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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Insignia of the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and subordinate Special Operations Commands (SOCs)


[Edited on Aug. 15, 2011] Just as I planned, I have managed to end this year with a creative bang. This time it was about tackling a substantial chunk of my “Military Insignia” project – US Special Operations. This involved recreating insignias of the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and all its major subordinate Special Operations Commands (SOCs). USSOCOM is the Unified Combatant Command charged with overseeing the various Special Operations Commands (SOC or SOCOM) of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps of the United States armed forces. The command is part of the Department of Defense. USSOCOM is headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida.
USSOCOM conducts several covert and clandestine missions, such as unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, special reconnaissance, psychological operations, Civil Affairs, direct action, counter-terrorism and War on Drugs operations. Each branch has a Special Operations Command that is unique and capable of running its own operations, but when the different Special Operations Forces need to work together for an operation, USSOCOM becomes the joint component command of the operation, instead of a SOC of a specific branch.
This particular stage of the project was quite time-consuming, considering the expansive structure of the USSOCOM. 

To accomplish all of the above, I have set aside roughly a month-worth of time, planning to wrap it up by the year-end. The challenge was on, and I was up to it. As with all of my previous projects, I was using my own 
Multi-Layer Enhancement & Texturing Technique (or M-LETT 3D; I discuss it in detail in this post) method  to produce quality hi-resolution insignias. Occasionally, not very often, I couldn’t help but let out the artist within, yet I would manage to stay true to the official insignia specifications and color palettes.
Well, today is the 30th of December, and I have managed to complete the last one on the list… Oh, that sweet feeling of accomplishment… They all turned out looking pretty cool (I know, what a modest thing to say, but hey - it’s true…). As usually, all the insignias will be available commercially on a limited number of selected products in my Military Insignia galleries on Zazzle here.




The United States Army Special Operations Command (Airborne) (USASOC or ARSOC) is a command charged with overseeing the various Special Operations Forces (SOF) of the United States Army. The command is part of the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM); a larger command overseeing all the different SOF Commands of each branch of the U.S. military.



[Edited on Aug. 15, 2011]  Special Operations Command – Joint Capabilities (SOC-JC) was transferred to USSOCOM from the soon to be disestablished United States Joint Forces Command. It was formerly known as United States Special Operations Command Joint Forces Command (SOCJFCOM).

Primary Mission: SOC-JC trains conventional and SOF commanders and their staffs, supports USSOCOM international engagement training requirements, and supports implementation of capability solutions in order to improve strategic and operational warfighting readiness and joint interoperability. 




SOC-JC must also be prepared to support deployed Special Operations Joint Task Force (SOJTF) Headquarters (HQ).
As a joint sub-unified command under USSOCOM, SOC-JC’s core function is to enhance the interoperability of conventional and Special Operations Forces (SOF) commanders and staffs through robust strategic and operational level joint training. In coordination with the USSOCOM J3, J7/9 and Joint Special Operations University (JSOU), SOC-JC provides excellent training and support to the education for SOF and Conventional Forces (CF) worldwide. Additionally, SOC-JC supports the joint SOF capabilities development process while maintaining the flexibility to support emerging initiatives.








The Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) is a component command of the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and is charged to study special operations requirements and techniques to ensure interoperability and equipment standardization, plan and conduct special operations exercises and training, and develop Joint Special Operations Tactics. It was established in 1980 on recommendation of Col. Charlie Beckwith, in the aftermath of the failure of Operation Eagle Claw. It is located at Pope Army Air Field and Fort Bragg in North Carolina, USA. The Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) also commands and controls the Special Mission Units (SMU) of United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). These units perform highly classified activities. So far, only three SMUs have been publicly disclosed: The Army's 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment - Delta, the Navy's Naval Special Warfare Development Group, and the Air Force's 24th Special Tactics Squadron. The Intelligence Support Activity is also under JSOC.




