A shoulder sleeve insignia, (often abbreviated SSI) is an embroidered ID patch used by major formations of the ​United States Army. Each formation has a unique formation patch, and the US Army is unique among the US armed services in that all soldiers are required to wear the patch of their headquarters as part of their military uniforms.

Shoulder sleeve insignia receive their name from the fact that they are most commonly worn on the upper left shoulders of all US Army uniforms, though they can be placed on other locations, notably a combat helmet. Shoulder sleeve insignia worn on the upper right shoulders on Army uniforms denote former wartime service. These "combat patches" will not be worn on the new Army service uniform. Instead a 2 inch metal replica will be worn on the right breast pocket and is officially known as the Combat Service Identification Badge.

In the pilot Bilko audition show the ID patch was clearly a fictionalised emblem that consisted of a circle inside a diamond shaped design (see below)

When the Bilko show eventually reappeared, after being commissioned into a fully blown series, the ID was completely changed. We now had the insignia of the 69th Infantry on the shoulders of all the incumbents at Fort Baxter.
The ​​​69th Infantry Division was a formation of the United States Army formed during World War II. The shoulder sleeve insignia of the division was designed by its then commander Maj. Gen. Charles L. Bolte with the red, white and blue being the colours of the United States forming a "6" and a "9"

During World War II, the 69th Infantry Division arrived in England, 12 December 1944, where it continued its training. It landed in Le Havre, France, 24 January 1945, and moved to Belgium to relieve the 99th Division, 12 February, and hold defensive positions in the Siegfried Line. The Division went over to the attack, 27 February, capturing the high ridge east of Prether to facilitate use of the Hellenthal-Hollerath highway. In a rapid advance to the east, the 69th took Schmidtheim and Dahlem, 7 March. The period from 9 to 21 March was spent in mopping up activities and training. The Division resumed its forward movement to the west bank of the Rhine, crossing the river and capturing the fortress of Ehrenbreitstein, 27 March. It relieved the 80th Division in Kassel, 5 April, seized Hannoversch Münden on the 8th and Weissenfels on the 14th against sharp opposition, and captured Leipzig, 19 April, following a fierce struggle within the city. Eilenburg fell, 23 April, and the east bank of the Mulde River was secured. Two days later, Division patrols in the area between the Elbe and the Mulde Rivers contacted elements of the Soviet 5th Guards Army in the vicinity of Riesa and again at Torgau on Elbe Day. Until VE-day, the 69th patrolled and policed its area. Occupation duties were given to the Division until it left for home and inactivation 7 September.

The division became inactivate on 16 September 1945.

In 1954 the 69th Division was recreated as a training division at Fort Dix, New Jersey replacing the 9th Infantry Division that was sent to Europe. The 69th Division was disbanded in March 1956.

Later a new Sergeant Bilko movie was made. Major stars were lined up for key parts, no expense was spared with the casting. Funnyman Steve Martin was the new Ernie and comic actor, Dan Aykroyd came in for the role of Colonel Hall.

Look at the picture below and you can clearly see the ID patch. Yet this movie was made in 1996. Mmmmmm, that would mean Dan Aykroyd's character had been in the United States Army for well over 50 years, and yet he doesn't look a day over 45!

  1. Dan!
I wonder if the use of the ​​69th Infantry Division patch was simply a doff of the hat to the old classic Bilko show -- I really do hope it was.