The Rock Regiment Patch

Bob Flynn
Paul Whitman




  Handmade in the Philippines whilst the 503d was still on Negros, this patch is from Capt. Jim Mullaney's footlocker.   Note that this version, the earliest I've yet seen,  says "Corregidor" and not "The Rock."  What a beauty!

   Early version on a Class A uniform. Already the concept of the eagle has been lost.

Seen on a Berlin 1956-58 Tour of Duty  paratroopers' leather jacket. 

  Example of a patch made in Japan Christmas 1945. Already the plumage of the eagle has so suffered, it can hardly be recognised as an eagle at all. Provenance unknown.

   A Joseph A. Koran design loosely based upon the McNeill design April-May 1945.  Another non-eagle. Provenance unknown.

A cut edged full embroidered patch of Korean War vintage. 
  Embroidered on to a blue cloth denim style backing, this fine patch  shows reasonable detail, though misses the regal nature of the eagle entirely.


  A Taiwan produced variation found in a local surplus store in Brisbane Australia, this patch (above) has noticeably fewer stiches per square inch, which gives it a cheap and almost screen-printed feel to it.  It is embroidered to a cloth backing.  Built to a price, it misses the art of the  McNeill original by a mile.   

  Embroidered on to a cloth backing, this angular and slab-sided design  (above)  completely misses the shape of the Rock. The eagle feathers are individually profiled, which makes for a nice touch.  The patch was acquired at the 2000 Reunion, Fayetteville.  

A beautifully detailed patch ,  scanned by Brock Mullis.  It's embroidered on to a blue cloth backing, and is notable for using the black and yellow AIRBORNE flash, and a Golden Eagle.  One must wonder if any of these patch-makers have ever seen a Bald Eagle.  It also  misses the pollywog shaped island entirely, and has only five risers. 

  This patch is another eBay eDisaster, said to be from the collection of an F-4U Corsair jet ace J. Gardiner Snow. The Rock looks more like a boulder, a bowling ball, or a party balloon, and the eagle appears more like a bird of Paradise.  As every patch needs to be judged on its own merits, unusual examples such as this one hold a greater degree of interest than the normal standardised Taiwan specials, but the truth is that none of these faithfully approach the design of the original 503d heraldic device.

A detailed fully embroidered version, but sadly the Eagle looks more like a prize chicken. It would be difficult to find a less regal design.

Subtle differences in plumage differentiate this patch from earlier versions. Over the years the concept of the American Eagle seizing Corregidor was lost as the island began to look more like a bowling ball.  


Wilson O'Neal believes this may be a Japanese made version.  The black /yellow tab was designated for units attached to the 13th, 17th & 101st Airborne Division and the blue/white tab was for the 11th and the 82nd.  At no time was the Rock Patch officially recognized by the Army so there has never been a "by the book" useage which dates the adoption of differing variants.













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Combat Over Corregidor

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The Rock Patch

503d PIR as a Case Study

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Last Updated: 04-08-13