The Army 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1st SFOD-D) is one of the United States' secretive Tier One counter-terrorism and Special Mission Units. Commonly known as Delta, or Delta Force, it was formed under the designation 1st SFOD-D, and is officially referred to by the Department of Defense as Combat Applications Group (CAG). This unit is an elite Special Operations Force, and an Army Compartmented Element of the Joint Special Operations Command. Delta Force, along with its Navy counterpart DEVGRU, are the United States' primary counter-terrorism units.
The Army 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (Combat Applications Group (CAG), Delta Force) is the first of the two primary counter-terrorist units of JSOC and SOCOM. Modeled after the British Special Operations force Special Air Service, Delta is arguably one of the best SOF in the world. This is because of Delta's stringent training and selection process. Delta recruits primarily from the most talented and highly skilled operators in the Army Special Forces and the 75th Ranger Regiment although CAG will take anyone and everyone that can pass their screening. Recruits must pass a rigid selection course before beginning training. Delta has received training from numerous U.S. government agencies and other tier one SOF and has created a curriculum based on this training and techniques that it has developed. Delta conducts clandestine and covert special operations all over the world. It specializes in counter-terrorism and hostage rescue operations. Delta Force's primary tasks are counter-terrorism, direct action, and national intervention operations, although it is an extremely versatile group capable of assuming many covert missions, including, but not limited to, rescuing hostages and raids.
Delta Force's structure is similar to the British 22 Special Air Service Regiment. There are three main operational squadrons:

A Squadron
B Squadron
C Squadron

These squadrons are based on the organization of the SAS "Sabre Squadron" and each contains 75 to 85 operators. Each sabre squadron is broken down into three troops, one Recce/Sniper troop, and two Direct Action/Assault troops, that can either operate in teams or in groups as small as four to six men.




Special Operations Command Central (SOCCENT) is a subordinate unified command of joint forces for the U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM). It is responsible for planning special operations throughout the USCENTCOM area of responsibility (AOR), planning and conducting peacetime joint/combined special operations training exercises, and orchestrating command and control of peacetime and wartime special operations as directed.
The command is headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida. SOCCENT FWD, Combined Forces Special Operations Component Command (CFSOCC), is located at Al Udeid in Qatar. The Command's motto is Molon labe (Greek for "Come and take them").
SOCCENT, operating with coalition partners as the CFSOCC, consists of two combined joint special operations task forces [CJSOTFs], one Combined Joint Special Operations Aviation Command, one joint psychological operations task force, one Naval Special Warfare Unit and three Special Operations command and control elements [SOCCEs]. The two CJSOTFs are CJSOTF-Arabian Peninsula, whose headquarters directs United States Army Special Forces, and CJSOTF Afghanistan. CJSOTF Afghanistan includes elements of the 7th Special Forces Group operating in southern provinces, including Kandahar, as Task Force 71.




Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR) is a subordinate unified command of US European Command exercising operational control of theater Army, Navy, and Air Force Special Operation Forces (SOF).
SOCEUR is responsible to CDRUSEUCOM/SACEUR for SOF readiness, targeting, exercises, plans, joint and combined training, NATO/partnership activities, and execution of counterterrorism, peacetime and contingency operations.



Special Operations Command, Pacific (SOCPAC) is a is a sub-unified command of U.S. Southern Command and serves as the functional component for all special operation missions deployed throughout the Caribbean, Central and South America regions. SOCSOUTH is responsible for the planning and execution of all Special Operations Forces (SOF) within U.S. Southern Command's AOR to include: U.S. Army Special Forces (Green Berets), U.S. Naval Special Warfare Units (SEALs), U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force Special Operations Aviation, Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations forces. SOCSOUTH is a joint headquarters that commands, controls, and executes over 75 deployments per year with an average of 20 missions in 12 countries at any time. The command is composed of three permanently assigned operational units based in several locations within the southeastern United States. Typical SOCSOUTH Headquarters deployments include a rapid response for contingencies, exercises, and other missions, as directed by Commander, U.S. Southern Command.



Special Operations Command South (SOCSOUTH) is a is a sub-unified command of U.S. Southern Command and serves as the functional component for all special operation missions deployed throughout the Caribbean, Central and South America regions. SOCSOUTH is responsible for the planning and execution of all Special Operations Forces (SOF) within U.S. Southern Command's AOR to include: U.S. Army Special Forces (Green Berets), U.S. Naval Special Warfare Units (SEALs), U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force Special Operations Aviation, Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations forces. SOCSOUTH is a joint headquarters that commands, controls, and executes over 75 deployments per year with an average of 20 missions in 12 countries at any time. The command is composed of three permanently assigned operational units based in several locations within the southeastern United States. Typical SOCSOUTH Headquarters deployments include a rapid response for contingencies, exercises, and other missions, as directed by Commander, U.S. Southern Command.




