NEWS | Sept. 30, 2021

Ceremony introduces new Virginia National Guard HQs shoulder patch

By Cotton Puryear | Virginia National Guard Public Affairs Office

The Virginia National Guard introduced a new shoulder patch for the Joint Force Headquarters during a ceremony Sept. 30, 2021, at Sergeant Bob Slaughter Headquarters at Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia. The new insignia was authorized Sept. 21 by the Department of the Army Institute of Heraldry and has been revised to remove colors and design elements referring to the Confederacy.

“This new insignia is a better representation of Virginia National Guard history with colors linked to the Continental Army and our nation’s fight for independence during the Revolutionary War,” explained Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia. “The Virginia state crest dating back to 1776 is a key element of the design, and the crest has been featured on Virginia National Guard regimental unit colors since World War I.”

Williams and Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald Smith, the Virginia Army National Guard command sergeant major, presented the patch to approximately 50 Soldiers during the ceremony. Additional patches will be ordered and distributed to unit supply rooms in the coming months, and it should be available in the supply system in about a year. The old shoulder patch is authorized for wear until the new patch is issued.

Williams said the VNG will leverage the work of the Joint Diversity Council to continually look for ways to improve our organization that includes "... symbolism in our patches and unit insignia to call signs to the process we use to select leaders for positions of responsibility, and we will follow a deliberate process that takes into account our organizational history, incorporates a modern context and the voices from across our formations.”

According to the Institute of Heraldry,  the shoulder sleeve insignia was originally approved 23 Nov. 23, 1956, for the Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, Virginia National Guard, then redesignated Dec. 30, 1983, with description amended for the Headquarters, State Area Command, Virginia National Guard. It was again redesignated Oct. 1, 2003, with description amended for the Virginia Army National Guard Element, Joint Forces Headquarters.

The Institute of Heraldry official description indicates the new insignia is “on a blue five-sided polygon tapered and pointed at top, within a 1/8 inch khaki border, a narrow border garnished on the upper and two lower points by a dogwood blossom all in white, overall and upon a wreath of twists alternating white and red, ‘Virtus the genius of the Commonwealth dressed as an Amazon, resting on a spear with one hand and holding a sword in the other; and treading on Tyranny, represented by a man prostrate, a crown falling from his head, a broken chain in his left hand and a scourge in his right’ in khaki, 3 5/16 inches in height and 2 5/8 in width overall.”

On the full color insignia, the colors khaki and blue are from the uniform of Gen. George Washington, one of our nation’s founding fathers and life-long Virginian. The flowering dogwood is both the official Virginia state flower and tree. The crest is from the state seal adopted on July 5, 1776. The red and white twists on a blue background make up our national colors.

According to the Secretary of the Commonwealth web site, “Virginia’s great seal was adopted by the Virginia Convention July 5, 1776, and its design was the work of a committee chaired by George Mason, who was the principal author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights and the first Virginia Constitution. George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, and Robert Carter Nicholas also served as members of the committee. Taking its theme from ancient Roman mythology, the seal emphasizes the importance of civic virtue.”

View the Virginia State Crest on the Institute of Heraldry web site: https://go.usa.gov/xMEGY

Read more about the Great Seal of Commonwealth of Virginia: https://go.usa.gov/xMEdD