A combat patch worn by U.S. soldiers who served in Iraq on the mission against Islamic State is drawing flak from service members and veterans who say the patch -- with its palm wreath, stars and crossed scimitars -- looks like something the enemy would wear.
The patch isn't new. Soldiers serving in Operation Inherent Resolve have been sewing it onto their uniforms since April, shortly after the Army authorized it. There is also a medal version for wear on the Army Service Uniform, service spokesman Wayne Hall said on Thursday.
Army Secretary John McHugh approved the patch on March 23 and the service announced it in a message to troops four days later.
But a story on the patch posted on Army Times' Facebook page has drawn a long string of criticism from readers who say the design makes it look more like a unit patch of a Middle Eastern military -- or even something ISIS would wear.
The article, which ran in USA Today, quotes from an Army document stating that the crossed scimitars symbolize the twin goals of the U.S.-led coalition -- to defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS (also known as ISIL), and to restore stability in the region.
"Will these be issued to Iraqi troops so they can desert again and leave these patches for ISIS?" asked Army veteran Michael Daunais, a reference to instances in which Iraqi troops have gone over to the jihadists rather than fight them.
"You can keep that ISIS patch featuring swords that chop off our heads," wrote David Clay, a former Army chief warrant officer.
Some commenters wrote that they initially thought the article was posted by The Duffleblog, a faux news site that satirizes the military.
Former Army Capt. Kevin Casas called the patch "100% Haji style!
"The team I worked with in the Jordanian Special Forces had a patch just like that, they were good guys, but the bad guys' patch also looks like ... that," he continued. "How about an American looking style symbol? wtf man?"
--Bryant Jordan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.