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U.S. Air Force Symbol
Blue and white version

The United States Air Force Symbol is the symbol of the United States Air Force. It was introduced in January 2000. Guidelines that outlined appropriate uses for the new Air Force symbol were released March 23. The symbol was first tested on gates and water towers in August.


In the late 1990s, Air Force senior leadership recognized the need to design an official symbol and develop a centralized theme to encourage young people to join, encourage airmen to stay, and to build understanding, appreciation, and support for America's Air Force. They directed a commercial company, specializing in corporate branding, to research and develop a unique symbol. Company representatives traveled throughout the Air Force and to major U.S. cities to conduct research and become intimately familiar with the Air Force and its culture, environment, and heritage.

The new Air Force symbol is based on the familiar World War II "Hap" Arnold wings and represents the service's heritage. The symbol’s modern design represents the Air Force’s present and future leading edge capabilities defending the United States.

  • 1998 Research, surveys and focus groups commissioned
  • 1999 Symbol designed
  • May 2000 Trademark registration filed
  • 2001 Symbol tested throughout Air Force
  • 2002 Survey of internal Air Force audience revealed 90% identify the new symbol as the official Air Force symbol
  • Sept 2003 Trademark registration date. Serial #76040432 and Registration #2767190
  • May 2004 USAF Chief of Staff designates Symbol as the Official Symbol of the Air Force [1]


The symbol has two main parts. In the upper half, the stylized wings represent the stripes of the enlisted force. They have been drawn with great angularity to emphasize swiftness and power, and they are divided into six sections which represent the USAF's core competencies -- aerospace superiority, global attack, rapid global mobility, precision engagement, information superiority, and agile combat support.

In the lower half there are a sphere, a star, and three diamonds. The sphere within the star represents the globe and reminds USAF members of their obligation to secure the United States's freedom with Global Vigilance, Reach, and Power. The globe is also meant to remind USAF members of their challenge as an expeditionary force to respond rapidly to crises and to provide decisive aerospace power, worldwide.

The area surrounding the sphere takes the shape of a star. The star has many meanings. Its five points represent the components of the force and family -- our active duty, civilians, Guard, Reserve, and retirees. The star symbolizes space as the high ground of the United States' aerospace force. The rallying symbol in all U.S. wars, the star also represents the officer corps, central to the USAF's combat leadership.

The star has been framed with three diamonds, which represent the USAF's core values -- integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do.

The elements come together to form one symbol that presents two powerful images -- at once it is an eagle, the emblem of the United States, and a medal, representing valor in service to the nation.

External links

The Air Force Symbol is NOT public domain. People wishing to use the Air Force Symbol need to enter a license agreement with the Air Force. (see below)



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