When were unit patches first authorized for wear?

Started by spacecommand, June 28, 2016, 04:39:05 PM

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Just curious, when I'm looking at old photos of CAP, I see people wearing various wing/national patches etc. 

But I was curious when unit patches were first authorized for wear.  Eg. I start noticing them when looking at photos of members in OD green then BDUs, but none in the older black and white photos of members in the days before fatigues.


Anecdotally, it was a few years after I joined in 1970 that Long Island Group (then NYW's Nassau County squadrons) made a big deal over having a group patch authorized, which had a tab for each squadron.  Also, I recall hearing that the region shoulder tab, "Northeast," was  a more-or-less recent innovation.

That's all I got.
Steve Sconfienza, Ph.D.
former captain


Great question.  My squadron patch was 1st "unveiled" in 1969, however I know unit patches were authorized before that date...


My 1st Sqdn their patch was unveiled on 1978. Unk when they were authorized.


I would guess they came about in the late 40s when CAP transferred from AAF to USAF control.
Michael P. McEleney
Lt Col CAP
MSG USA (Retired)
50 Year Member

Mitchell 1969

One thing to consider is that "fatigues" we're not always authorized or standardized. Plenty of pictures from the 1950's showing male cadets in blue jeans, white t-shirts and flight caps. Not much chance to wear a patch on those.

On another note - I've seen photos of cadets wearing squadron patches on the right shoulder of "505's" (silver tans) in the early 60's. Hawaii Wing had units doing that in 1970, for sure - they definitely stood out.
Bernard J. Wilson, Major, CAP

Mitchell 1969; Earhart 1971; Eaker 1973. Cadet Flying Encampment, License, 1970. IACE New Zealand 1971; IACE Korea 1973.

CAP has been bery, bery good to me.


Unit patches go back a long, long ways. The first mention that I've found for a local unit patch is from June 1942, which talks about a Walt Disney design for California Wing's Group 918. I suspect that it was to be worn on A-2 jackets, which was the rage at the time, altho I've never seen any photos. I have one example of the cloth patch, which may (or may not) have been made later.

So far, the earliest official authorization that I've found to wear patches is from the 1968 edition of CAPM 39-1. But as Mitchell 1969 mentioned above, I've also seen photos of local cadets wearing unit patches on the right shoulder in the late 1950s.
Charles Wiest