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Other Cloth Insignia Not Shoulder Sleeve Insignia

Second World War

U.S. Naval Aviation Jacket Patches

Squadron Insignia

VB7 VB14 VB81 VB20 VPB-15
(Courtesy: Jay Graybeal)
(Courtesy: HvR. Sandeman)
(Courtesy: Scott Barnes)
(Courtesy: HvR. Sandeman)
(Courtesy: Alan Boyle)
VF-36 VPB32 VPB129decal VT5 VT50
(Courtesy: Jay Graybeal)
(Courtesy: HvR. Sandeman)
VPB-129 Decal
(Courtesy: James S. Tassin Jr.)
VT-5 (1)
(Courtesy: HvR. Sandeman)
(Courtesy: HvR. Sandeman)

There are a series of large unit insignia used by Naval aviators on flight jackets, including the leather G-1 and G-2 jackets that were also worn by Marine pilots. The designs were similar to those used to mark aircraft, but were also worn as patches on the left upper chest area of flight jackets.

A multi-letter designator appears before the number of Naval aviation units. The first letter "V" indicates heavier than air aircraft; as opposed to lighter than air aircraft, such as dirigibles. The additional letters indicates the type unit. Other letters that may appear include "F" for fighter, "O" for observer, etc. The abbreviation VPB indicates a Navy patrol bomber squadron (land-based and seaplane).

Designation Unit Type
VB Dive Bomber
VC Composite
VCS Cruiser Scouting
VD Photographic
VF Fighter
VJ Utility
VO Battleship Observation
VOF Observation Fighter
VPB Patrol Bomber
VS Shore-based Scouting
VT Torpedo Bomber

During the war units were disbanded, and later reconstituted with different nicknames and personnel. The end result is that several different insignia may have been used at different times by units with the same designation. Since many of these were unofficial and created by the units themselves it is the difficult to identify squadron jacket patches. The VPB-129 insignia above is not a patch but a decal that was transferred directly to the flight jacket.


  1. The design for VT-5 shown in the 1944 National Geographic Society Special Issue on Insignia of U.S. Armed Forces is different. It is a figure on horseback with a spear. It is likely at some point the design was changed.
The original insignia of Navy Squadron VPB-129 shown above includes the image of the cartoon character Alley Oop, created in 1933 by V.T. Hamlin. This image is being presented for historical and educational purposes and brings no financial gain to the creator of this web site in any way. It is assumed that Mr. Hamlin created the original insignia or that his character used with his permission. The editor of this site does not intend any infringement upon the intellectual property rights of the current owners of the image of Alley Oop.

Brian French's Web Site (More Naval Aviation Patches)
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