501st Military Intelligence Brigade, US Army

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Arms of 501st Military Intelligence Brigade, US Army

(Shoulder Sleeve Insignia)
Arms of 501st Military Intelligence Brigade, US Army

(Distinctive Unit Insignia)

Official blazon

Shoulder Sleeve Insignia. Description: On a vertical rectangle arched convexly at top and bottom 3 inches (7.62cm) in height by 2 inches (5.08cm) in width divided vertically silver gray and oriental blue all within a 1/8 inch (.32cm) yellow border, a double warded inverted yellow key between two yellow lightning flashes issuing from upper left and right corners and conjoining the shaft of the key just above the double ward.

Distinctive Unit Insignia. Description: A silver color metal and enamel device 1 3/16 inches in height overall consisting of a silver color rectangle bounded on either side by a vertical white sword at left and a vertical black sword at right, point up, and enclosed at the top and bottom by two arched blue scrolls passing over the ends of the swords and inscribed "IN UNITATE" on the top scroll and "ET VIGILIA" on the bottom scroll in silver letters. On the rectangle a red oriental dragon, his body curved from left to right with tail at top and head below, grasping in his right claw a blue lightning bolt crossed over a blue double-warded key grasped in his left claw.


Shoulder Sleeve Insignia: Oriental blue and silver gray are the branch colors of Military Intelligence, and also refer to the constant day and night vigilance mission of the unit. The key is symbolic of authority and control and alludes to security. The lightning flashes are symbolic of worldwide electrical communications and the double-warded key conjoined with the two lightning flashes symbolize military intelligence and security command united.

Distinctive Unit Insignia: Oriental blue and gray (silver) are the branch colors of Military Intelligence. The red dragon represents the Orient and the lineage of the organization. The lightning bolt signifies worldwide electrical communication and the key symbolizes security and control; crossed in saltire, they represent strength and symbolize Army Security Agency and Military Intelligence united. The swords are adapted from the Military Intelligence branch insignia. Their colors, white and black, signify day and night and the continuous mission of the unit.

The Shoulder Sleeve Insignia was approved on 4 December 1986. The Distinctive Unit Insignia was originally approved for the 501st Military Intelligence Group on 6 June 1978. It was redesignated on 8 October 1986 for the 501st Military Intelligence Brigade.

We have no information on the meaning or origin of these arms.

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Literature: Images from Wikimedia Commons. Inforamtion from The Institute of Heraldry, US Army.