia - Former Wartime Service") is replaced by a pocket fob.

General Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, commanded the 1st Armored Division in Iraq from June 2003 to July 2004. He was previously the XO of 3rd Brigade, 3rd Armored Division, during Desert Storm, so I suppose he could wear that unit's insignia instead. His official photo shows the 1AD fob: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Army_General_Martin_E._Dempsey,_CJCS,_official_portrait_2011.jpg

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Ah, That is the new Army duty uniform-- just like the old "dress blues". No patches allowed. The "combat patch" is now in the form of an enameled version of the patch, worn below the right pocket, over the liver. I think it looks ridiculous in that location, and perhaps the General agrees with me. By regulation, his location for that "patch" is not correct, but who ever corrects a General about uniform violations? I am assuming that is his "combat patch", but I can't see the number on it to really check it on Google.

Dave and I seem to have been typing at the same time. Doc

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ah, That is the new Army duty uniform-- just like the old "dress blues". No patches allowed. The "combat patch" is now in the form of an enameled version of the patch, worn below the right pocket, over the liver. I think it looks ridiculous in that location, and perhaps the General agrees with me. By regulation, his location for that "patch" is not correct, but who ever corrects a General about uniform violations? I am assuming that is his "combat patch", but I can't see the number on it to really check it on Google.

Dave and I seem to have been typing at the same time. Doc

I seem to have been a bit incorrect in my comment. I was right as of the time the new uniform was implemented, but I found out today that the correct location for the "combat patch" is now on the right pocket, as the General is wearing it.

Today, I was told by an officer wearing this uniform that most personnel really dislike it, since "It makes us look like bus drivers rather than soldiers". Doc

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I seem to have been a bit incorrect in my comment. I was right as of the time the new uniform was implemented, but I found out today that the correct location for the "combat patch" is now on the right pocket, as the General is wearing it.

Today, I was told by an officer wearing this uniform that most personnel really dislike it, since "It makes us look like bus drivers rather than soldiers". Doc

I've been out for a long time now, but I remember when I was mistaken for police officer in New York while wearing my Blues on the subway back in 1979. Fortunately, I wasn't asked to arrest anyone for anything

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Some nuances to your observations. Yes, new regs have the SSI for FWTS located on the breast pocket. I doubt if he would, but GOs retain some ability (as I recall) to prescribe their uniform, so if he wanted to place the emblem out of location (unless that has changed since I left) he would be within his authority to do so. It is not likely on this uniform because of the appearance of impropriety, but I have seen it in the past for small subtle things.

Additionally, on the old time BDUs and pickle suits, SSI for 2d Armored Division was worn on the left breast, as GEN Patton wanted to keep Hell on Wheels close to the heart. At least that was the tradition my peers passed on to me who served in the 2 AD.

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There's also some regs about wearing different breast badges - Army Staff ID, Presidential/VP service, Drill Sergeant, Recruiting, etc. So you could wear up to two per pocket, I believe.

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In the 1960s & 1970s, some U.S. Army units wore full-color Distinctive Unit Insignia (DUI) patches on the left pocket of "fatigue" shirts & field jackets. All, or nearly all, 1st Infantry Division units did so. After deployment to Republic of Vietnam, subdued versions of DUI patches were substituted for full-color versions.

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