Monday, July 26, 2010

The United States Army Seal

The United States Army is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military responsible for land-based military operations. The primary mission of the Army is to "provide necessary forces and capabilities ... in support of the National Security and Defense Strategies.

Background: The traditional seal used during and since the Revolution was redesignated as the Seal of the Department of the Army by the National Security Act of 1947. The Department of the Army seal is authorized by Section 3011, Title 10, United States Code.

Description: In the center is a Roman cuirass below a vertical unsheathed sword, point up, the pommel resting on the neck opening of the cuirass and a Phrygian cap supported on the sword point, all between on the right an esponton and on the left a musket with fixed bayonet crossed in saltire behind the cuirass and passing under the sword guard. To the right of the cuirass and esponton is a flag of unidentified designs with cords and tassels, on a flagstaff with spearhead, above a cannon barrel, the muzzle end slanting upward behind the cuirass, in front of the drum, with two drumsticks and the fly end of the flag draped over the drumhead; below, but partly in front of the cannon barrel, is a pile of three cannon balls. To the left of the cuirass and musket is a national color of the Revolutionary War period, with cords and tassels, on a flagstaff with spearhead, similarly arranged above a mortar on a carriage, the mortar facing inward and in front of the lower portion of the color and obscuring the lower part of it; below the mortar are two bomb shells placed side by side. Centered above the Phrygian cap is a rattlesnake holding in its mouth a scroll inscribed "This We’ll Defend."
Symbolism: The central element, the Roman cuirass, is a symbol of strength and defense. The sword, esponton (a type of half-pike formerly used by subordinate officers), musket, bayonet, cannon, cannon balls, mortar, and mortar bombs are representative of Army implements. The drum and drumsticks are symbols of public notification of the Army’s purpose and intent to serve the Nation and its people. The Phrygian cap (often called the Cap of Liberty) supported on the point of an unsheathed sword and the motto "This We’ll Defend" on a scroll held by the rattlesnake is a symbol depicted on some American colonial flags and signifies the Army’s constant readiness to defend and preserve the United States.
Information Provided by The Institute of Heraldry

About the C.7 “US Army Seal” design: The design has been recreated in vector form in Adobe Illustrator CS4, and after that, it has been digitally enhanced using my unique multi-layered process in Adobe Photoshop CS4. Usually it takes anywhere from 1 to 3 days to complete a design of such complexity. 

Update [July 19th, 2011]: The United States Army Seal story didn't end here. Almost a year after my first edition of the design, I was flexing muscles of my Adobe Photoshop CS5, and managed to come with a new "bronze" edition of the seal, which I am happy to present here, in the original post. 

As always, the above artworks are available  via my “Military Insignia” galleries from FineArt America and RedBubble. You can just follow the links in the article to get to the corresponding galleries.

To active duty or reserve military personnel, veterans and their family members: I grant explicit permission to download the above images to be used for non-profit/non-commercial and charitable causes, benefiting troops and their families, as well as for non-commercial internal duty-specific purposes, such as unit website design, training materials and presentations. 


  1. Hello, looking for JCS Emblem in PNG format. Is one available? I work in the Joint Staff.


  2. @ Mike: Yes, I have done JCS a little while ago. You can have a look at it in one of my galleries here: Joint Chiefs of Staff

    You can contact me directly via my galleries's "Send Message" link, letting me know how is it going to be used, and if it is a non-commercial or duty-related use, I will e-mail you a downsized version of the PNG.


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