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Home > Curator's Corner > June 2011 > Personalized Patches
Personalized Patches
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Posted: 6/23/2011 11:35:10 AM

Our collections hold a wealth of mementos from former Intrepid crew members.  Holiday menus, certificates, and cruise books commemorated significant events, and our collections include examples of these items that span the ship’s entire Navy career from 1943 through 1974

Other souvenirs were specific to particular moments in Intrepid’s history.  Certain mementos were popular for a period of years, but then seem to fall out of favor.  My favorite example of this is our collection of embroidered division patches.  Featuring comical cartoon images, these colorful keepsakes celebrate individual divisions and highlight their contribution to the ship’s operation.  All of the examples in our collection date from about 1958 to 1962, and they offer a lighthearted take on life and work aboard Intrepid.  

Let’s take a quick peek at a few of the patches in our collection that are not currently on display:

OI Division Patch
The men of the OI Division worked in the Combat Information Center (CIC), Intrepid’s information hub.  Radarmen gathered, analyzed and disseminated data about friendly and enemy ships and aircraft near Intrepid.  This OI Division patch (left) is a humorous riff on the ship’s seal (right).  Replacing the star at the center of Intrepid’s seal is a sailor with a puppet in each hand – one is an airplane and the other is Intrepid.  Confronted with a constant stream of information, Intrepid’s radarmen often felt as if they had their hands full!  The background suggests a radar scope, an essential piece of equipment.

CIC patch is a gift of Joseph Burke, OI Div. 1954–56

V-1 “Roof Rats” Patch

The V-1 Division was responsible for the overall operation of the flight deck, and “roof rats” was a nickname for the men who worked there.  This detailed scene features a few of the characters who worked on Intrepid’s island and flight deck.  The ship’s Air Boss hovers menacingly from Primary Flight Control (PriFly), while a yellow-shirted plane director chases two blue-shirted plane handlers.

Gift of Virgil Bowers

MarDet Patch

Sailors weren’t the only ones with an affinity for customized patches.  Intrepid’s Marine Detachment (MarDet) guarded the ship’s special (nuclear) weapons, provided shipboard security, and served as anti-aircraft gunners, among other roles.  The Marine Detachment Afloat insignia is the anchor and seahorse, commemorated here in the center of this patch.

Gift of John Lang III on behalf of John Lang II

Want to see more?  Visit the Intrepid Museum to see a number of other division patches on display.

Jessica Williams
Curator of History