The FLISH is an unofficial pin that cryptologic direct support (DIRSUP) officers and enlisted deployers historically wore on their belt buckles or command ball caps signifying they deploy on submarines, aircraft or surface ships.
Uniquely Naval Security Group (NSG), the designer took specific features from the submarine warfare pin, aircrew wings pin and the surface warfare pin and combined them into one pin. The FLISH can also be found on several NSG command plaques associated with DIRSUP.
But what is the origin of the pin that so many DIRSUPers proudly displayed over the years?
According to Guy Thomas CDR (Ret.), he first saw the pin in 1970 or 1971 after returning from DIRSUP operations off Vietnam. It was on a belt buckle worn by a newly arrived LT.
At that time, Thomas was told the meaning of the pin and that it came from NSGD Yokosuka, where it had originally been designed for the Technical Guidance Unit (TGU) riders, but the DIRSUP deployers at NSGA Kami Seya adopted it with the full support of their CO, CAPT (later RADM) Pat March.
When Thomas arrived at NSGA Misawa in January, 1972 the pin was everywhere and he asked who came up with the design. He was told it was a CTTSN Parker at NSGD Yokosuka in 1969.
Can anyone confirm this?
31 December 2021 at 00:22
Can’t confirm anything but did spot a couple of sites with old TGU flish patches:
(Yokosuka, dated 1970, and a “Ride Mother Ride”)
(down near the bottom — Sasebo, undated but looks like around the same era)
31 December 2021 at 00:38
A couple of other related ones:
(author states that they got the two patches that I linked in my previous post from the same veteran with a bunch of others from Japan)
(DIRSUP NSGD Naples patch, undated, also uses the “RMR” but has a different take on the flish — an eagle holding a sub and a ship in its feet)
31 December 2021 at 04:36
Thank you for the comment and links.
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6 February 2022 at 12:06
“Ride, Mother, Ride”
Never saw that before, but it certainly fits.
I am a bit disappointed that no one stationed in KamiSeya, Yokosuka or Misawa in the early 1970s did not chime it with a solid confirmation of my story, or a factual rebuttal.
I remain curious.
I know many guys who were very proud to wear it.
I certainly was. Still am!