Guide to USAR Symbols

Captain John Parker, a soldier, farmer and woodworker was born on 13 July 1729. According to family legend, he had an extensive military background as a veteran of the French and Indian War, served in famed Rogers Rangers and participated in the capture of Louisburg in 1758 and Quebec in 1759. Captain Parker is famous for commanding the Lexington Militia at the opening shots of the American Revolution at the Battle of Lexington on 19 April 1775. Parker is purported to have said:

“Stand your ground, do not fire unless fired upon, but, if they mean to have a war, let it begin here.”

Parker survived the encounter on Lexington Green to record his testimony about the battle. Although terminally ill with tuberculosis, he continued his military service during the Siege of Boston until he died on 17 September 1775 at the age of forty-six. Today, Parker symbolizes the fortitude of the citizen soldier and appears on the logo of the United States Army Reserve.

For more information concerning U.S. heraldic entitlements, check out The Institute of Heraldry

To learn more about the history of the Army Reserve check out our 
Publications, or for a quick history..

The emblem was approved for use as a plaque in 1972 and is used as an unofficial identification device of the United States Army Reserve. The Army originally authorized this minuteman symbol in 1960 to represent the Chief, Army Reserve (CAR) on the CAR’s positional flag. The 1983 version of the CAR positional flag is posted,right.

The minuteman has traditionally been used to represent the citizen Soldier:

The Wreath signifies achievement and accomplishment. Gold is symbolic of honor and excellence. Dark Blue signifies loyalty

The United States Army Reserve Command (USARC) was created in October 1990. This was to provide for more centralized management of the Army Reserve. From this point, the Army Reserve concept of a “Operational Reserve” would evolve over the next twenty years.

USARC Shoulder Sleeve Insignia
Approved 24 June 1991

Symbolism: The two eagles’ heads are in reference to the unit’s motto, “Twice the Citizen”, and their Reserve mission.

The Eagle faces in both directions, denoting vigilance and a wide-ranging scope of ability and expertise. Red, White, and Blue are the colors of the United States. Gold represents excellence.

USARC Distinctive Unit Insignia
Approved 7 march 1991

Symbolism: Blue, Scarlet, with Silver (white), represent the United States. Red also stands for courage and sacrifice.

The Two Sabres denote the dual responsibilities of citizenship and military service.

The Tree represents the pursuit and preservation of peace through strength, endurance, and growth.

The Tree on the Shield represent the integration of peaceful with soldierly vocations.

The nature of these two-fold duties is further symbolized by the division and counterchange of the shield, which also recalls the motto of the Command. 

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Captain John Parker

Above: Deposition of Captain John Parker dated 25 April 1775, concerning the Battle at Lexington, (ARC Identifier: 595246) Massachusetts State Papers, 1775-1787; Records of the Continental and Confederation Congresses and the Constitutional Convention, 1765-1821; Record Group 360; National Archives