A silver color metal and enamel device 1 3/8 inches (3.49 cm) overall in height consisting of a torii, the crossbar divided by a narrow silver metal horizontal line into two equal parts, the upper maroon and the lower scarlet and with a scarlet line extending down each support. Centered above the crossbar and attached to it, a maroon vertical bar, and centered and attached below, a scarlet vertical bar divided vertically and equally by a narrow silver metal line which conjoins with a narrow silver metal line dividing the torii crossbar horizontally, the crossbar and the vertical bar being of equal width and length. Between the supports of the torii and below and partially behind the scarlet portion of the vertical bar, a scarlet semi-globe, the vertical bar extending into it. Above the maroon portions of the horizontal and vertical bars and issuing from them five simulated silver metal rays, the torii supports and with maroon areas separating it from outer sides of torii supports and bearing the inscription “SERVICE – RESEARCH” in maroon letters.
The delineation of the device as a whole is suggestive of the Orient and the Far East, the torii gate in particular alluding to Japan. The colors maroon and silver (white) are those used by the Army Medical Service, the color scarlet being in reference to the supply of “whole blood” in Korea and Vietnam and the general laboratory support there and in the Western Pacific. The “rays” at the top of the device allude to research and discovery of new techniques (the maroon “T”) all under the authority, direction and control of the Army Medical Service of which the 406th Medical Laboratory is a vital part, five rays being used to allude to the approximate number of quarts of blood which flow endlessly through the body. The four “arms” of the crossed horizontal and vertical bars refer to the A, B, AB and O types of blood, the divided scarlet “T” alluding to the taking and transfusion of blood, the semi-globe to the storage of blood (blood bank) and the scarlet portions of the design taken together as a whole to the circulation of blood. The motto reflects the mission of the unit.
The distinctive unit insignia was approved on 22 June 1966.