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Unit Shoulder Patches

For those of you who are curious about Barracks Shoulder Patches (or Unit Shoulder Patches as they have now been retitled) the following army draft chapter from Army Standing orders for Dress may help answer your questions:



Unit shoulder patches

  1. Unit Shoulder Patch (USP) may be approved to be worn by units whilst in barracks. The USP is to be unique to each unit, and is to be worn collectively by the unit (no individual company/platoon/section/trade patches). Only one USP is to be worn on the right sleeve.

  2. The record of the USP is ‘The Army Unit Shoulder Patch Register’ (AUSPR). The Register contains design copies of all authorised USP for barracks wear and all authorised USP for operational wear.


  1. USP are approved to be worn only on General Duty DPCU, in a barracks environment. USP are not to be worn in non-operational field environments. USP are to be affixed to the velcro patch on the right sleeve. The USP is to be rectangular, 7.5 cm in length and 5.5cm high.

  2. Special Forces. DPCU backed USP have been specifically designed for SOCOMD units to be worn in a barracks environment. Only SOCOMD units and members posted to SOCOMD units are authorised to wear the DPCU backed USP.


  1. All USP are to be approved before the patches are procured by units. The design/colour of the USP should be in line with the history of the unit and its heritage. New USP can only be approved by Army Headquarters (AHQ), Director General Personnel – Army (DGPERS–A).

Principles of the Unit Shoulder Patch

  1. Unit identity. Each shoulder patch is to be unique to a unit, ‘unit’ being defined as a headquarters, unit and independent sub unit commanded by a field-grade officer.

  2. Identification of units. The priority in approving a USP for a Headquarters or unit is subject to the relevance of design, before allocation of a patch. In seeking a USP for a Headquarters or unit it is advised to consult the AUSPR in order to identify designs of like units. In this way the unit’s sense of heritage will be developed, and avoid later application to change a patch.

  3. Linking and unlinking of units. Linked units are to wear the USP of the unit first named in the unit title. The USP of the second-named unit is to be reserved for re-authorisation on delinking of those units.

  4. Amalgamation. Where a new unit is raised from the amalgamation of two or more units, the new unit may apply for USP approval. Members from the amalgamated units are not to wear the USP of their previous unit.

  5. Disbanding. The USP of disbanded units will normally be reserved in case the unit is re-raised. This procedure will retain the lineage and enhance the heritage value.

Unit Shoulder Patch Application

  1. USP applications are to be forwarded to AHQ, DGPERS–A, Ceremonial cell. USP approval/allocation is taken in response to the receipt of a unit application.


  1. All personnel, other than recruits, initial employment trainees (IET) and officer cadets (with the exception of Corps of Staff Cadets which is authorised its own corps patch), may wear a USP. The specific applications for wearing are as follows:

    1. All personnel on the posted strength of a unit are to wear that unit’s USP while so posted. That USP is to be removed when reposted from that unit. The exceptions to this order are personnel posted to Long-term Student, MNRE and PSD (Army) for which there are no USP; these personnel are to continue to wear their previous unit’s USP.

    2. The unit USP is to retained throughout all periods of detachment (except as provided for in sub paragraph c.), eg courses, hospitalisation, temporary detachment for duty, overseas exchange exercises, overseas visits.

    3. Personnel posted against one unit’s Single Entitlement Document (SED) but permanently detached for duty to another unit, eg Australian Army Legal Corps officers on Director of Army Legal Services’ SED but permanently out posted to one or other Defence Centres (Army Component), are to wear the USP of the unit to which so detached.

    4. As indicated initially in this paragraph, recruits, IET and officer cadets (other than Corps of Staff Cadets) will not wear a USP; their first USP will be awarded on posting to a unit.

    5. Further to part 1, chapter 2, paragraph 2.6, an honorary colonel, colonel commandant or regimental colonel of a corps or regiment, when wearing the uniform of their honorary appointment, may wear the USP of the regiment/Corps embroidered with the appointment title, HOC, HON COL, COMDT, REGT COL or RSM when fulfilling the appointment of Corps or Regimental RSM, as appropriate.

Provision of Unit Shoulder Patch

4.12 When a unit has been authorised to wear a USP, funding will be from the unit’s allocation for Direct Unit Funding (DUF). Units are required to procure the USP using ACMS, IAW Army Unit Material Management procedures.

4.14 Maintenance of the USP once approved is a unit responsibility. The manufacturers will need to be provided with the design specification by the Unit. Units are to provide two USP with coloured design and authorised colour codes to RSM Ceremonial—Army for quality control and a central historical collection.

Operational Shoulder Patches (OSP)

4.15 Shoulder Patches for Force Elements (FE) deploying are requested through Mounting Bde HQ and approved by JOC in the same manner as a USP. OSP for FE deploying on operations are funded from operational sustainment funding and procured for either an FE (eg. MRTF, SECDET, CRC) or for an entire operation (OP ANODE, OP ASTUTE). OSP that contain the following will not be approved:

a.rotation numbers; and

b.unit specific references (mascots, etc).

4.16 Approved OSP are to be procured, catalogued, and added to Blockscale 3004-08. This will ensure that the patch is procured in sufficient quantity to kit multiple rotations with additional held for sustainment stock.