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Can Civilians Wear Morale Patches

Wearing morale patches can be a nice way to embellish your outfit. After all, they send a meaningful message and are hard to miss. Traditionally, they are usually adorned by veterans or personnel active in the military and are usually associated to specific military units, squads and events. Moreover, military morale patches have a history, they are used to foster ‘esprit de corps’ – a shared sense of pride and loyalty among a military squad or brigade. 

Since you’re here, you’re probably wondering whether you qualify to wear one as a civilian. The answer to that is not in black and white.

Well, logically speaking, military morale patches aren’t meant for people who have never served. While they are definitely in circulation and many civilians actively enjoy trading them, it is mostly meant for personal collection. On the other hand, veteran families have these patches passed down generations as memorabilia.

When it comes to civilians with no affiliation to the military, adorning your outfit with a military unit patch can land you in hot waters but at the same time if you wear a military morale patch, people, even veterans and military servicemen may admire you for it. That said, this doesn’t mean you can go around sporting a military unit patch on a service uniform. That’s extremely offensive, and you might even get charged for stolen valor and fraud!

What is stolen valor, and why should you know about it?

There’s a fine line between showing admiration and breaking the law. When it comes to impersonating military personnel for some form of gain, individuals found guilty of the practice can be placed behind bars. This law was originally ordained in 2005 by President George W Bush, after which quite some people were arrested trying to piggyback off their fake veteran status.

Such criminals are arrested because they convince others to buy in to their scams. One way people fall into their trap is when they spot a unit or rank specific patch on their outfits. So every eager civilian should read up on how to wear military morale patches the right way and what you should not wear. 

So as long as you are not wearing a unit, military or rank patch you are fine. As morale patches are not official and they are made traditionally but unofficially by military personnel, law enforcement officers and firemen wearing morale patches is absolutely fine.

Morale Patch Etiquettes

So, you are a fan of the United States Armed Forces, well, I am as well. Their service helps us sleep sound at night, and we are grateful for that; thus, you want to show your appreciation and gratitude in whatever way you can. That’s quite patriotic, but it doesn’t mean that it’s okay for you to wear an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Specialist patch out in public.

Instead, it would be best if you went for something less associative like the USA flag patch or a morale patch that was passed on to you, exchanged, bought, or you got it custom made for yourself. As long as your patch doesn’t depict your association with a particular military squad or unit and depicts that you served in the military, you are all good.

In retrospect, a major chunk of the etiquette has to do with intention and how the onlooker perceives the morale patch. Many veterans have shared their opinion on the matter, and most of them claim they have no problem with a civilian wearing a morale patch. In fact, some of them even suggest that it fills them with pride, knowing that the general public admires their efforts!