Distinctive Unit Insignia



1938 Accroutments

1938 Regimental Accroutments

The 158th Field Artillery Regiment was activated in 1923, but the design of the regimental distinctive unit insignia was not adopted by the War Department until April 1933.

(View Actual Distinctive Insignia Approval)

(View Actual Distinctive Insignia Approval to Wear)

(View Actual Distinctive Insignia Approval for Manufacture)

The approved insignia was designed by Technical Sergeant Charles E. Tompkins, a member of the Regular Army Instructor Force of the division assigned to the artillery. Examples of this regimental crest can be seen in the photograph above, as worn on epaulets of class “A” uniform by Captain Sidney P. Kretlow and the photograph below where Private Max M. Pappe of Battery “F”, Kingfisher, wears the regimental unit crest on his garrison cap and on the lapels of his class “A” uniform and further below where Captain Paul E. Anderson wears it on his campaign hat.

1938 Max Major Pappe

Max Major Pappe


Captain Paul Ellsworth Anderson

Captain Paul Ellsworth Anderson


The adopted insignia was a white Indian quiver with gold fringe.  Three arrows protruded from the top of the quiver representing the three states of Oklahoma, Arizona, and New Mexico, in which units of the regiment were located.  The three States were further represented in the insignia by symbols placed on the quiver.  The top one (avanyu and or awanyu) representing Arizona was an Indian good luck symbol, the middle one (setting sun) representing New Mexico was the setting sun, and the third representing Oklahoma was a star (mullet voided). This design was also submitted as the official Coat of Arms, along with the unit motto of:  “VIRTUTE OMNIBUS PRAESTARE”, or “To excel all in respect to courage and valor”. The unit motto was accepted however by using the design as the official Coat of Arms was ultimately disapproved.

(View Actual Letter)

Pre WW II Crest

158th FAR

When the Division was triangularized in 1942 during World War II, the 158th Field Artillery Regiment became a battalion. Though it took considerable time be consummated, the Institute of Heraldry of the United States Army desired that a new insignia be designed and adopted for the 158th Field Artillery Battalion and the regimental insignia of the 158th be preserved for past regimental historical purposes and use in any future activation of a 158th Field Artillery Regiment.

Unit Mottos TIOH


Records at hand are confusing, as it appears that a new insignia for the battalion was approved by the office of the Quartermaster General on 14 January 1952, again on 5 December 1952 and then re-designated on 2 November 1960.  The original approval by the Quartermaster General, as well as his approval of 5 December 1952, occurred while the battalion was in combat in Korea and ten years after the Division was triangularized.

QM Drawing 5-6-1743

(View Actual Report)

Apparently because the approved insignia were manufactured by a foreign firm (probably due to the battalion being in Korea) and not a certified United States manufacturer, the re-designation of 2 November 1960 with the approval of the Adjutant General of Oklahoma became necessary. An example of this can best be seen in the photograph below of Technical Sergeant Folks taken in the 1951-1952 time frame. He is wearing the new “Thunderbird” shoulder patch however he still wears the older style regimental unit crest.

John Folks

Technical Sergeant John Folks

At least during all these approvals and re-designations, the same design for the new insignia of the 158th Field Artillery Battalion was involved.  The dominant colors are red and yellow for artillery.  The crest, in keeping with Oklahoma tradition, was the head of an Indian wearing a war bonnet.  The shield under the crest displayed three broad arrows, the points of each meeting at the center of the shield with a fleur-de-lis located below the arrows in a green wedge.  The motto on a ribbon at the bottom says:  “UNUSUAL EFFORTS EXPENDED”

Thus, the new insignia in its crest represented the Indian heritage of the battalion, the shield by the broad arrows represented a missile thrown by a machine which was an early version of artillery and further represented the assault landings of the battalion on Sicily, Italy and Southern France in World War II.  The green wedge on the shield symbolizes mountainous Italy and the fleur-de-lis for service in Southern France.  The motto typifies the outstanding manner in which the 158th has always performed in both peace and war.

158 DUI

Distinctive Unit Insignia


A Gold color metal and enamel device 1 1/4 inches in height consisting of the shield, crest and motto of the coat of arms.


The dominant colors, red and yellow, are for Artillery. The broad arrow-a large missile thrown by machine-was an early version of artillery. The three broad arrowheads represent the recognition awarded the organization for service in Sicily, Naples and Southern France. The green wedge symbolizes mountainous Italy, and the fleur-de-lis is for French and Central European service.

Historical Background:

The distinctive unit insignia was originally approved for the 158th Field Artillery Battalion on 14 January 1952. It was redesignated for the 158th Artillery Regiment on 2 November 1960. The insignia was redesignated for the 158th Field Artillery Regiment on 19 July 1972.




