Morale is defined as the confidence, enthusiasm and discipline at a particular moment in time. In a military application, it is the ability to get behind a collective goal or mission during trying or difficult times. The creation of morale patches in the military was to create a bond between those who served on a particular mission or within a specialized group. In order to stand out or draw attention to a particular unit, patches were issued to create pride amongst the group. What originally started as way to honor particular divisions within the military eventually came to signify specific events or battles a particular unit was a part of. Unsanctioned patches began to pop up but were not authorized by the military. With the advent of hook-and-loop it became easier for personnel to remove and add patches. Born from combat, morale patches now have made their way into law enforcement and the civilian ranks.
5.11 Morale Patches
At 5.11, our roots stem from our involvement with law enforcement and first responders. Our gear also made its way to those serving in the military and military contractors around the world. We first started making patches just for people we worked closely with or who helped us with products and provided real world feedback to improve a particular product or feature. Now we design patches based on individual experiences or a fun and common interest we all stand behind.
Current 5.11 Patch Collection
Our patches range from functional — like Blood type ID patches and the Light-Writing patch that holds a small flashlight and pen anywhere you can put a patch — to those inspired by the people who use our products like the Breacher patch. We also have you covered if you just can’t get enough of 5.11, like our trademark scopes and the Ace in Hand patch. Inspiration for patches has also come from people we work with and meet here in the 5.11 HQ. The Swallow Bomber patch was inspired by a U.S. Navy sailor visiting with our design team. The topic of conversation fell on tattoos — specifically the swallow that represents the number of nautical miles a sailor has traveled.
Patch of The Month (POTM)
When we were thinking of ideas for gifts-with-purchase on the 5.11 Tactical website, we came up with a series of limited-run morale patches. The patches were given to customers who purchased products with us and the themes varied from celebrating particular branches of the military to more whimsical and fun. These patches aren’t sold and when they are gone…they are gone. Some of them have popped up on auction sites selling for quite a bit of money and are traded amongst avid collectors and enthusiasts. Checkout the past and present morale patches we made for POTM.
The EMEA Master Patch Collector Promotion
Back for 2016 is the 5.11 Master Patch Collector Contest in our Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) region. Each quarter a unique, limited-edition patch is given as a gift-with-purchase at participating dealers throughout the region. Each of the four patches is an exclusive design and available for just one month. After collecting and registering all four patches, the collector receives a 5.11 Patch Collector Cap and the chance to solve a riddle to enter the Grand Prize competition. Last years winner scored a ton of 5.11 gear and an adrenaline-fueled day out!
Let’s See Those Patches
We all have a few favorite or significant patches we cherish. Share with us your favorite patches on your 5.11 gear via Instagram or Twitter by tagging us or using #511tactical. We really enjoy the stories and seeing the patches you collect. And stay in touch with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter so you’ll know when new patches become available.