Special Operations Command, Korea (SOCKOR) is a United States military organization in South Korea that provides special forces to United States Forces Korea/United Nations Command/Combined Forces Command. During wartime, SOCKOR combines with the Korean Special Warfare Command to form the Combined Unconventional Warfare Task Force (CUWTF).
Special Operations Command Korea (SOCKOR), located at Camp Kim in Yongsan, Korea, is the theater Special Operations Command (SOC) responsible for special operations on the Korean peninsula and, when established, the Korean Theater of Operations (KTO).
Because of the unique command relationships in Korea, SOCKOR is the only theater SOC that is not a subordinate unified command. Established in 1988 as a functional component command of U.S. Forces, Korea (USFK), SOCKOR is the principal organization responsible for the integration of U.S. SOF in Korea. Its primary mission focus is simple: be ready to employ U.S. SOF and win, should war resume in Korea.





Special Operations Command, Africa (SOCAFRICA) is an airborne sub-unified command within the Special Operations Forces of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). SOCAFRICA HQ is located at Kelley Barracks outside of Stuttgart, Germany.





United States Army Special Forces, also known as Green Berets, are a special operations force of the United States Army tasked with six primary missions: unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, special reconnaissance, direct action, hostage rescue, and counter-terrorism. The first two emphasize language, cultural, and training skills in working with foreign troops. Other duties include combat search and rescue (CSAR), security assistance, peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance, humanitarian demining, counter-proliferation, psychological operations, manhunts, and counter-drug operations; other components of the United States Special Operations Command or other U.S. government activities may also specialize in these secondary areas.
Their official motto is De oppresso liber (Latin: To Liberate the Oppressed), a reference to one of their primary missions, training and advising foreign indigenous forces.




The 75th Ranger Regiment (Airborne), also known as Rangers, is a Special Operations light infantry unit of the United States Army. The Regiment is headquartered in Fort Benning, Georgia with battalions in Fort Benning, Hunter Army Airfield and Joint Base Lewis-McChord. It operates as a special operations force of the United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC).
The Regiment is composed of one Special Troops Battalion and three, organizationally identical, rapidly-deployable light infantry special operations battalions with specialized skills that enable them to perform a variety of special operations missions. These missions include but are not limited to airborne, air assault, and direct action operations, raids, infiltration and exfiltration by air, land or sea in addition to airfield seizure, recovery of personnel and special equipment, and support of general purpose forces (GPF). Each of the Regiment's three line battalions rotates as the "Ranger Ready Force". This battalion is at a constant readiness to deploy and is expected to be able to respond anywhere in the world within 18 hours.



The United States Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne), or USACAPOC(A), was founded in 1985. USACAPOC(A) is composed mostly of U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers in units throughout the United States. Its total size is approximately 10,000 Soldiers, making up about 94 percent of the DoD's Civil Affairs forces and 71 percent of the DoD's Psychological Operations forces. It is headquartered at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The current commander (2010) is Major General David N. Blackledge, who assumed command in September 2009, succeeding Major General David A. Morris who commanded the unit from 2007 to 2009.
Historically, USACAPOC(A) was one of four major subordinate commands comprising the U.S. Army Special Operations Command. In May 2006, the reserve component of USACAPOC(A) was transferred to the U.S. Army Reserve Command. The Army's active duty civil affairs and psychological operations units, along with the branches' training and doctrine, continues to fall under the U.S. Army Special Operations Command.
Army Reserve Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations make up 5 percent of the U.S. Army Reserve force, but account for about 20 percent of Army Reserve deployments.
Some proponents of USACAPOC(A) point to its units' success in humanitarian aid operations, and also in their ability to spread information to civilians. The command's special operators are some of the most highly trained soldiers in the U.S. Army, and bring civilian expertise not found among regular active duty Soldiers to the table. The projects they complete comprise many of the 'Good News' stories run in the American media each day about Iraq, Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa.




The next stages of this project will be focusing on Special Operations insignia of the US Navy, US Air Force and USMC. So far, there is no ETA on any of those. Stay Tuned.

As always, the above insignia are available on a limited number of selected quality products via my “Military Insignia” galleries at Zazzle. To get to the corresponding galleries, you can just follow the direct links in the article.

As one of the rules I have established in the past, I will make my insignia designs available free of charge to any military units and personnel, to be used for the purpose of any non-profit/non-commercial and charitable causes, benefiting troops and their families. I will also make my designs available free of charge to any military branches, formations and units for any non-commercial internal duty-specific purposes, such as unit-related web design, training materials or presentations, as I have done on numerous occasions.


