“Let us not only remember the past and its required sacrifice, let us also remember that we are responsible to build a legacy for the generations which follow us.”
– Thomas S. Monson
Designed to both honor the past and look toward the future, the modernized U.S. Air Force symbol is a well-balanced representation of their history and the promise of tomorrow.
U.S. Air Force leadership decided in the late 1990s that a new design was needed. Numerous designs were created and considered through focus groups, research groups and surveys. In 1999 a clear cut winner emerged; but it wasn’t officially accredited until May of 2004 when the USAF Chief of Staff designated it their new, official symbol.
The symbol represents both two forms and is made up of two parts. In form it can be seen as the emblem of our nation, an eagle, or it can be viewed as a medal of valor. In part the top half has distinctly angular wings and the lower half is sphere surrounded by a star framed by diamonds.
Made up of six stripes, the wings of the eagle represent the enlisted men and women of the Air Force. And each of the six sections denotes one of the Air Force’s distinctive strengths, underscoring the Air Force’s power and speed:
- Agile combat support
- Air and space superiority
- Global attack
- Rapid global mobility
- Precision engagement
- Information superiority
Encircled within the star, the sphere personifies the globe and is a reminder of the Air Force’s promise to maintain global vigilance, reach and power. It also stands for the Air Force’s challenge of decisive, rapid crisis response by providing worldwide, aerospace power as an expeditionary force.
Easily recognized as one of the nation’s rallying symbols, the star represents the officer corps. Along with the sphere, this five-pointed star, which symbolizes the total Air Force, comprises the eagle’s body:
Three diamonds, representing the Air Force core values, both frame the star and complete the eagle’s tail.
- Integrity first
- Service before self
- Excellence in all we do
Taken as a whole, when all the elements come together, the official symbol of the U.S. Air Force becomes one powerful image of who they were and who they intend to become.