When the former Army officer created a morale patch poking fun at the most recent ruckus surrounding the Air Force’s plan to retire the A-10, he wasn’t sure how it would be received.
He sold out of the “Treason Bird” patches in two days — all 400 of them.
For those who haven’t followed the controversy, the stitching is in reference to alleged statements by a two-star general blasting officers as “treasonous” if they worked with Congress against the service’s own plans to phase out the A-10.
An Air Force spokeswoman called the comments “hyperbole.” But after an outcry from lawmakers, the Inspector General opened an investigation into Air Combat Command vice commander Maj. Gen. James Post’s reported words.
The patch’s maker — a retired Army officer who prefers to go by his online persona “Doctrine Man” — said he’d never considered creating a morale patch of any kind until the Post controversy flared.
“He just inflamed an entire community,” he told Air Force Times. “Why don’t we throw something out there that allows people to slap on a patch that conveys how you feel about a decision that’s really out of our control?”
The result was a 3-1/4-by-2-1/2-inch patch stitched with the words “Treason Bird” and a front view of the A-10.
“The average airman or soldier doesn’t have much of a voice,” he said. “When you put that patch on, it says something. It’s a little bit of fun, a way for people to let their feelings out.”
The retired Army officer said he and blogger Tony Carr of John Q. Public were amazed at the number of people who jumped into the conversation every time they wrote about the retirement of the A-10.
“You will not find someone on the ground who truly believes another airframe can do the same kinds of things with the same psychological effectiveness,” he said. “When you say you’re going to take away the airframe that makes everybody feel good, it doesn’t make anyone feel good.”
It was that sentiment he believes he tapped into when he put his custom patches up for sale.
“You never know for sure how well it’s going to do,” he said. When he sold out of all 400, minus a dozen or so he’s kept for himself, “it surprised me.”
So are people actually wearing them?
“I will guarantee you there are guys in the A-10 squadrons wearing them today,” he said. “I get notes back, ‘Do you have anymore? Because my chief wants one and I don’t have anymore.’ ”
Doctrine Man has no plans to produce additional patches despite those continued requests because “I don’t like to flood the market.”
He does, however, have a coin in the works he expects to be available next month. He said he’ll announce on his Facebook page when they are ready for sale.
“Save the A-10. Save the world,” the coin says on one side. On the other: “30mm of depleted uranium treason.”