The above information provided in part by The Institute of Heraldry, Global Security, Wikipedia and websites of certain Unified Combatant Commands


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

USMC Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) emblem


I have decided to continue my USMC Insignia series under the CafePress USMC Fan Portal program. After all, this is the only POD holding a valid USMC license, allowing their contributing artists to offer USMC designs commercially. So, my immediate plan is to recreate emblems of the major USMC commands. After those are complete, I plan to continue with USMC units, starting with divisions, and then moving to regiments and battalions. The next step would be USMC Aviation, and support units.
The first in the series was the emblem of United States Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC). It is a component command of the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) that comprises the Marine Corps' contribution to SOCOM. Its core capabilities are direct action, special reconnaissance and foreign internal defense. MARSOC has also been directed to conduct counter-terrorism, information operations, and unconventional warfare. MARSOC was officially activated on February 24, 2006 with ceremonies at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
Here you can preview a smaller version of the design. As with all the other designs of my “USMC Insignia” series, this design will be available on a limited selection of products in my USMC Insignia 3D and Military Insignia 3D stores on CafePress

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

USMC Emblem – Part 3




The story of my “Military Insignia” USMC emblem was not quite over (see my previous posts). CafePress have decided that the emblem did not meet USMC guidelines for commercial use, and suspended my design from the marketplace. Of course, I was not convinced by explanations they gave me. I strongly suspected that there was certain misinterpretation of the USMC guidelines. After I have checked the CafePress marketplace, my suspicions grew stronger. The problem was that there were no USMC emblems available on the whole marketplace, none whatsoever. How could this be, that the most popular USMC design was not present on the USMC Fan Portal? The only reasonable explanation would be that guys at CafePress were mixing up the USMC Emblem with the USMC Seal, and as a result, were overly cautious by not allowing any of the circular USMC designs. (For the differences between the USMC Emblem and the USMC Seal see my previous articles on the topic).


Well, I wasn’t ready to give up at that point. I have decided to bring this up directly with USMC Trademark & Licensing Office. Long story short – my suspicions were confirmed at the highest level. I have received confirmation and approval for my design directly from USMC Trademark & Licensing. Furthermore, they volunteered to rectify the issue with CafePress. The very next day my design was re-instated on the CafePress marketplace. The CafePress team was also quite happy with the outcome. And why not? Finally, CafePress was able to offer the most popular USMC design.


To celebrate this final and exciting chapter of my USMC Emblem saga, I have come up with a couple of special edition designs, incorporating my authorized USMC Emblem design, smaller versions of which you can find on this page. It will be available on a limited selection of products on CafePress in my USMC Insignia 3D  and Military Insignia 3D stores.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

DUIs and SSIs - active US Army Infantry Divisions



One more chapter of my “Military Insignia” project has been completed. This time around, I have taken on shoulder-sleeve insignias and distinctive unit insignias of all the active infantry divisions of the United States Army. I had to cover 18 active divisions in total, which resulted in 18 SSIs and 18 DUIs – 36 designs in total to work on. Those included two airborne divisions – 82nd Airborne and 101st Airborne, one mountain division – 10th Mountain light infantry division, two reserve training divisions – 95th and 100th, and 13 active infantry divisions, both of regular service as well as Army National Guard – 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 25th, 28th, 29th, 34th, 35th, 36th, 38th, 40th and 42nd infantry divisions.
Working on this particular stage of the project, I noticed that when divisional shoulder-sleeve insignia was fairly well covered and represented in various paper and electronic publications, it was not quite the same story with distinctive unit insignias. Good descriptions, historical references and quality images of divisional DUIs were fairly scarce, and hard to find. Also, DUIs themselves turned out to be more complex and technically challenging from the designing prospective. The main challenge was to preserve DUI’s metal “badge” look and feel, at the same time highlighting modest and understated beauty of each piece. Another interesting observation was that divisions were mostly associated with and recognized by their shoulder-sleeve patches, when DUIs were far less recognizable or even known by anyone, other than those who actually had a chance to wear them. This is why an idea of showing DUIs and SSIs of each division side by side was so appealing to me.
As with all previous designs included in my “Military Insignia” project, I had to balance between my artistic inclinations and the need to maintain color schemes, precision and accuracy of each insignia. Working with heraldry, one cannot get too carried away, and there is no room for errors. The only areas where I am able to get creative working on my military insignias, are textures and multiple layers with layer effects.
As all the other “Military Insignia” designs, all the US Army Infantry divisions’ insignias are available exclusively in my Zazzle “Military Insignia” gallery on a number of selected products and gifts, which could be found here.
Since this is a work in progress, at some point I am planning to expand my “Infantry Divisions” collection, and include a number of insignias of certain historical deactivated infantry divisions, eventually covering all divisions that ever existed. However, this won’t not be my next project. The next step would be covering insignias of all the active US Army Infantry Brigades and Brigade Combat Teams (IBCT), which will eventually be displayed in this gallery. Stay tuned and visit often to catch all the new arrivals.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

