GALLERY PATCHES ARE NOT FOR SALE, TRADE OR DONATION!
USAFpatches.com receive numerous requests from the general public, collectors, veterans their family members asking to purchase, trade or donation of patches pictured in the gallery. Many of the patches pictured are extremely difficult to obtain and if the numerous requests were honored, there would be no collection.
USAFpatches.com has a selection of patches available for sale or trade in the Shop section of this website. The proceeds from items purchased in the Shop assist in keeping this website running. If the Shop does not have what you are looking for, please try one of the vendors under the Where to Buy Patches page.
The Gallery currently features over 30,000 patches primarily representing U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force organizations, weapon systems, and installations dating back to its origins in 1914. While the Gallery is one of the most comprehensive compilations of U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force patches available, it is by no means complete. The patches pictured are only a small percentage of the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force patches that exist.
The Gallery features embroidered, leather, PVC and silk-screened patches. The Gallery does not include stickers/zaps, artwork, embroidered rank, name tags, or embroidered occupational, specialty or aeronautical badges. Gallery images come from the Webmaster’s or visitor’s personal collections.
Error or Missing Information
Despite the best efforts to ensure accuracy, there will be errors or gaps in the information presented in the gallery. If you find an error please contact the Webmaster or for registered Gallery members, leave a comment. Please provide a detailed description of the error, the suggested correction and your source for the correction. Please be patient if the correction does not appear quickly. Corrections will be posted after review and verification by the Webmaster which may take some time.
The Gallery is broken up into three broad categories: “US Air Force“, “US Space Force” and “Combined/Joint Organizations.” There is also fourth category, “Special Galleries“, which is further described below.
US Air Force Patches
Patches in the “US Air Force” category are arranged into four primary sub-categories:
- Numbered Organizations. Patches from USAF organizations that begin with the numbers 1-9999.
- Named Organizations. Patches from USAF organizations that begin with the letters A-Z.
- Class Patches. Patches representing an a group of students who attended a USAF training course in the same timeframe.
- Miscellaneous Patches. Patches that do not fall into the other three sub-categories including, but is not limited to, weapon system patches, generic competition patches and generic exercise patches.
US Space Force Patches
US Space Force patches are currently limited to one category: “US Space Force Organizations“. This includes numbers and named organizations.
Since there are substantial numbers of US Air Force and US Space Force personnel on assignment or deployed with joint or coalition organizations, patches from these units are also pictured in the Gallery. This includes, but is not limited to, organizations such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), combatant commands and national intelligence organizations.
In addition to the three other categories, there is also a special gallery section that has patches grouped by specific types of patches. This facilitates easy reference for collectors who may specialize in a particular subset of patches. The Webmaster is always willing to add additional special galleries — please contact him with your ideas.
Fake, Reproduction and Error Patches
Fake, reproductions and error patches are becoming increasingly problematic for collectors. In order to help collectors identify these patches, they are displayed in the Gallery and marked as such. Because of the sheer number of patches out there, it is extremely likely that other fake, reproduction or error patches are pictured in the Gallery but not correctly labeled. If you spot any patches in the Gallery that are fakes, reproductions or error patches, please contact the Webmaster. Please provide any corroborating information whenever possible.
Explanation of Fields Used in the Gallery
The Gallery uses specific fields to allow users to easily search for patches. Each field uses a specific, standardized format to ensure consistency and facilitate searching. Clicking on a patch thumbnail image provides access to additional information. The specific fields and the formats used are provided below. Because of limitations with the software, some liberties must be taken in order to display the information in a usable format. These specific liberties are also explained below.
Patches that are associated with a specific unit are listed by the full organizational designation as indicated in an organization’s official lineage and honors history. Acronyms and abbreviations are generally spelled out. Due to limitations with the software, there are some exceptions to this:
- Organizational Designations Starting with “United States Air Force” or “US Air Force”. To simplify things organizational designations starting with “United States Air Force” or “US Air Force” are abbreviated to “USAF”.
- Numbered Air Forces. Numbered air forces, which officially have the numeric portion of the designation spelled out, are listed using an Arabic numeral (e.g. – “12th Air Force” versus “Twelfth Air Force”) followed by the spelled out designation in brackets (e.g. – “12th Air Force [Twelfth Air Force]”). This is in order for the gallery to sort the patch correctly and to allow for search by either designation.
- USAF Academy Cadet Squadrons. While USAF Academy Cadet Squadrons are typical referred to as “Cadet Squadron” followed by the number (e.g. -“Cadet Squadron 1”), the gallery will list them by number then “Cadet Squadron with the other designation in brackets (e.g. – “1st Cadet Squadron [Cadet Squadron 1]”) . This is in order for the gallery to sort the patch correctly and to allow for search by either designation.
- Detachments and Operating Locations. Detachments and operating locations are listed with their parent organization first instead of the official format which specifies the detachment/operating location designation first followed by the parent organization (e.g. — “17th Test Squadron Detachment 1” versus the official designation “Detachment 1, 17th Test Squadron”). This allows the detachment/operating locations to be listed with their parent organization rather than all appearing in the “D” or “O” sections.
