Preserving the history, heritage, and legacy of the Philippine Scouts for present and future generations

PS Shoulder Patches

explained by Bob Capistrano

Sea Lion

The Philippine Department patch was adopted on July 8, 1922 and features a white sea-lion brandishing a sword, on a blue field. The sea lion was taken from the arms of Aragon, Spain and suggests the 300 years of Spanish rule, the military function of the unit, and the maritime location of the Philippine Islands. The department itself was established in 1913 as the headquarters for all US Army forces in the Philippines and China (the 15th Infantry was based at Tientsin from 1913 to 1938), and the patch was worn by all army units not assigned to the Philippine Division, such as the coast artillery and the 26th Cavalry (PS), or the air corps.


The Philippine Division was created in 1922 based on two US infantry regiments (15th and 31st) and two Philippine Scout regiments (45th and 57th) patch was also adopted on July 8, 1922 and features a gold carabao (symbolizing the Philippines) on a red shield. Gold and red were the Spanish colors.

Shoulder patches as such were first adopted in 1918 by the troops assigned to the divisions of the American Expeditionary Force in France, and after WWI, were adopted for wear by troops assigned to army HQs (1st - 4th), department (Philippine, Panama Canal, Hawaiian), and divisions (1-9, 1 Cav, Philippine, Panama Canal and Hawaiian). In the 1930s a few other RA units also received patches, including the GHQ Air Force, 7th Cavalry Brigade (Mech), and Hawaiian Separate Coast Artillery Brigade. The patch flood gates opened wide during WW2 with 8 million men and women in army uniforms, in contrast to the prewar army which fluctuated around 160,000, only a third of which wore patches. This is why the pre-WW2 patches are relatively scarce, if not downright rare.


Last modified: 16-Mar-2013