By Major Matt Cavanaugh
I recently came across an interesting story in Captain Harry C. Butcher’s book about his experiences as an aide to General Eisenhower from 1942 to 1945 (My Three Years with Eisenhower). On page 592 and continuing on 593 (diary entry for June 23, 1944), Butcher relates the story behind the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force patch. Butcher states that it was told to him by the two members of the Historical Office of the Secretary of the General Staff: Captain Douglas F. Price (a British officer nicknamed “1066”) and Captain Duncan Emrich (an American officer nicknamed “Buzz” due to his extreme distaste for the German “Buzz bombs”). Here’s what Butcher described:
“They told me the story of the SHAEF patch that I had heard only inaccurately before. General Morgan, anticipating the arrival of a Supreme Commander, had directed in the autumn of 1943 that a badge be designed, and the committee which was appointed in turn directed the Royal College of Heralds to produce a sign symbolic of the task ahead. Price said that the design had ‘some sort of waves, presumably indicating an amphibious operation,’ and was generally not acceptable, although the ‘Flaming Sword’ was accepted as a base for further development. The final design was produced by Colonel Lack with the artistic help of Corporal D.Q. Goodall, and ATS girl. Price called my attention particularly to the fact that the ‘Flaming Sword’ was modeled on that of the 2nd U.S. Division Memorial (1917-18) in Washington. Ike approved the badge when he assumed command, and in March it came into general use as the headquarters shoulder patch and vehicle mark. The flaming sword of freedom cuts the black of the Nazi night over Europe and points the way to the final rainbow of peace and liberty. The rainbow is made up of the colors of the Allied nations.”
I’m enjoying these last histories of "flair." Keep ’em coming!
Why can’t I find anything about when the the meaning behind turning the patch blue, I seem to remember that it was "the sky was cleared of nazi oppression" that’s my interpertation.
I came across an old military shoulder patch a few years back and finally figured out today what it was. It's a SHEF shoulder patch. I know nothing about these kinds of items. Does it have any value? Either monetarily or to a museum?
As a member the US Army of Occupation in Germany from 1949-1953 I wore this patch on my shoulder – proudly. to us it was called the "Eisenhower Patch". I have pictures of me in class A uniform with e patch showing.
Was it worn on just the left shoulder, or one on each shoulder?
Mr Lambert, based upon U.S. Army regulation it was/is worn on the upper left sleeve of the Service Coat. *Any patch worn on the right soulder sleeve represents former wartime service, this regulation came about after WWII. **Only Eisenhower & a few of his US staff officers would have been authorized to wear this patch on their right shoulder.
I am the reading the book previously mentioned. A great book. This question is why Ike and only a few officers could wear the patch on the right shoulder??
I kept my father's dress uniform and finally know what the patch on his left shoulder means.