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Stars & Strips: Navy looking into ‘Make Aircrew Great Again’ patches sailors wore during Trump visit

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MAG patch

Monday was not the first time that the patches have made an appearance on the uniform sleeves of Navy airmen.

By COREY DICKSTEIN | STARS AND STRIPESPublished: May 28, 2019

WASHINGTON — The Navy said Tuesday that it is evaluating whether sailors aboard the USS Wasp violated Defense Department policy by sporting unofficial uniform patches with the phrase “Make Aircrew Great Again” during a Memorial Day visit by President Donald Trump.

The red, circular patch featured a finger-pointing cartoon figure similar in appearance to Trump with words reminiscent of his famous campaign slogan “Make America Great Again.” Photographs of several Navy airmen aboard the warship in Japan wearing the patches circulated Tuesday on Twitter, where they were first posted by a Wall Street Journal reporter traveling with the president.

“Navy leadership is currently reviewing this instance to ensure that the wearing of the patch does not violate DOD policy or regulations,” Lt. Samuel Boyle, a Navy spokesman at the Pentagon, wrote in a single-sentence email Tuesday afternoon.

Troops across the military services have long worn unofficial insignia, known as morale patches. Often boasting humorous themes, the patches are widely available for purchase online and in military supply stores. Though such patches are officially barred by uniform regulations, they can be approved by troops’ chains of command.

It was not clear Tuesday whether the “Make Aircrew Great Again” patches had been approved by the sailors’ commanders. It was also unclear where the sailors had obtained the patches.

Monday was not the first time that the patches have made an appearance on the uniform sleeves of Navy airmen. A helicopter crew chief was photographed by Stars and Stripes in July 2018 wearing the same patch at Barking Sands Missile Range in Hawaii during Rim of the Pacific naval exercises. The Pentagon, itself, shared a photo on social media of a sailor wearing the same patch in 2017.

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