Embroidered military patches bearing images of parachutes, eagles, and all manner of stars are sewn to the jackets of soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines to designate the squadrons, divisions, brigades, wings, or vessels they are associated with. Patches can also show rank and some even acknowledge one's status as a veteran.

Patches worn by U.S. servicemen during the Vietnam War are especially eye-catching and easy to collect since they are still relatively inexpensive. Signal Corps patches frequently have lightning bolts on them, a symbol of the microwave and tropospheric transmissions that kept troops connected during the conflict. Members of the Green Berets wore a patch with a diagonal gold stripe forming the background for three thinner red ones on their trademark hats. Other patches prominently featured images of swords, such as those for members of the United States Army, Vietnam (a white sword on a field of gold, blue, and red) and the patch for members of the 173rd Airborne Division (white wings carrying a red sword).


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