Many units of the United States Armed Forces have distinctive mottoes. Such mottoes are used in order to "reflect and reinforce" each unit's values and traditions. Mottoes are used by both military branches and smaller units. While some mottoes are official, others are unofficial.: 68–69 Some appear on unit patches, such as the U.S. Army's distinctive unit insignia.
The use of mottoes is as old as the U.S. military itself. A general order issued by George Washington on February 20, 1776, when he was commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, directed that "it is necessary that every Regiment should be furnished with Colours" and the "Number of the Regiment is to be mark'd on the Colours, and such a Motto, as the Colonel may choose, in fixing upon which, the General advises a Consultation amongst them.": 341
To Preserve and Protect" is the motto of the School of Military Packaging Technology at Aberdeen Proving Ground -- one that its dean, Larry J. Franks, said is taken very seriously because the lives of soldiers, sailors and airmen depend on the school's success.