USMC Emblem part 2 – saga continues…




Who would have thought that my USMC emblem story (see my Sept. 30 USMC Seal article) would have a sequel, or even a happy ending, if you wish… Yes, I have finally found a solution enabling me to offer my USMC emblem design commercially, on a wide variety of apparel, accessories, stationary and gifts. It turned out that CafePress, (a print-on-demand internet retailer, with which I had a few galleries since early 2009 but entirely neglected, being too busy with my “Military Insignia” project on Zazzle) – have a license with US Marine Corps. This gives their contributing artists an opportunity to design official USMC merchandise and offer it commercially via its USMC Fan Portal. As expected, designers are supposed to follow very strict guidelines as too what and how to design, and on what kind of USMC-approved products such designs would be available. Also, I was able to open a gallery with USMC-related designs with another POD retailer SpreadShirt.

Knowing that the USMC Seal, the design which I recreated initially, was off-limits because that particular insignia has been reserved exclusively for the US Marine Corps internal use, I had to create an alternative design of the emblem, allowed by USMC for commercial use. The major difference between the two would be the inscriptions. The official seal would have “Department of the Navy. United States Marine Corps” inscribed on a dark-blue collar. The USMC-approved emblem design would have “United States Marine Corps” inscribed on a black collar. Modifying inscriptions and collar was not such a big deal, and less than an hour later, my version of USMC-approved US Marine Corps Emblem was ready. The smaller version of the result of this epic saga can be seen here. It is commercially available on variety of high quality USMC-approved merchandise at the CafePress’ USMC Fan Portal in my C.7 Design Studio gallery here as well as in my CafePress USMC Insignia 3D storeCafePress Military Insignia 3D store, and   SpreadShirt "Military Insignia 3D" gallery here.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Emblem of the United States Forces – Iraq (USF–I)




As US military was ceasing all combat operations in Iraq by September 1, 2010, and was preparing to move out of the country by December 31, 2011, it was logical at this point in my “Military Insignia” project to turn my undivided attention to Iraq-specific insignias. The first one on my list was the emblem of the newly-established command called United States Forces – Iraq (USF–I). Since my U.S. Central Command emblem was already completed and had its own gallery, I was able to proceed with its sub galleries, one of which would be a gallery of the USF–I. The timing was perfect.


Background: United States Forces – Iraq (USF–I) is a U.S. military sub-unified command, part of U.S. Central Command. It is stationed in Iraq as agreed with the Government of Iraq under the U.S.–Iraq Status of Forces Agreement. United States Forces – Iraq replaced the previous commands, Multi-National Force – Iraq, Multi-National Corps – Iraq and Multi-National Security Transition Command – Iraq from January 2010. During 2008 and 2009, all non-U.S. foreign forces withdrew from Iraq. Withdrawal of all non-US forces was complete by July 31, 2009. As of January 1, 2009, the Iraqi Government is fully responsible, through its security ministries, for maintaining and providing security and rule of law for its people. Furthermore, as of June 28, 2009, no foreign forces are stationed within any of Iraq's major cities. The United States decided after negotiations to cease combat operations, that is, patrolling, serving arrest warrants, route clearance, etc., within Iraq by September 1, 2010, and transition to a pure advise, train and assist role. The changing mission entails major troop reductions; from 115,000 on December 15, 2009, to 50,000 by September 1, 2010, and to zero by December 31, 2011.


