A distinctive unit insignia, often referred to as a unit crest, is like a coat of arms. It is worn by Soldiers to promote esprit de corps and keep alive the historical traditions of a military unit.

When the U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine and the U.S. Army Veterinary Command combined in 2011, the newly created U.S. Army Public Health Command needed to develop its own DUI. The DUI will be worn by USAPHC Soldiers assigned to DOD installations and deployed locations around the globe.

"It is important for the Soldiers in this unit to have an insignia approved by the Institute of Heraldry to represent the history and mission of the command," explained USAPHC Command Sgt. Maj. Gerald C. Ecker.

Working with the heraldry office, Ecker and a team of USAPHC graphic artists and designers invited members of the new command to submit designs or suggestions for a new DUI. They received almost 45 distinct submissions.

"We consolidated similar ideas and continued to narrow the field until we had about six varying ideas, looking at the shape of the crest, colors and design elements," explained Mark Fischer, graphic designer in the Visual Information Division.

The field was then narrowed down to three designs that were submitted for civilian and military voting, and one winner was chosen.

"Once members of the command chose the final design, it was submitted for approval to the Institute of Heraldry," said Ecker. "We worked with them to adjust color and wording and to tighten up the design."

The complete project took more than 18 months from initial designs to final product.

"I'm convinced that this distinctive unit insignia represents all the disparate elements of our command," said Maj. Gen. Jimmie O. Keenan, USAPHC commander. "The DUI represents protection of the health of the Army family--it represents our support for America's Sons and Daughters."


The new USAPHC distinctive unit insignia was approved by the Institute of Heraldry on March 11. The design includes a shield representing protection of the health of Soldiers and retirees, their families, and Army civilians. The green in the shield reflects the color associated with the Medical Corps during the last of the 19th century, and the maroon represents the current color associated with Army medicine.

Within the shield is a triangle, indicating strength and stability and representing the "One Health" triad concept--the interrelated health of people, animals and environment. The spear tip within the triangle represents the organization's mission in peace and war, often preceding the first combat Soldier in a combat zone.

The serpents entwined around the spear represent the Rod of Asclepius, Greek god of medicine and healing. The rod is symbolic of the medical arts and humanitarianism. The cog wheel and torch are elements honoring the legacy of the predecessor organizations of the USAPHC. The torch also signifies the light of learning and education. Learning is the foundation of science, and education encompasses the USAPHC's responsibility to promote health and well-being. The motto, Una Sanitas, translates to "One Health."