How to Put Patches on Army Uniforms

by Liz Frazier

Army uniform patches signify the wearer's unit or any special qualification he might have. Patches can be worn on either the Army combat uniform worn in the field--known as an ACU--and on the Army service uniform worn in garrison--known as the ASU. The wearing of patches on both types of uniforms is directed by Army Regulation 670-1, "Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia."

Army Combat Uniform

Attach unit patches to the ACU jacket. The ACU jacket has Velcro pads on both shoulders. On the left shoulder, affix the patch for the unit to which you are currently assigned. On the right shoulder, you have the option of affixing the unit patch of any unit with which you served in a combat zone.

Attach skill tab patches to the ACU jacket. Skill tabs such as the "Ranger" or "Special Forces" patch go on the left shoulder above the unit patch and are secured with Velcro materials. You may only wear up to three skill tabs.

Attach the U.S. flag patch to the ACU jacket. Press the flag patch onto the right shoulder pocket flap above the unit patch. The U.S. flag patch, like the skill tabs and unit patches, should be in subdued colors that blend in with the color scheme of the ACU jacket.

Attach the name tape to the ACU jacket. There is a thin, horizontal, rectangular Velcro pad above the right breast pocket for this purpose. The name tape should have your last name only and be manufactured in the same color scheme as the ACU jacket.

Attach the branch tape to the ACU jacket. There is a thin, horizontal, rectangular Velcro pad above the left breast pocket for this purpose. The name tape should read "U.S. Army" and be manufactured in the same color scheme as the ACU jacket.

Attach the two rank tabs, one on the front zipper seam of the jacket and one on the front of the patrol cap.

Army Service Uniform

Attach enlisted rank patch to the ASU jacket. You may elect to either sew the patch on by hand or take the uniform and patches to a tailor. The rank patch should be located on the outer part of each sleeve, at the halfway point between the shoulder and the elbow.

Attach the service stripes patch to your ASU jacket. Service stripes are diagonal yellow bars that represent three years of service in the Army. Service stripes should be positioned so that they are four inches above the left sleeve cuff and form a 45 degree angle with the bottom of the cuff.

Attach overseas service bars to your ASU jacket. You may affix one bar for every six months of service in a combat zone. Center the overseas service bars on the right sleeve, four inches above the cuff. As with the service stripes, you can either sew on the overseas service bars by hand or take them to a tailor.

Items you will need

  • ACU jacket
  • ACU trousers
  • Name tape
  • Branch tape
  • Unit patches- subdued
  • Two rank tabs- subdued
  • U.S. flag patch- subdued
  • Skill tabs- subdued
  • ASU jacket
  • ASU trousers
  • Rank patch
  • Service stripes
  • Overseas service bars

About the Author

Liz Frazier has been producing Web content, instructional articles and trivia for websites such as TopTenz.net and RealDealTechnologies.com since 2008. Her writing interests lie primarily in the areas of politics (specifically public administration and elections), the military, education and forced migration. Frazier has a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from California State University, Northridge.

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