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An assignment patch is a badge or emblem worn as part of one's uniform, to distinguish one's mission or posting. Mission patches were first used by NASA's Gemini 5 crew in 1965, and new patches were created for subsequent missions.
By the 22nd century, with longer-term interstellar missions, these patches, also known as service patches, came to be identified with a ship, rather than any single mission that ship carried out. Earth Starfleet assignment patches were worn on the left sleeve of the standard duty uniform. (ENT episode: "Broken Bow", et al.)
By the 23rd century, Federation Starfleet patches became smaller and more stylized, and also were moved to the left breast of the standard uniform tunic. For example, the USS Rickover assignment patch was a stylized representation of interlocking rings, while the USS Monitor patch represented the shape of a comet. (TOS episodes: "The Cage", "Where No Man Has Gone Before"; TOS novels: The Starless World, Prime Directive; et al.)
When uniform tunics were not worn, many crewpeople instead wore standard jumpsuits or other utility clothing. While such identification was sometimes omitted, simpler embroidered patterns were worn on the uniform breast. On smaller ships where the uniform of the day was less formal, such as the USS Sagittarius, a regular assignment patch could be worn on a plain jumpsuit. (TOS episode: "The Cage", et al.; VAN novel: Harbinger)
By the 2270s, assignment patches were phased out, in favor of a metallic pin of a single design, formerly used as the assignment patch of the USS Enterprise, now used to represent all of Federation Starfleet. (TOS movie: Star Trek: The Motion Picture, et al.)
Assignment patch chartEdit
2140s-60s Earth StarfleetEdit
|Starfleet Headquarters||Starfleet Mission Control||Columbia (NX-02)||Enterprise (NX-01)||SS Intrepid||NX-01 MACOs|
23rd century StarfleetEdit
|sciences division||command division||operations division|
|Starfleet Headquarters and Starbases (2260s)|
|Archernar IV contact station|
|Federation Deepspace Research Facility 39|
|USS Enterprise (until 2270)|
|medical branch||sciences branch||flight-operations branch||command branch||tactical-operations branch||engineering branch|
|Admiral James T. Kirk and USS Enterprise (2270s)|
|Epsilon IX Station|
|Starfleet Command||Deep Space 9||Mayflower|