The emblem: Technically speaking, the USF–I emblem was an almost identical version of the one of Multi-National Force – Iraq, with actual bi-lingual text being the only difference. But I have to tell you, this emblem was a serious piece of work cut out for me. See for yourself – here is the official description of the emblem:

On a black shield with a 1/8 inch (.32 cm) gold border 2 ½ inches (6.35 cm) in width and 3 inches (7.62 cm) in height overall two crossed silver scimitars points down with scarlet grips, superimposed in base by a wreath of palm in proper colors joined at the bottom with three loops of brown twine, overall a gold human-head winged bull of Mesopotamia, all below a gold seven pointed star… The star represents a vision of unity for the seven peoples of Iraq (Sunni, Shia, Kurd, Turkoman, Assyrian, Yazidi, Armenian) leading to a more secure, prosperous and free future for Iraqis. The crossed scimitars of the insignia recall the partnership between Multinational Forces and Iraqi Security Forces essential to bringing a democratic way of life to Iraq. The palm fronds symbolize peace and prosperity for a new nation. The colossal statue of the Mesopotamian human-headed winged bull recalls the rich heritage of Iraq and underscores strength and protection for the people of Iraq…



About the C.7 design: Just as I anticipated, the most challenging part of this project was recreating the Assyrian human-headed winged bull. Even though the original bulls were made of limestone, the one on the emblem, according to the official description, was supposed to be made of gold. I decided to give it an “old” gold texture and feel, which felt very appropriate for this ancient image. In addition, as usually, there were layers upon layers of details.
The sabers (or scimitars), were another interesting area to work with. Textures of the blades had to be a perfect weapons-grade steel to look believable. I couldn’t resist a temptation of adding a couple of mu own minor improvements, such as golden rim, and steel-looking lettering, but that’s just me. I manage to pull this one off almost every time, without disrupting accuracy and integrity of the original design. At least I hope that I do. Well, two days later it was over. Again, I was very pleased with the result. You can find both – the United States Forces – Iraq (USF–I) and Multi-National Force – Iraq emblems in my “Military Insignia” gallery under U.S. Central Command or here and here.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Seal of The United States Marine Corps (USMC)


“Military Insignia” collection would not be complete without Insignia of the United States Marine Corps (USMC). This was one of my favorite projects to work on. I have recreated the USMC emblem, using my unique multilayer method and style. I have to admit, the end result was stunning. The emblem has never looked better. However, there is a story behind this endevor. Moreover, there is a reason why this gorgeous USMC design will not be available in my “Military Insignia” gallery. Basically, this blog is the only place where the world can see the one and only smaller version of my design. So, keep on reading.


History: The history of the Marine Corps emblem is a story related to the history of the Corps itself. The emblem of today traces its roots to the designs and ornaments of early Continental Marines as well as British Royal Marines. The emblem took its present form in 1868. Before that time many devices, ornaments, and distinguishing marks followed one another as official marks of the Corps.
In 1776, the device consisted of a "foul anchor" of silver or pewter. The foul anchor still forms a part of the emblem today. (A foul anchor is an anchor which has one or more turns of the chain around it). Changes were made in 1798, 1821, and 1824. In 1834 it was prescribed that a brass eagle be worn on the hat, the eagle to measure 3 = inches from wingtip to wingtip.
During the early years numerous distinguishing marks were prescribed, including "black cockades", "scarlet plumes," and "yellow bands and tassels." In 1859 the origin of the present color scheme for the officer's dress uniform ornaments appeared on an elaborate device of solid white metal and yellow metal. The design included a United States shield, half wreath, a bugle, and the letter "M."
In 1868, Brigadier General Commandant Jacob Zeilin appointed a board "to decide and report upon the various devices of cap ornaments of the Marine Corps." On 13 November 1868, the board turned in its report. It was approved by the Commandant four days later, and on 19 November 1868 was signed by the Secretary of the Navy.
The emblem recommended by this board consists of a globe (showing the Western Hemisphere) intersected by a foul anchor, and surmounted by a spread eagle. On the emblem itself, the device is topped by a ribbon inscribed with the Latin motto "Semper Fidelis" (Always Faithful). The uniform ornaments omit the motto ribbon.
The general design of the emblem was probably derived from the British Royal Marines' "Globe and Laurel." The globe on the U.S. Marine emblem signifies service in any part of the world. The eagle also indirectly signifies service worldwide, although this may not have been the intention of the designers in 1868. The eagle which they selected for the Marine emblem is a crested eagle, a type found all over the world. On the other hand, the eagle pictured on the great seal and the currency of the United States is the bald eagle, strictly a North American variety. The anchor, whose origin dates back to the founding of the Marine Corps in 1775, indicates the amphibious nature of Marines' duties.
On 22 June 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed an Executive Order, which approved the design of an official seal for the United States Marine Corps. The new seal had been designed at the request of the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr.
The new seal consisted of the traditional Marine Corps emblem in bronze; however, an American bald eagle replaced the crested eagle depicted on the 1868 emblem, and is depicted with wings displayed, standing upon the western hemisphere of the terrestrial globe, and holding in his beak a scroll inscribed with the Marine Corps motto "Semper Fidelis" (Ever Faithful) with the hemisphere superimposed on a foul anchor. The seal is displayed on a scarlet background encircled with a Navy blue band edged in a gold rope rim and inscribed "Department of the Navy, United States Marine Corps" in gold letters. Coincident with the approval of this seal by the President, the emblem centered on the seal was adopted in 1955 as the official Marine Corps Emblem.

