Fifties Frogs Magazine

Vol 6

Pg 6


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More about patches:

Email from Tad Devine:

I was just made aware of "Fifties Frogs” website and magazine after golfing this week with Chief Kevin Murphy (my UTDRA instructor from 47 years ago. The magazine is a great idea.

I noted a short 'squib" about Jack Tomlinson of UDT-2 and his award-winning design of "Freddie the Frog." The following historical account might be of interest as a follow up:

In the 50's, it seemed each West Pac detachment would return with a different shoulder patch made to identify the wearer as a member of Underwater Demolition. Every design was different; seahorses, etc. In 1958, I had a detachment working on a cable job at the Kaneohe Marine Air Station in Hawaii. We would continually get "flack” for wearing “salt-stained sloppy greens" over issued tan swim trunks, "boon dockers" sporting a green field cap with a fuse lighter dangling from the cap's vent hole. It was the standard fashion of the day. "Just who are you?" would be the sputtering challenge of crisply turned out Marine officers in the chow hall and on the base. I thought it would be nice if the teams had a shoulder patch for ID. It might save some hassles. Then, of course, there was the "pride” factor.

To teammates LTJG John Callahan and LTJG George Raines, I suggested that we design a patch. We'd use the "East Coast” design


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(this might minimize resistance from teams 21 and 22 to a West Coast idea.) It was a great design and reads "Underwater Demolition." We would then add a banner under it reading Team 11, which, if the idea caught on, each team could add their own team number, but there would be a standard design for the 'Teams.”

We took the idea to LT Bob Terry, UDT-11’s XO. He bought into the idea and money was found in the team's slush fund to have the patches made by a little civilian embroidery shop in Chula Vista. With the CO’s approval (LCDR John Roe) on a Friday in July 1959, three patches were issued each member of Team Eleven with instructions on how to sew them on the "greens” left sleeve. Monday morning muster found the team lined up with the bright new white patches in place. Everyone was just a little bit taller.

Two weeks later UDT-12 made Monday muster, each member with Freddie the Frog on his left sleeve.

So it was, I believe that the tradition of team shoulder patches started. Some forty six years ago. —Timothy A. "Tad" Devine, LCDR USNR (Training Class 20, ’58 COR) 1958

Editor's Note: Thanks for helping to add to the history of frog design and patches that speaks to how resourceful the frogs of that era were in many things.

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