Condition: Near Mint
Base Material: Cotton
Product Description: This is a great, wartime manufactured example of the iconic and very desirable 101st Airborne Sleeve Patch. This one is textbook woven construction. The patch was manufactured as two separate pieces, which are a perfect match, having remained together through the decades. The main patch features the “screaming eagle” emblem with a red tongue, on a black background. There is also an “Airborne” banner, with yellow lettering on black. Every detail of this 101st Airborne Sleeve Patch is correct for WWII, including the machine embroidered cut edges, and the “snowy” look of the off-white bobbin thread on the reverse. There is no damage, no stitch holes, or any other indication this patch was ever worn. This original US Army sleeve patch remains in unissued, near mint condition, with only typical, slight age toning.
Historical Description: Shoulder sleeve insignia in the US Army dates back to 1918. Some units going into battle in WWI were authorized to wear a distinctive patch indicating their unit assignment, on the left shoulder of their uniform. By WWII, all army groups, field armies, corps and divisions had their own unique insignia. Many of these were made with bright colors and eye-catching designs. Different units had different distinctive patches beyond the shoulder sleeve insignia patch; there were also enameled pins, patches worn on pockets of jump uniforms or on the exterior of flight jackets, as well as cap patches that were worn on the overseas cap. Soldiers who deployed to combat zones, and later transferred to different units, were permitted to wear the insignia of the unit they belonged to during wartime, on the right sleeve of the uniform. It is possible to date US Army insignia by looking at design and construction details. Patches from WWII and before were embroidered on sheets of fabric that were then cut into individual patches, resulting in a distinctive “cut edge” as opposed to having a “merrowed edge” that has stitching that wraps around the edge of the patch on all edges. The color and appearance of the bobbin thread on the reverse of the patch can also indicate age. During WWII, as the war progressed, unit patches were also made in England, Italy, France and Germany. Hand-embroidered bullion patches were worn by some Army personnel, and some printed patches were also produced. Some original WWII-era US Army insignia remains extremely common today, while other variants are very scarce, and can be extremely desirable collectibles.
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