On November 3, I presented an historical stumper that showed a military insignia patch on display in our current exhibit and challenged the reader to identify it. I promised to reveal the answer a week later!
The answer is the 81st "Wildcat" Infantry Division and is generally credited with having the first shoulder patch as we know it today. The unit trained in Camp (now Fort) Jackson, South Carolina along the banks of the Wildcat Creek. When the division disembarked in France in 1918, they were wearing a shoulder patch that depicted a black wildcat on OD background. This caused a stir among the Staff types in France and the troops were first ordered to remove the patch. But with the insight of forward looking staff officers, General Pershing decided that this concept could have great positive morale aspect among the troops. He then ordered all units to come up with a design that could be made into a patch for their respective organization. This opened the floor-gates for every outfit and today we have this concept throughout the military establishments of the world.