Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Stars, Pentagons, Suns and an implied Eye: Clumsy title for some ugly logos

I was toodling about this morning, making the rounds of my regular news websites, when I came across an AP photo similar to the following picture of the gate at Camp Delta (as in triangle?), Guantanamo;  (I snagged this one from the JTF website):
Given the hubbub over American political imagery, especially the idea of stars and pentagrams in official seals, a pentacle in the layout of DC and the sinister pentagram defined by the pentagon, etc. it's natural that this logo popped out at me.  Both the star and the pentagon have a long history in conspiracy literature.  As logos go, this one's truly ugly, with way too many elements and conflicting forms.  A silhouette of Cuba runs across the black star like a scar.  Any elegance this star might have have had is further marred by the bad decision to add the seals of each of the armed forces at each point.  It doesn't help that the seals are so busy, with their own details and color schemes.  To make matters worse, an actual beach scene is in the background, looking all the world as if someone has been ripping off bad wallpaper designs.  Here's a closer look, also snagged from the JGT website:
What a monstrosity.  Stupid font, the yellow border on the star, the red border on the pentagon.  Funny how it evokes an old timey sheriff's badge.  As kitsch as it is, it'll still provide more fodder for the "Satan lives in DC" crowd.  Which is actually true, metaphorically speaking.

And that sun in the sky is very low; is it dusk or is it dawn?

A bit less offensive to good taste is the patch version of the logo.  The seals of the armed forces are replaced by their names and the star is removed.  But all those conflicting colors and lettering!  Still pretty ugly if you ask me.  If it were my decision, I'd remove all the text and leave only the forms.  I might allow JTF-GTMO somewhere in there but no more.

Wess Wessling's Coast Guard Patches
Anyway, this spurred me on to continue my (up until today) fruitless search for an Odyssey Dawn patch.  The military is like the Boy Scouts.  They have a patch or ribbon for everything.  I figured the Odyssey Dawn logo might feature one of those My Little Ponies streaking across the sky like a comet.  But no, that was not to be.

I found the OD logo on the blog of Gideon Rachman (Financial Times).  On March 20 at 20:45 he posted "Here’s the Pentagon’s official “Odyssey Dawn” logo:"

Libya live blog, March 20th
Another JTF adventure!  The golden victory laurels are a nice touch.  Makes it look like a tire with fancy hubcaps and snow chains.  The sun, rising in the east, looks both like a vast explosion where Japan would be and a Japanese war flag, creeping up to bring a new day for Africa, Waka Waka eh eh....

Given these precedents, we might have an answer to our question about the the Gitmo (Kitschmo) patch.  I propose that it too represents dawn, as if these prisoners, hooded (hoodwinked?) no less, have travelled through their dark night and will re-emerge, hood (veil) removed, into the light of a new day.

It reminds me in a vague sense of the DARPA's discontnued IAO logo, with the eye in the pyramid, illuminating the globe.  Same message I think.  We're bringing the light, fuckers....on the tip of a missile....

Upon further reflection, this vague sense is actually well-founded.  In ¡Viva la Revolución!, I examined the conflation of the eye with the image of the sun which appears on several Latin American flags.  I proposed this signified the dawn of a new era in Latin America.  This metaphor seems to have been taken up by the current crop of would-be nation builders, carving up new resource-rich territories.  The DARPA logo, which comes in an entirely different context, features an eye shining light on the globe.  What is this then but the eye as sun?

Funny thing is, I haven't seen the OD logo anywhere else, even on the Africom website, so if anyone can confirm this is the real deal, I'd appreciate it.


  1. Man you are right !!! It's hard to beat in unglyness and YES, I definitely think of the 80ish wall paper (living room background, or even toilets !) with the sunset or the coconut beach... how bad can it be, and who got paid for this shit ???!!!


  2. What do you mean "March 30, 2011 4:20 PM"
    This server has it wrong !!! Where is it publishing from ? It's 1.26 am now, c'mon...


  3. I've often wondered about the server's time stamp. Maybe there's a setting I can adjust in Blogger.....and yeah, that logo is a disaster.

  4. I think it's set to EST (east coast US) somehow? Or else maybe an hour east of there. I guess I know after I save this post...

  5. Huh. I was thinking of my time zones backwards. It has us in California.

    But anyhow, I came here to say, nice job on finding these logos. That top one is preposterously bad. The OD is much better looking. I didn't realize that there were patches for specific operations. Now I want to find the patches for other operations!

  6. I'll investigate this time thingy.....and yeah, I'm still aghast by that logo.

    Preposterous is a good word for it. The idea of having logos for specific operations seems a bit decadent to me for some reason. I mean, a campaign ribbon, sure, but a whole patch seems absurd.

  7. Proper display of combat patches on uniforms is covered under Army Regulation 670.1 "Uniforms and Insignia: Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia", Appendix F "Shoulder Sleeve Insignia–Former Wartime Service (SSI–FWTS)" (p. 350 of this PDF).

    My half-assed google-fu failed to find any official looking sites showing images for various operations, although this Desert Storm patch is fascinating and scary.

    Also, sorry if you already mentioned this, but I learned that we are currently also engaged in Operation New Dawn (Afghanistan).

    Finally, not sure, Daurade, if you've heard that "sunset" is a catchy new verb in business/political/military vernacular, meaning "put an end to; retire", as in "Let's sunset this operation!"

  8. I'd swear I'd responded to this already. Very interesting new vernacular. The Dawn thing doesn't surprise me at all, as an Operation name etc. But I'm mildly surprised that sunset has come to be used this way. Typical military. Their like rappers. New slang all the time. Keeps the cowans confused....

  9. Operation New Dawn, Gid, is actually in's their official website:

  10. As the sun rises in the East to open and rule the day, so the Master rises in the East to open and guide the Lodge, in its labor.


    As the sun rises in the East to open and govern the day, so rises the Worshipful Master in the East [WM rises.], to open and govern his Lodge, set the craft at work, and give them proper instruction.

  11. A bit after the fact, but I just looked at that Desert Storm patch again, Gid. Now as then, it's just awful. Design standards aren't what they used to be.

    Also, I should have remarked that "Honor bound to defend freedom" is as Orwellian as it gets. Nice slogan for a....prison. Can't believe I didn't comment on that. Infuriating jingo bullshit.


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