Regimental Collar Insignia

Regimental Branch Insignia

Regimental collar insignia is the soldier’s branch insignia on which the numerical designation of the regiment is affixed. Regimental collar insignia is worn in lieu of the branch insignia by officer and enlisted soldiers affiliated with infantry, armor, field artillery, air defense artillery, cavalry, special forces, or aviation regiments.


Regimental collar insignia as worn by Sidney Kretlow

Soldiers affiliated with these regiments also will wear the regimental collar insignia when not assigned to the regiment. A soldier affiliated to a regiment but having a branch other than the currently assigned branch will wear the assigned branch insignia without a numeral. Soldiers will not wear numerals designating battalions on regimental collar insignia. Regimental collar insignia is locally procured and furnished as an organizational item to affiliated enlisted soldiers. Commanders will permit enlisted soldiers who are affiliated with the regiment to retain regimental collar insignia when reassigned from the affiliated regiment.

The regimental number for the combat arms branches is positioned as shown:


Officer branch insignia is two crossed field guns in gold-colored metal, 13/16 inch in height (Shown Above).

 158Regimental Brass

 Enlisted personnel have the same design on a 1-inch disk, in gold-colored metal (Shown Above).


regimental brass

Excerpt from 1920 Uniform Regulation

The 45th Infantry Division Shoulder Insignia

Following World War I the National Defense Act of 1920 created the authority to form the Forty-fifth Infantry Division from the four states of Oklahoma, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico which was then organized in 1923.  A shoulder patch was designed which represented the division. It had a red square representing the four states in which units of the 45th were located, the red and yellow colors were indicative of the Spanish heritage of the area, and the swastika had been selected as a typical American Indian symbol.


45th Infantry Division 1920’s

For the first 15 years of its existence as a division, members of the 45th Division proudly wore on their left shoulders an ancient “good luck” symbol, the swastika, in yellow on a square red background.

Excerpt from 1931 Official National Guard Register

But when the swastika was adopted by Adolph Hitler and his Nazi party in Germany during the late 1930s, it became an odious symbol and was abandoned in the fall of 1938 as the insignia of the 45th Division.

While members of the 45th took off their swastikas and wore no insignia for many months, the adjutants general and commanders of units of the 45th Division in Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona called on guardsmen and citizens of all four states to suggest designs for a new insignia. Hundreds of designs were submitted, and a board of officers was appointed to consider all of the designs and recommend one for adoption.

The board composed of Colonel George Ade Davis, Chief of Staff, 45th Division; Lt. Col. Clyde M. Howell, finance officer, 45th Division’ Lt. Col. Ellis Stephenson, G-3, 45th Division; Major Bryan W. Nolen, Executive Officer, 90th Brigade; and Captain Ross H. Routh, Headquarters, Oklahoma National Guard, and in the spring of 1939 held the first meeting of the board, held in Oklahoma City. Members went through all of the designs and discarded those that were considered too fanciful, those that were not representative of all four states, and others that were lacking in symbolism. In a discussion following this action, members of the board agreed that the new insignia should retain the original red square background and the red and yellow colors of the original insignia, with a new design replacing the swastika. All suggested designs which did not meet these criteria, or which could not be adapted to meet them, were then eliminated from consideration.

A second meeting of the board concentrated on the remaining suggested designs and selected three which were to be considered to be the best. First choice was a Thunderbird, submitted by Joe Tice of Oklahoma City, former enlisted man in the 45th, by Sgt Raymond S. McLain, Jr., of Oklahoma City, and also by Brig. Gen. Harold H. Richardson, The Adjutant General of Colorado. Second choice was a Colt revolver, caliber 45 of the type worn and used by frontiersmen in “winning the west”. Third choice was the figures “45” in various configurations.  Colonel Davis then asked Woodrow Wilson Big Bow, a local Native American Indian artist to design the thunderbird.

Woodrow Wilson Bigbow

Woodrow Wilson Bigbow

“Woody” Big Bow; a member of the infamous “Kiowa Five” artists; sketched many renditions of the Thunderbird, eventually designing the divisional shoulder patch.


Thunderbird Rendition “Woody” Bigbow

Following agreement on designs, recommendations of the board were submitted to Major General Charles F. Barrett, The Adjutant General of Oklahoma, who approved them and forwarded them to the Adjutants General of Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona for concurrence.

Charles F Barrett

Charles F. Barrett

The Adjutants General of Colorado and New Mexico readily approved the findings of the board and recommended adoption of the first choice of a yellow Thunderbird on a red square background. The Adjutant General of Arizona, Major General Alexander M. Tuthill, himself a former commander of the 45th Division, returned the file to General Barrett with the comment: “Of the three designs submitted, I dislike the Thunderbird the least!”

After approval of the Commanding General, Eighth Corps Area, and the Chief, National Guard Bureau, the Thunderbird design was officially approved by the War Department in the Summer of 1939 and authorized for manufacture and wear.

