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American Military Patches, Other Insignia and Decorations of World War Two by Dr. Howard G. Lanham c.2002

Variations of Shoulder Sleeve Insignia

Second World War

Eighth Air Force

The 8th Air Force shoulder sleeve insignia is presented as a study in variations that exist for a given shoulder sleeve insignia. I do not claim that I show all existing variations. The United States Army Air 8th Air Force was established on January 28, 1942 with a headquarters originally in Savannah, Georgia. By February elements were in England and by August the first missions were flown against occupied France. The 8th was the major strategic bomber force directed against Germany and operating from England during the war.

The shoulder sleeve insignia of the Eight Air Force was approved May 20, 1943.

Machine Embroidered U.S. Made

1 2 3
Highly Scalopped Wing Tips Blunt Wing Tips Single open scalop at bottom (1)

English Made

1  2
Machine Embroidered
Smaller Wings than U.S. made ones
(Most Common English Type)
Embroidered in Silk Tread
 3  4
Embroidered (2) Embroidered in Heavy
Cotton on Felt

Printed on Rubber

Similar to English Made

Several patches, including Headquarters, U.S. Army European Theater of Operations Communication Zone, can be found in this rubberized version. Many theories exist why they might have been produced.

Embroidered in Bullion

embroidered embroidered
Embroidered Heavy Bullion (3) Embroidered Lighter Bullion (4)


repro front repro back repro back
Front (5) Back Black (Ultraviolet) Light

This reproduction was produced and sold has such in the 1970s. Ordinary shoulder sleeve insignia are not so valuable that reproductions are common, but the equipment to manufacture patches exist and it can be easily done at low cost. There is little to distinguish this patch from an original. The wings do not extend almost to the edge of the border like the originals. It is unknown if any original ones also have this characteristic. This patch also is florescent under black (ultraviolet) light. Many other reproductions made in third world nations are not florescent.


  1. Courtesy of Jay Graybeal
  2. Courtesy of Jay Graybeal
  3. Courtesy of Jay Graybeal
  4. Courtesy of Lars Kleine
  5. Courtesy of Jay Graybeal

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