Object of the Day


The front of this patch reads “ARC B CANAL ZONE.” Unfortunately, its record has no further information, so please help us learn more about this object.2013.23.19-22


If you can, please share with us in the comments section!



  • Lesley Hendricks

    The American Red Cross “B” Badge. After passing a swimming test, a B Badge was awarded. This meant that you could get in the swimming pool without a parent. Two other badges, the “I” badge and the “S” badge came after the “B” badge. After getting the “S” badge came the Lifesaving badges.

  • carolyn rowley dillon

    To a kid in the Zone getting a “B” badge was rite of passage. No longer did they have get mom or dad to trudge with them to the pool – they had been set free. A kid with a “B” badge could change into a bathing suit after school or on a weekend and go swimming whenever they wanted (with parents’ permission of course.) We sewed our badges on our suits and displayed to the world our swimming prowess. In a land of perpetual summer the pools were a constant source of recreation and entertainment. Later badges were also worn on swim suits but it was that very first badge – the “B” badge – that marked the difference between “child” and “swimmer.”

  • Robert Dixon Gordon

    Do you have the US army Garrison patch? currently used at fort Clayton back in the former canal zone, A blue patch with a white color ship and a red cross in the middle of the patch. Said patch was used here until the soldiers left. If I can find one, I will put it on display. Robert Dixon. Old Zonian.

    • The Color of Lila

      Hi Robert, I have the USARSO patch.

      I was a kid with a “B badge” on Fort Clayton back in the 70s and later was assigned to Panama as an Army officer. It was sort of like going home. My B badge is long gone but I kept patches from all my units so – still have that one.

      • Robert Dixon Gordon

        Sounds great. I just saw your remarks and I will mention that the only patch I have right now, is the patch used by the Canal protection division, a brown & orange color patch used on the upper left shoulder of our uniform prior to the turn over of the Panama canal. I have a picture that I took with Major General Parfitt, back in 1979, has he was the last Canal zone governor, at the former Balboa theater, as he presented me with the employee of that year. In 1999 I retired has a Security officer, sector supervisor, range master in 1994, and also received a Special act award during Operation just cause on December 1989, from the Canal protection Division. Could you help out by posting the USARSO patch ? Thank you.

  • John Schmidt ( BHS 50 )

    You are right – American Red Cross swimming badges. That is what Dabby Dixon has on his sweatshirt in photo with Mr Greer

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