Founded in 1996, USAFpatches.com is dedicated to preserving the history of the US Air Force through its emblems. The USAF defines a patch as “a cloth depiction of an emblem that can be affixed to a uniform”. United States military aviation units have used emblems since World War I to build esprit de corps. First appearing primarily on aircraft, emblems were later made into cloth or leather versions and affixed to uniforms. Some of the patches worn by Airman today are the same designs which adorned World War I aircraft. Since 1923, there have been regulations in place official approval of emblems.
The Air Force Historical Research Agency (AFHRA), the organization charged with maintaining USAF heraldry, currently has 14,000+ approved emblems on file. Many of these emblems have been made into patches that are subsequently displayed on uniforms, engine covers, helmet bags and many other places. In addition to patches derived from officially approved emblems, there are tens of thousands of unofficial morale patches. These morale patches, often humorous and sometimes risqué, provide a snapshot of life in the US Air Force and all of its joys and pains. Collectively, these patches are unique pieces of history that represent the people, organizations and equipment that are the United States Air Force.