Information provided by Reference Section - History and Museums Division

About the C.7 “US Marine Corps Seal” design: At this point my “Military Insignia” collection of designs reached a critical mass. Insignias of all the major branches, commands, fleets and air forces of US and Canada were created. Except for one. A true gem of my collection was missing. I knew that I would not be able to offer USMC design in my “Military Insignia” gallery, because of USMC policy. Commercial use of Marine Corps insignia requires a license from USMC, and otherwise prohibited. Obtaing such license for individual designer is quite a challenge, and almost never presents an economically viable option.
However, since my project could not move ahead without this cornerstone design, I decided to proceed. I would create the emblem of The United States Marine corps seal. I, however, would not offer it on any of my products. The USMC gallery would be present on my site, but it would be empty, with a disclaimer and explanation why there are no products in it. Having made this decision, I went ahead with my plan.
The result of my labor can be seen on this page. I believe as of this day, this is the most beautiful USMC emblem ever designed (so much for being modest). Furthermore, unfortunately this blog would be the only place where you can take a glimpse at a smaller version of this gorgeous 15”X15” USMC seal, which the world will probably never have a chance to see. At least I had a lot of fun creating this masterpiece. The work in progress continues.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Royal Canadian Air Force Badge



[Edited on September 26, 2011] [At the time of this writing the Canadian Department of National Defense have fully succeeded at their war on unauthorized use of Canadian military insignia in North America. As a result, all my Canadian designs have been removed from each and every POD, just as I predicted would eventually happen. Regretfully, this blog became the only place where my Canadian military insignia can be seen and enjoyed.

Some of the below insignia used to be available on a limited number of selected high quality products via my “Military Insignia” galleries on CafePress and SpreadShirt. Those of you, who were able to catch any of my products while they were still available, should rejoice. Now you own extremely rare limited editions of my Canadian military insignia designs. To those of you who did not - I apologize. Please, thank DND of Canada on my behalf, and check my military insignia designs of all the other countries in my ZazzleCafePress and SpreadShirt galleries]. Below is the original post.


[Edited on Aug. 28, 2011] The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) was the air force of Canada from 1924 until 1968 when the three branches of the Canadian military were merged into the Canadian Forces Since 1975 it became known as Canadian Forces Air Command (AIRCOM). In 2011, Royal Canadian Air Force has gotten its historical name and its insignia back, along with the Royal Canadian Navy.

The badge of the RCAF was similar to that used by the RAF, the Royal Australian Air Force and the Royal New Zealand Air Force. It consists of the Imperial Crown, an "eagle volant", a circle inscribed with the RCAF's motto “Per ardua ad astra” (which is usually translated as "Through Adversity to the Stars"), and a scroll inscribed with "Royal Canadian Air Force".

At the time I was working on this image, the badge was considered obsolete in Canada, and it made working on it particularly interesting and important. One of the main goals of this project was to restore and preserve as many legacy military insignia as possible. Who would have known at that time, that this insignia will have a second life! hopefully this time it is here to stay.


A centerpiece of the design is a gold-colored eagle. I’ve used various textures of gold, copper and bronze to achieve a nice multi-layered three-dimensional look. here I had a perfect chance of experimenting with nice blue enamels and various silks for the scroll.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Royal Canadian Navy Badge



[Edited on September 26, 2011] [At the time of this writing the Canadian Department of National Defense have fully succeeded at their war on unauthorized use of Canadian military insignia in North America. As a result, all my Canadian designs have been removed from each and every POD, just as I predicted would eventually happen. Regretfully, this blog became the only place where my Canadian military insignia can be seen and enjoyed.

