How the Coalition Tea Logo was Inspired by the China Burma India Theater Insignia of World War II

How the Coalition Tea Logo was Inspired by the China Burma India Theater Insignia of World War II

We are often asked about our logo and its meaning. Its roots go all the back to World War II.  A shield-like emblem was used to distinguish U.S. Army soldiers from British soldiers when bar fighting became a bit of an issue in the China Burma India (CBI) Theater during WW2.

This large leather patch belonged to my Mom's Dad.

My grandfather served in Burma in World War II.  From what I've heard, there wasn't any bar fighting in the dark mountainous jungles of Burma. But the patch was still worn with pride throughout the theater.  The Kuomintang sun of China and the Star of India are represented on the emblem and patch.

In addition to my grandfather's service in the theater, the ties to tea are of great interest to me.  From the "Green Books", the US Army's official history of World War II, this passage regarding Special Operations in the CBI caught my attention:
"At a tea plantation near Nazira in the northeastern Indian province of Assam, the detachment established a base camp under the guise of a center for malarial research. Using the services of a former district forester in Burma, Detachment 101 recruiters found about fifty refugees and Burmese military personnel anxious for the pay or the opportunity to fight the conquerors of Burma. Divided into small groups to preserve security, the prospective agents endured lengthy conditioning hikes into the rugged Naga Hills along the India-Burma border. They also received instruction in demolitions, weapons, communications, junglecraft, ambushes, and unarmed combat. Information often flowed in the opposite direction as well, since so many of the methods and training manuals of the detachment were based on Europe and were inappropriate for Asia. Lacking language capabilities of its own, the detachment had to rely almost exclusively on recruits who had at least a rudimentary knowledge of English. The trainees also provided their instructors with much information on local traditions, customs, and dress. While training continued, technicians, using parts from standard signal equipment and the local market, improvised a portable, self-powered, waterproof radio set with a range of over 500 miles. Through great effort and considerable improvisation, the detachment was ready for operations by mid-November."

I'll link more information about the CBI Theater and the Insignia below for those interested in reading further.

All of these things inspired me to incorporate the theater insignia in our company logo.  We've kept the red white and blue to represent my service in the Army and the USA. The tea leaf represents our product and the Asian elephant represents family and the conflict between man and nature. The Coalition is made up of our customers, tea farms and my wife and I.

Links for further reading:
How the Emblem of the CBI Theater Came to Be
Variations of the CBI Patch
Special Operations in the China-Burma-India Theater
The Ledo Road - CBI Theater of WW2
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