It’s the first time ever for this. And some soldiers and vets don’t like it. FromStars and Stripes:
The patch of one of the Army’s most storied divisions is coming to Sears —
and not everyone is pleased about it.
The distinctive “Big Red One” insignia and colors of the 1st Infantry
Division are part of an Army-inspired clothing line being rolled out this year
for the department store.
The Army licensed the 1st ID insignia to All American Apparel in June 2007,
according to Army spokesman Paul Boyce. Under the licensing agreement, the Army
will receive royalties on any profits beginning in 2009.
The Army wasn’t paid up front for the 1st ID insignia use, Boyce said, and
royalties will go to programs for troops and military families.
Not all soldiers or 1st ID veterans agreed on the appropriateness of having
such a symbolic unit patch on a line of commercial clothing.
Joe Argenzio lied about his age and joined the Army as a 16-year-old during
World War II. He soon found himself with the 1st ID just in time for D-Day. On
June 6, 1944, he was among the first Allied troops to hit the French coast.
The division, its history and its patch all mean “an awful lot,” he said.
Argenzio’s father served with the 1st ID in World War I, and as a boy he
lived near Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn, N.Y., where a division regiment was
“I don’t like it to be commercialized,” he said. “My father would turn over
in his grave.”
Some active-duty soldiers also disagree with the patch’s commercial use.
But it can help with recruitment:
“Strong brand identification through retail sales of products potentially can
enhance the Army’s recruiting efforts and the public’s general goodwill toward
the Army and its activities,” Boyce said in an e-mail.
And not long ago this seemed, I don’t know, ironic?