Some of the below insignia used to be available on a limited number of selected high quality products via my “Military Insignia” galleries on CafePress and SpreadShirt. Those of you, who were able to catch any of my products while they were still available, should rejoice. Now you own extremely rare limited editions of my Canadian military insignia designs. To those of you who did not - I apologize. Please, thank DND of Canada on my behalf, and check my military insignia designs of all the other countries in my Zazzle, CafePress and SpreadShirt galleries]. Below is the original post.



[Edited on Aug. 28, 2011] The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) was the navy of Canada from 1911 until 1968 when the three Canadian services were unified to form the Canadian Forces.
The modern Canadian navy was officially known as Canadian Forces Maritime Command (MARCOM), however, unofficially MARCOM is represented as the "Canadian Navy" and maintains many traditions of its predecessor. It was not correct to use the name "Royal Canadian Navy" or its abbreviation "RCN" in references to Canada's naval forces after February 1, 1968. In 1968, the Royal Canadian Navy Badge was replaced by the Canadian Forces Maritime Command (MARCOM) badge, however it was not written off.
Since 1968, this badge was re-assigned to Canadian Forces Naval Operations branch, a personnel branch of the Canadian Forces. Variations if the badge are also used as cap badges of the Canadian Navy. However, the situation was reversed in 2011, and Canadian Navy was reestablished as the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) once again. At the time this article was edited, the fate of the old RCN badge was not yet clear. Stay tuned.

This is another example of impressive Canadian military heraldry, which was a true pleasure to work with. A centerpiece of the design is a gold-colored anchor, on which I used various textures of gold, copper and bronze to achieve a slightly worn out and stressed look. I also added a nice 3D volume, to make the anchor pop. As it always happens with Canadian military heraldry, the most challenging part was the King Edward’s crown. It is also the most fun part to work on, because you can go nuts with textures of gold, precious stones and silks. The result speaks for itself.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Canadian Armed Forces Badge

[Edited on September 26, 2011] [At the time of this writing, the Canadian Department of National Defense have fully succeeded at their war on unauthorized use of Canadian military insignia in North America. As a result, all my Canadian designs have been removed from each and every POD, just as I predicted would eventually happen. Regretfully, this blog became the only place where my Canadian military insignia can be seen and enjoyed.

Some of the below insignia used to be available on a limited number of selected high quality products via my “Military Insignia” galleries on CafePress and SpreadShirt. Those of you, who were able to catch any of my products while they were still available, should rejoice. Now you own extremely rare limited editions of my Canadian military insignia designs. To those of you who did not - I apologize. Please, thank DND of Canada on my behalf, and check my military insignia designs of all the other countries in my Zazzle, CafePress and SpreadShirt galleries]. Below is the original post.





Description: The Canadian Forces (CF) (French: Forces canadiennes; FC), officially the Canadian Armed Forces (French: Forces armées canadiennes), are the unified armed forces of Canada. according to the National Defence Act: "The Canadian Forces are the armed forces of Her Majesty raised by Canada and consist of one Service called the Canadian Armed Forces." The CAF consist of three main branches: Maritime Command (MARCOM), Land Force Command (LFC), and Air Command (AIRCOM). At the pinnacle of the command structure is the Commander-in-Chief, who is the reigning Canadian monarch, Elizabeth II, represented by the Governor General.
The Canadian Armed Forces badge was approved in August, 1967, to represent the Canadian Forces. It combines symbols from the three services – Army, Navy and Air Force.

About C.7 “Canadian Armed Forces Badge” design: The complexity of this striking image was certainly a challenge, but the beauty of it was a true inspiration. As usually, I started by recreating a vector image of the badge in Adobe Illustrator CS4. After that, I used my unique multi-layer process in Adobe Photoshop CS4, layer by layer, element by element, detail by detail, giving the image it’s current look, feel and textures.
As with all “Military Insignia” series designs, my aim was to retain all the official colors and elements , at the same time applying realistic textures, and 3d-effects, brining life into the flat and plain two-dimensional image.
I had to play with multiple textures of gold, silk, precious gems and pearls for the crown. Various shades of gold were also applied to give dimensions and striking appearance to the eagle. The swords have received shiny steel blades. I also decided to give a vintage, weathered and somewhat corroded look to the anchor, and applied multiple textures to its components. And of course, as a final touch, I've used some nice enamels effects on the background platter and maple leaves.
As far as I remember, it took me a bit over two days to complete. The hi-resolution image at its 15”x20” looks truly astonishing. This was my first image in series of Canadian military insignia, and it made me fall in love with this impressive, meaningful and stunning Canadian military heraldry.

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