Regimental Combat Teams Patches History

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Information extracted from the book
by Barry Jason Stein

Used by permission

Increasingly during World War II, infantry regiments employed the regimental combat team (RCT) concept.  A regimental combat team might be a group of combat units; for example, it might include an artillery battalion, an engineer company, a medical company, and a signal detachment, all supporting the infantry regiment employed to accomplish a given mission.  The sub-legions of the postcolonial period (1792 - 96) commanded by the Revolutionary War hero Anthony Wayne were the predecessors of the regimental combat team.  Regimental combat teams, formed after World War II and during the Korean War to perform limited tactical objectives, were composed of an infantry regiment, a field artillery battalion, and an engineer company.  The colors are blue and white for infantry, red for artillery, and red and white for engineers.

187th Abn RCT patch
187th Abn RCT

Worn from:  19 March 1952 - September 1956.

The parachute represents the airborne mission of the team and the wing suggests the unit's original service as a glider regiment.  The flame refers to the unit's spirit and their readiness to engage the enemy.

Numerous variations exist for this unit patch which was worn as a pocket patch by elements of the regiment while with the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam.  The units and patch variations are as follows:

187th Abn RCT Patch 3
187th Abn RCT

Worn from:  Early 1952 - October 1956.

The parachute, wings, and the flame are depicted in a design that is slightly modified from the original.

187th RCT Patch 4
187th RCT

Worn from:  Early 1952 - Unknown.

In this design, the numerical designation of the unit is superimposed upon the wing.

187th Abn UNRCT  RCT patch
187th Abn RCT

Worn from:  1050's - 

In this design the emblem of the United Nations is substituted for the original design and includes the motto, "Angles from Hell."

187th Abn RCT patch 6
187th Abn RCT6

Worn from:  The inscription "Red Legs" is the nickname given to artillerymen.  It appears above a descending airborne army mule firing a mortar round.

187th Abn RCT patch
187th Abn RCT

Worn from:  Early 1950's.

An airborne pack animal is depicted carrying a machine gun on its back.

187th Abn Korea patch
187th Abn Korea

Worn from:  21 October 1950 - 27 July 1953 (Unauthorized).

This patch commemorates the unit's first combat jump in Korea at Sukchon and Sunchon on 20 October 1950.  Rakkasans is the name given the 187th by the Japanese.  Literally translated it means "falling down umbrella."

187th ARCT patch
187th ARCT

Worn from:  Early 1950's.

On an infantry blue shield is a winged airborne red circle with the unit's designation in the center.  The design of the insignia is taken from that of the Eleventh Airborne Division shoulder-sleeve insignia.  The Rakkasans have the distinction of being the only American airborne unit to enter combat in all three modes of airborne vertical envelopment:  glider, parachute, and helicopters.  Today, the 187th serves in the War Eagle Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division, the nation's all-purpose air assault division and lead element of the Strategic Rapid Deployment Ready Force.