Military Army Air Forces Patches

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Information extracted from the book
by Barry Jason Stein
Used by permission

All army air force insignia shown with dates after 26 July 1947 became units within the newly established United States Air Force.

AF GHQ patch

Worn from:  20 July 1937 - 19 March 1942.

Three impeller blades represent the three wings of the original Air Corps.  The blades in motion symbolize speed, mobility, and flight.  The headquarters was established on 1 March 1935 at Langley Field, Virginia.

USA Air Force patch
USA Air Force

Worn from:  19 March 1942 - Mid 1950's.

The ultramarine blue disk represents the sky.  The white star with red disk is the symbol of the army air forces and the golden wings up stretched form a "V" symbolized victory.

1st Air Force patch
1st Air Force

Worn from:  18 January 1944 - 23 June 1958.

This organization trained replacements for combat units and provided air defense for the eastern United States.  The design is the wing and star, symbol for the air force with an arabic number one representing the unit's designation.  Activated 9 April 1941, Mitchell Field, Long Island, New York.

Campaigns:  American theater.

2nd Air Force patch
2nd Air Force

Worn from:  16 December 1943 - 1 July 1948.

This organization served as both an air defense and a training organization.  The design is of a flying falcon on an ultramarine back- ground with the army air force star above.  The falcons, a symbol of controlled destruction, represents the fighter and bomber groups of the Second Air Force.  Activated 9 April 1941 at Fort George Wright, Washington. 

Campaigns:  American theater.

3rd Air Force patch
3rd Air Force

Worn from:  1 September 1943 - 1 November 1946.

This organization trained units, crews, and individuals for bombardment, fire, and reconnaissance operations.  It was involved in air-defense operations as well as activities involving antisubmarine warfare.  The outside border is golden yellow with the unit designation shown by an arabic number three projecting skyward as if framed by a search light beam.  The star in the center is symbolic of army air forces.  Activated 9 April 1941, Tampa, Florida.

Campaigns:  Antisubmarine, American theater.

4th Air Force patch
4th Air Force

Worn from:  1 September 1943 - 1 September 1960.

The Fourth Air Force provided air defense for the western United States until 1943.  Later, it was engaged primarily in training replacements for combat units.  The winged star symbolizes army air forces, while the four golden rays represent the unit's numerical designation.  Activated 9 April 1941, March Field, California.

Campaigns:  American theater.

5th Air Force patch
5th Air Force

Worn from:  25 March 1943 - Mid 1950's.

This air force lost most of its men and equipment in the defense of the Philippines after 7 December 1941.  In January 1942, reequipped, they were sent to Java to help delay Japanese advances in the Netherlands Indies.  The Fifth participated in operations that stopped the Japanese drive in Papua, recovered New Guinea, neutralized islands in the Bismarck Archipelago and the Netherlands east Indies, and liberated the Philippines.  From June 1950 to July 1953, it was engaged in the Korean war.  The five small stars form the Southern Cross constellation under which the unit fought in the Pacific theater.  The army air force star is encompassed in a comet taken from the unit's aircraft markings.  The three tails represent bombers, fighters, and troop carriers.  Activated 5 February 1942 in the Dutch East Indies.

Campaigns:  World War II (Philippine Islands; East Indies; Air Offensive, Japan; China Defensive; Papua, New Guinea; Northern Solomons; Bismarck Archipelago; Western Pacific; Leytel Luzon; Southern Philippines; China Offensive), Korean War (UN Defensive, UN Offensive, CCF Intervention, First UN Counter Offensive, CCF Spring Offensive, UN Summer-Fall Offensive, Second Korean Winter, Summer-Fall 1952, Third Korean Winter, Summer-Fall 1953).

Decorations:  Distinguished Unit Citations (Philippine Islands, 8 - 22 December 1941; Philippine Islands, 7 December 1941 - 10 May 1942; Papua, September 1942 - 23 January 1943), Philippine Presidential Unit Citation.

6th Air Force patch
6th Air Force

Worn from:  13 July 1943 - 1950's.

The Sixth Air Force served primarily in defense of the Panama Canal and also engaged in antisubmarine operations.  The galleon suggests exploration, discovery, the  Caribbean Sea, and the spirit of the air force.  The winged star is the symbol of army air forces.  The hexagonal shape indicates the unit's designation.  Activated 5 February 1942, Albrook Field, Balboa, Canal Zone.

Campaigns:  Antisubmarine, American theater.

7th Air Force patch
7th Air Force

Worn from:  21 May 1943 - 1 July 1957.

Originally constituted as Hawaiian Air Force on 19 October 1940, this unit provided air defense for the Hawaiian Islands and, after mid 1943, served in combat in the central and western Pacific areas.  The star on a blue disk represents the army air forces and the arabic numeral seven is the unit's designation.  Activated 5 February 1942, Hickam Field, Hawaii.

Campaigns:  World War II (Central Pacific:  Air Offensive, Japan; Eastern Mandates; Western Pacific; Ryukyus; China Offensive).

8th Air Force patch
8th Air Force

Worn from:  20 May 1943 - June 1955.

This unit was constituted as VIII Bomber Command on 19 January 1942.  The command conducted the heavy bombardment operations of Eighth Air Force Bomber Command until re-designated Eighth Air Force 22 February 1944.  Afterward, it engaged primarily in the bombardment of strategic targets in Europe, becoming the Allied air offensive's daylight precision bombing force.  After returning to the United States on 7 June 1946, it became part of the Strategic Air Command.  Among the commanders of this famous organization was Major General Ira C. Eaker and Lieutenant General James H. Doolittle.  The winged star represents the army air forces.  The arabic numeral eight indicates the unit's designation.  Activated 28 January 1942, Savannah, Georgia.

Campaigns:  World War II (Air Offensive, Europe; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe; Asiatic-Pacific theater).

9th Air Force patch
9th Air Force

Worn from:  16 September 1943 - August 1954.

The Ninth Air Force began operations on 12 November 1942 by participating in the Allied drive across Egypt and Libya, the Campaign in Tunisia, and the invasions of Sicily and Italy.  In addition, they helped prepare for the assault on Normandy and supported operations on the beach.  They took part in the drive that carried the Allies across France and culminated in victory over Germany in May 1945.  On an ultramarine blue background, the United States Army Air Force star sits above a winged arabic number nine, which is the unit's designation.  Activated 8 April 1942, New Orleans Army Air Base, Louisiana.

Campaigns:  World War II (American theater; Air Combat, European - African-Middle East theater; Egypt-Libya; Air Offensive, Europe; Tunisia; Sicily; Naples-Ardennes-Alsace; and Central Europe).

10th Air Force patch
10th Air Force

Worn from:  25 January 1944 - Mid 1950's.

< class="style7">The Tenth Air Force served in India, Burma, and China until March 1943 when the Fourteenth Air Force was activated in China.  Then the Tenth operated in India and Burma until it moved to China toward the end of the war.  On a sky-blue-disk, a winged shield, with the arabic number ten superimposed, and the star above are brought together to symbolize the army air forces.  Activated 12 February 1942, Patterson Field, Ohio.

Campaigns:  World War II (Burma, 1942; India-Burma; China Defensive; Central Burma; China Offensive).