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The DUI of the 42nd Field Artillery Brigade (pictured) included an Oozlefinch,[1] as did the patch of the Railway Artillery Reserve.[2] The French motto "Nous Soutiendrons" means "We Shall Serve"
the crest of the 53rd Coast Artillery is the symbol of the Railway artillery Reserve
The Oozlefinch (unofficial) coat of arms from a 1957 military ceremony pamphlet. The Latin motto "Quid ad sceleratorum curamus" translates roughly as "What the hell do we care?"

Oozlefinch is the unofficial historic mascot of the Air Defense Artillery – and formerly of the U.S. Army Coast Artillery Corps. Oozlefinch is portrayed as a featherless bird that flies backwards (at supersonic speeds)[3] and carries weapons of the Air Defense and Coastal Artillery, most often a Nike-Hercules Missile. Oozlefinch has been portrayed in many different forms and artistic interpretations through its history.[4] Oozle's motto is "If it flies, it dies. Blazing skies." reinforcing the purpose of the Air Defense Artillery.


There are many legends about the origins of the oozlefinch. Most seem to agree that the legend of this lovable mascot began in 1905 at Ft. Monroe, Virginia then home of the Coastal Artillery Corps. A Captain H. M. Merriam, no doubt under the effects of alcohol, first reported seeing a large-eyed, flight-challenged bird outside the officer's club. Soon more people would report seeing this bird and soon even sketches were made. Eventually the legend of this bird would become so great that even a statue was erected at the club in its honor.

The Oozlefinch was used on the patch of Railway Artillery Reserve during World War I; In some descriptions, this bird is instead a pelican.[2] The DUI of the 42nd Field Artillery Brigade later included Oozlefinch, describing the insignia thus: "On a wreath of the colors (Or and Gules) an oozlefinch (from the shoulder sleeve insignia worn by the Railway Artillery Reserve in France) Vert, armed, capped and collared on the legs".[1]


The Oozlefinch's eyes are very large, allowing it to see very distant and very clearly in the sky, symbolizing the great distance of protection and detection of the Air Defense Artillery, especially the more modern PATRIOT missile defense system and its Phased-Array Radar. Its vision is unobstructed by eyelids or eyebrows, and the eyes are said to be able to turn 180 degrees so the Oozlefinch can look inward, symbolizing the need of a good leader for inward reflection.[citation needed]

The Oozlefinch carried a missile, usually a Nike-Hercules missile, as it flew. The missile was pointed to the bird's rear and thus forward as the bird flew backwards. In other depictions, the Oozlefinch carried no missile but would be adorned with a military helmet and grasp enemy (usually Soviet) aircraft.[5]


The heraldic tradition of the Oozlefinch includes a coat of arms, the symbology of which is:[6][7]

Matched Pair of Oozlefinches discovered in the wild ca. 1951 by COL John R. M. Covert near Coast Artillery HQ, Fortress Monroe, VA

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "The Institute of Heraldry". TIOH.hqda.pentagon.mil. Retrieved 2015-06-14. 
  2. ^ a b "WWI Shoulder Patches / Sleeve Insignia". Freepages.military.rootsweb.com. Retrieved 2013-07-16. 
  3. ^ "Nike Historical Society, The Oozlefinch". Nikemissile.org. Retrieved 2013-07-16. 
  4. ^ "Buster's Battery Oozlefinch illustrations". Angelfire.com. Retrieved 2013-07-16. 
  5. ^ "Oozlefinch images at Google Images (various references listed by Google)". Images.google.com. Retrieved 2013-07-16. 
  6. ^ "Ed Thelen's Nike Missile Web Site History of the Oozlefinch". Ed-thelen.org. 1957-07-01. Retrieved 2013-07-16. 
  7. ^ "Oozlefinch history from the 2-71 ADA in Taiwan". 2-71adataiwan.com. Retrieved 2013-07-16. 

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