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Air Force Rank Insignia


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Can anyone identify this insignia? I knew it's not USAF and thought it may have been South Vietnam, South Korea or the Phillipines but it seems I'm wrong on all three.


Edited by milhistry
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Those are US Air Force and VERY VERY VERY rare. They were around for a very short amount of time.

Check out this article published by the US Air Force:


"Online purchase turns into historical find(Posted 6/17/2005)

by Airman 1st Class Dilia DeGrego

305th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs office

6/17/2005 - MCGUIRE AIR FORCE BASE, N.J. (AFPN) -- The online purchase of one person here will soon be displayed in an Air Force historical museum.

Jeffery Hughes, a 305th Mission Support Squadron human resource assistant, recently donated a rare set of 1955 Airman test stripes to the Air Mobility Command Museum at Dover Air Force Base, Del.

Mr. Hughes found the complete set while looking through an online auction site’s eBay military memorabilia section. He said he was not looking for anything in particular when he came across the odd looking stripes being sold from an estate sale.

Mr. Hughes bought the stripes for less than $20 and kept them until recently when he spoke with Gary Boyd, 305th Air Mobility Wing historian here.

"I wasn't sure how interesting or important they would be to anyone other than me," Mr. Hughes said. "I did know they were of some historic value, but I had never seen them, nor had anyone from the retiree activities office, so I asked Gary Boyd if he had ever seen them before."

Although Mr. Boyd said he had not heard of them, he was very interested in the stripes.

"These stripes may be the most collectible thing in all Air Force enlisted history," the historian said. "This complete set of horizontal Airmen's stripes were supposed to all been destroyed in 1956."

The historian said he had never seen a complete set before Mr. Hughes came across his. Mr. Hughes asked him to evaluate the strange stripes he had purchased.

"I had read about the horizontal stripe idea, but had no idea it had advanced as far as it did,” he said. "After evaluating Mr. Hughes' items, I discovered that he must have had a rare set of unissued E-2, E-3 and E-4 stripes. I asked experts, and they were unfamiliar with them. I concluded they were the circa 1952 to 1956 test stripes, and later discovered that some of these have made their way to flea markets in the Midwest."

The issue of these horizontal stripes revolved around the time the Air Force was trying to create its own unique traditions and uniforms after its break from the Army in 1947, Mr. Boyd said.

"We began issuing our own blue uniforms as stocks of the Army Air Forces clothing was depleted, and began to use our own chevrons," he said. "As part of the yearly uniform appraisal, a suggestion to differentiate the chevrons of Airmen from (noncommissioned officers) was tendered."

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg approved the idea in 1952 with the provision that the upturned Airmen's chevron's be issued and sold until they had been exhausted, the historian said.

In 1952, General Vandenberg approved a new chevron for airmen first, second and third classes. The purpose of this change was to increase the prestige of the staff, technical and master sergeant chevrons. The stripes were to change from the angled design to horizontal. However, because of the supply of chevrons on hand, action was delayed until supply had been depleted, which happened in March 1956.

The decision to issue horizontal stripes was resubmitted to Gen. Nathan F. Twining, who had become the new Air Force chief of staff. The general replied in a short informal memo stating "No change to be made in insignia."

"The issue would have died altogether, as all the existing stock and remaining orders were destroyed or discarded," Mr. Boyd said. "Some folks in clothing issue squirreled away a few sets of these, and they occasionally make their way onto the collector's market."

After discovering their historical value, Mr. Hughes said he thought it would be best to share his finding with others and donated them to the museum.

"The stripes show one of the different transitions our Air Force has gone through since inception," he said. "I’m pleasantly surprised something that I just thought a curiosity will be shared with all who visit the AMC Museum."

Aside from this rare set of stripes, Mr. Hughes has also bought an airman second class stripe for $3 from a seller in Ohio and a few other historical items currently displayed by the historians office in the 305th AMW headquarters building".

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