Military Logos

They might not be “awesomely bad”, but here are two favorites from my collection of offbeat, weird, and wacky government t-shirts. The first comes courtesy of what is now the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, but used to be the National Imagery and Mapping Agency. At NIMA, they said, technology worked hard. It also, apparently, played hard, as well:

Not quite the usual warlike, patriotic eagle you usually see, is it? 🙂

Back before “9/11 changed everything”, back before the “long war” on terror, our government was engaged in another long war – the War on Drugs. While that war has pretty well been forgotten, and few remember what any of the acronyms stood for – like HIDTA – some of the special programs live on through ephemera like coffee mugs, patches, and, yes, t-shirts, all imprinted with the logos and mottoes of long-defunct counter-narcotic operations.

One such program was “Operation BAT”, or just “OpBAT” – BAT standing for “Bahamas Area Trafficking”. A joint interdiction effort of the United States Coast Guard, United States Army, U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, and Royal Bahamanian Navy, it was, by all accounts, a remarkably effective interdiction effort. Their motto was, quite aptly, “you can run, but you can’t hide”; gotta love FLIR, huh?

Below the DEA badge, the Army UH-60, and the Coast Guard HH-60 is the usual target of Op Bat – a cigarette boat, or “go fast” in smugglers’ jargon. It was interdiction efforts against boats like these that led to the Coast Guard arming a number of their helicopters for the first time, ever…

Published in: Geekiness, General, History | on December 11th, 2007| 8 Comments »

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  1. On 3/1/2008 at 5:00 pm Fred Repp Said:

    I have been looking for OpBAT patches for about 9 years. I have not been able to find anyone with any. If you have any, I am willing to pay well for them.

    Thanks and be safe.

    Fred Repp
    US Dept. of Justice

  2. On 6/15/2008 at 8:33 pm Breanna b Said:

    There is a Opbat Patch for sale at the Us coast exchange Clearwater 727-535-1437 ex 1710 $6.99

  3. On 7/19/2008 at 4:53 pm Clarence D Nelson Said:

    I was with the first crew of 20 SOS folks who went to The Bahamas for Operation Bat back in 1980. I was a multi-skilled maintenance guy. We took a small package of maintainers to care for the two birds. It was a memorable time to say the least. During the next rotation Capt Witbeck and others lost their lives. We flew UH-1N’s so this t-shirt looks odd to me. From my memory Operation BAT stood for something else. Op Bahamas, Antilles and Turks.

    CD Nelson
    USAF Retired

  4. On 7/19/2008 at 6:52 pm Nemo Said:

    Yeah, it was originally “Bahamas, Antilles, and Turks”, but by the mid-1990s the whole operation had been revamped quite a bit – then again just a couple years ago. At various points, “Operation Bat” has involved the Army, Air Force, Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, (UK) Royal Navy, and (Dutch) Royal Navy… at a minimum (not to mention Army and Air Force Reserves). I seem to recall the Canadian Navy was involved for a year or two, but could be wrong. Along the way, the focus has shifted and changed – as have the tactics. (I mean, could you have predicted armed USCG helos, back in 1980?)

  5. On 11/30/2008 at 12:58 am Fred Repp Said:

    I am looking to purchase a Op BAT patch. I have the one that the USCG made. There are 4 other designs.

  6. On 2/21/2009 at 5:04 pm Steve Said:

    OPBAT Operation Bahamas And Turks and Caicos. I did the mission 9 months between 2004 and 2005.

  7. On 4/3/2009 at 7:12 pm Fred Repp Said:

    I am offering a $50 reward for the old Op BAT patch that is shield shaped with a Bat on it.
    I will pay well for other old designs.

    US DOJ

  8. On 3/2/2010 at 8:13 pm Rich Said:

    Hello, I participated in operation BAT in 1990 with the 24th inf Div. Then we had to pull out for Iraq. I am currently having a patch reproduced. It’s a round patch with a bat holding a lightning bolt in his hand. The moon behind him. It’s says DEA above him, and OpBat below him. It’s a little pricey for one. So I am having them make five for me. It’s almost the same price for one. I figure I would just put them up on eBay for sale. They are going to cost me about $22 a piece. So I would just sell them for what I paid for them + a little shipping. If someone is still interested in getting one, email and I’ll let you know when I receive them. Probably two weeks from today. Rich C