Quartermaster Technical Drawing AG 421-7

Quartermaster Technical Drawing AG 421-7

The document approving this design, which was to be famous in WWII and Korea, stated that the Thunderbird was an American Indian symbol signifying “sacred bearer of happiness unlimited.” The new Thunderbird patches first appeared on the sleeves of the men of the 45th in the Fall of 1939.


“Thunderbird” Patch


Excerpt from 1939 Official National Guard Register

Excerpt from 1939 Official National Guard Register

The 158th Field Artillery is a subordinate unit of the 45th Fires Brigade and as such wears the brigade shoulder patch.


45th Fires Brigade Shoulder Sleeve Insignia


On a scarlet rectangle arced at top and bottom with a 1/8 inch yellow border 2 inches in width and 3 inches in height overall a black diagonal field piece from upper left to bottom right between a yellow thunderbird at top and a yellow arrowhead at bottom.


Scarlet and yellow are the colors traditionally used by Field Artillery units. The field piece denotes the Brigade’s affiliation and mission while the thunderbird and arrowhead suggest its heritage and history.


The shoulder sleeve insignia was originally approved for the 45th Field Artillery Brigade on 25 March 1997. It was redesignated effective 1 September 2008, for the 45th Fires Brigade. (TIOH Dwg. No. A-1-830)


45th Fires Brigade

 (View Actual 45th Field Artillery Brigade)

(View Actual 45th Fires Brigade)

Combat Service Identification Badge


A Combat Service Identification Badge (CSIB) is a metallic heraldic device worn on the right pocket of the new Army Service Uniform  that uniquely identifies combat service with major U.S. Army formations. A CSIB is a gold color metal and enamel device 2 inches in height consisting of a design similar to the shoulder sleeve insignia.


Combat Service Identification Badge


Organizational Colors


Organizational colors are symbolic of branch, history, and the spirit and tradition of the organization. Organizational colors are a solid color background with an embroidered American eagle displayed centered thereon. In its right talon the eagle holds an olive branch; in its left talon, a bundle of 13 arrows, all in proper colors. Its beak grasps a white scroll inscribed with the unit motto. Below the eagle is a white scroll inscribed with the designation of the organization. On the eagle’s breast is embroidered the shield of the coat of arms and the crest is above the eagle’s head. The design of the coat of arms is based on the history, honors, and mission of each particular regiment. The crest for color bearing organizations reflects the history and honors of each regiment or separate battalion.

The battalions of regiments are authorized duplicate organizational colors of the parent regiment with the battalion or squadron numbers in the upper fly end of the color.

RegimentalColors 158FA 1 Bn

1st Battalion 158th Field Artillery



Guidons are unit identification markers, authorized for Table of Organization & Equipment (TO&E) batteries of the battalion. Only one guidon is authorized for each battery. Guidons are accountable property and by expection of authority of the Secretary of the Army the designs of guidons will not be altered. A guidon is a swallow-tailed unit marker, 20-inch hoist by a 27-inch fly; the swallowtail end forked 10 inches. Fringe is not used on guidons. Guidons are made of bunting cloth or nylon. Design elements will appear on the opposite side as if printed through the material.  Letters and numerals will read from left to right on each side of the guidon. The letters and numbers on guidons are 3 1/2 inches high unless otherwise indicated. Guidons are the same color as the organizational color with the applicable branch insignia centered between the battalion number above and battery letter below the insignia. Guidons are carried by units participating in parades, reviews, and displayed in the field and forward-deployed locations.

158th Field Artillery Regimental Guidons


EXTRACT: Army Regulation 260-10 Change 1 dated 10 June 1933, Flags, Colors, Standards and Guidons; Description and use.

6. Guidons.

b. Description of guidons for various arms and services

(6) Field Artillery

(a) The color of the guidon will be scarlet. The devise will consist of two crossed field guns 10 inches in length. Above the devise will be the number of the regiment or the battalion number and letters indicating the character of the unit and below it the designation of the battery. The following designations will be used:

Regimental headquarters battery: HQ

Service battery: S

Observation battalions: Obsn

Battalion headquarters battery and combat train

Battalion headquarters battery: number of the battalion

Combat Train: number of the battalion followed by letters CT

Devise, numerals, and letters will be yellow.


158th Field Artillery Battalion Guidons

Silver Bands

Silver bands awarded to units are component parts of the guidon. Silver bands to indicate campaigns are placed on the flagstaff below the guidon.

1-158 Silver Bands on Guidon


In addition to the silver bands authorized by the War Department, guidon-bearing organizations may attach to staffs of guidons bands to represent any service credits earned in the service of the United States, or while a seperate unit not attached to a regiment or equivalent command or as a part of an organization from which it has since been seperated.