- Headquarters. Organizational designations that begin with “Headquarters” are listed with “Headquarters” at the end of the designation in the gallery (e.g. – “Connecticut Air National Guard, Headquarters” versus “Headquarters, Connecticut Air National Guard”). This prevents a large number of patches appearing under the “H” section and in places these patches in a more logical section.
- Non-Units. Non-units, i.e. – those organizations that do not bear a lineage, are listed under the lineage-bearing organization they fall under. For example, directorates which are generally non-units are listed as such: “Air Force Space Command Headquarters; Directorate of Operations.”
- Aircraft Maintenance Unit (AMU). Although they are no lineage bearing organizations, Aircraft Maintenance Units are listed independently from their lineage-bearing organization. Depending on the time period, AMUs fall under Aircraft Generation Squadrons, Aircraft Maintenance Squadrons or an operational flying Squadron.
- Units with Other Commonly Used Names. Used which are commonly known by another name (e.g. – the “USAF Air Demonstration Squadron” is known commonly as the “Thunderbirds”) will have that alternative name listed in brackets after the official designation (e.g. – “USAF Air Demonstration Squadron [USAF Thunderbirds]”.
A semicolon (;) is used in two ways. First, separate an official unit designation from a non-lineage bearing subordinate element of that unit. For example, “1st Fighter Squadron; B Flight” or “Air Force Space Command Headquarters; Directorate of Operations.” Second, it is used to delineate morale patches. This is done to ensure the organization’s officially approved/recognized patch is listed first, followed by the morale patches. The following format is used:
(Official Unit Designation); (Qualifier)
Some of the qualifiers used include but are not limited to:
- Aircraft/Weapons System Type Designation
- Operation/Competition/Exercise Name
- Subsections/Offices in that Organization
Class patches are listed according to their class number followed by the base and the name of the training course. For classes with the year as part of the class number, the year is listed in full (i.e. – four digits vice two) (e.g. – “Class 1992-01 Reese AFB Undergraduate Pilot Training”). This allows the software to display the patches in chronological order.
For generic weapons system patches, such as aircraft, satellites and missile patches, the official Department of Defense (DOD) designation to include the official nickname is used in this field.
The description field provides specific information about the patch, that may include (but is not limited to):
- Official patch (emblem) description
- Where and when obtained
- Patch manufacturer
- Name of patch designer
- Time period for the specific patch variation
- Translation of non-English mottoes
- Designation of aircraft pictured if not in the Unit/Other Designation
- Spelled out acronyms and abbreviations
For non-English mottoes official translations (i.e. – as listed on the organizations’ official lineage and honors or emblem description statement) are indicated by “Official Translation:”. If an official translation is unknown or does not exists, it is listed as just “Translation:”.
This field allows individuals to search for specific words or phrases, greatly aiding in the identification and search for various patches. This is a word for word, character for character transcription of everything appearing on the patch from top to bottom including capitalization and punctuation. Spelled-out abbreviations or acronyms and translations of non-English words or phrases used on a patch are provided in the “Description” field. In the case an inscription is written in other than English characters, the language is indicated in brackets (e.g. — “[Chinese]”). When known, a translation is provided in the description section.
Keywords are reserved for use by the Webmaster to group patches for display in Special Galleries.
This section is based on the facility where the specific patch was actually used/worn. Since units move over time, a particular variation may have been used in multiple locations and as such a patch may have more than one base listed. If this information is unknown or if the patch is not associated with a specific installation, the field is left blank.
For this section, the facility’s full official Department of Defense (DOD) designation is used. This information is derived from an organization’s official lineage and honors statement or the annual DOD Base Structure Reports. In the case of facilities located at a civilian airport, the name of the nearest city is listed if the location is not part of the installation designation, e.g. — “Truax Field, Madison, Wisconsin”. In cases where the name of a facility has changed while the patch variation was in use, the old designation and new designations are listed, e.g. — “Blytheville (later Eaker) AFB, Arkansas”.
Some installations are more widely known by unofficial designations. This is particularly the case for Air National Guard installations that have locally or state approved designations that are not federally recognized. For these, the other designation may appear in parentheses, e.g. — “Fort Smith Regional Airport (Ebbing ANGB), Arkansas or Eglin Air Force Auxiliary Field #9 (Hurlburt Field), Florida”.
Standard abbreviations below are used as appropriate to indicate the type of facility. All other terms not listed are spelled out:
- AB = Air Base
- AS = Air Station
- AFB = Air Force Base
- AFS = Air Force Station
- ANGB = Air National Guard Base
- ANGS = Air National Guard Station
- ARB = Air Reserve Base
- ARS = Air Reserve Station
- JB = Joint Base
- NAS = Naval Air Station
- SFB = Space Force Base
- SFS = Space Force Station
Since there are variations in the how states or countries are abbreviated, they are spelled out to avoid confusion.