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B-29/50 Poster / Notes on Patches

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Intro | SAC Patches | Poster Text Patches & CaptionsNotes on Patches

     SAC began with B-29s left over from World War II.  Eight of the Ten groups originally assigned to the command were discontinued within a year.  Only two remained active: the 93rd and the 509th and they became wings. All the other B-29 wings were activated between 1947 and 1951.  In order to perpetuate the history and honors of World War II groups, these new wings were the given the numeric designations of earlier groups.  None of these units received official approval of their new USAF emblem until after 1950.  However, it seems that the newly approved emblems were simply new versions of earlier group patches.  The basic design elements stayed constant. 
     The question is what patch did these units use during the 1946-1950 time period - i.e., the period between the date it was activated and the date its new emblem was approved.  Did they use the WWII design, a modification of it, or a new design.  This is being researched.  Your help would be appreciated. 
       One major goal of the B-29/50 & B-36 poster is to graphically illustrate the enormous changes that took place in the Air Force and in SAC during the time period.  I really think the B-29 section should have a very strong "brown shoe days" influence that contrasts with the air force coming into its own during the B-36 era.  Many of the B-29/50 wings converted to B-36s and patches for both eras are going to appear on the same poster.  I think that to the extent possible, they should be different.  I would think that the very early units - 1946 through 1948 - almost surely used WWII designs.  I've tried to find as many photos as I can of the era, but few of those that show people show patches.  We do find that nose art was still very strong and it almost always reflected the individual aircraft, not the unit. 
      The goal is to determine which patch was used during the B-29/50 era.  Probably the best way to find out is from men who served in the units during that time.  Your help would be appreciated. 
      John Cook is a SAC patch expert (See his website Cookieman) and to get things started, he has provided a wealth of information that appears below.  Unless otherwise stated, all the information was contributed by him.
     As I anticipate an ongoing dialogue on this subject, this page uses the following format.  The patch in the left column is that currently being considered for the B-29 section of the poster.  The center column contains all information that I have accumulated.  The right column contains all 10 of the B-36 wing patches. and/or other information that prove useful.  For rapid identification, the B-36 units have a gray background.
    Your comments are invited.   
B-29/50 Section   B-36 Section
2nd Bombardment Wing
Above patch is WWII.  John Cook provided the following:
Motto: LIBERTATEM DEFENDIMUS - Liberty We Defend*. Approved for the 2nd  Group on 15 Apr 1940 and for the 2nd Wing on 10 Aug 1951.Approved for the 2nd Bombardment Group 19 Jan 1924* and for the 2nd Bombardment Wing  25 April 1966.(KE 30504) *The Wing’s first Motto was replaced with “Libertatem  Defendimus” on 15 Apr 1940
Marv: Would like to find a copy of the patch shown at left.

Did not fly B-36
Lee Spain added  
2nd Bomb Wing rectangle
-I have always been told that the rectangle patches made in the 60's like this twill one wore usually made for RAF Exchange pilots. Their patches were rectangle and so their host unit had rectangle patches made for them to wear on their flight suits.
Marv: In absence of being able to find the above patch, then I can use the one shown at left as it is in my collection.
  5th Bombardment Wing
B-29s 1949-1950 Transitioned to B-36  John Cook provided the following: Later: B-52G’s Emblem: Party per pale, nebuly, vert and sable, a death’s head argent, winged or, all within a diminished bordure of the last. Crest: On a wreath of the colors (argent and vert), a bull's head caboshed azure and armed or.  Motto:KIAI O KA LEWA — Guardians of the upper regions.  Approved for 5th Group on 21 June 1924 and for 5th Wing on 12 Aug. 1954. (K 8572). (Note From John Cook:  The coat of arms for the 5th Composite Group was approved 21 June 1924, amended on 20 November 1925, and redesignated for the 5th BG on 15 April 1939.)

Marv: Patch at right is well established as the 5th BW patch.  Was probably used for both b-29 and B-36s.

B-36 Patch
5th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing
Lee Spain wrote, For the longest time, this patch has been ID'ed as a Maintenance Sq, but I picked up a book on the B-36 and it shows a Air Policeman wearing this patch
Marv: Interesting observation.  If it was used during the B-36 days, then why not during the B-29 days?  What do you guys think of using the triangle for the B-29 era and this shield for the B-36 era?
Gives me two different designs on one patch.

6th Bombardment Wing
B-29's, 1951 -1952:  KB-29's, 1951 - 1952. B-36 and Later B-52E's  Emblem:  Or, pily of twelve Gules, overall a base Azure supporting a sailing ship with sails set affronte Sable, sails Argent, between two mounts issuing from dexter and sinister Vert, below a shooting star in dexter chief and a bi-wing aircraft, viewed from below Argent, garnished Sable, in sinister chief; all within a diminished bordure of the first. Crest: On a wreath of the colors (or and azure) a pirate's head and shoulders tattooed on the chest with skull and bones proper, garbed and coifed or and sable. Motto. PARATI DEFENDERE - Ready to defend. Approved for the 6th Group on 22 Jan 1924 and adopted by the 6th Wing on 18 Mar 1955 (KE 2549); replaced by emblem approved on 21 Oct 1980 (KE 7162); original emblem reinstated on 20 Sep 1988 (KE 2549) without the approved "Pirate's Head" Crest. Note: For Years dating from WWII the insignia worn bu the flight crews and displayed on the Aircraft was the "Pirates Head" crest that was part of the unit insignia but separate from the Shield. Approved for the 6th Composite (Later: Bombardment) Group on 22 Jan 1924 and used for the 6th Bombardment Wing  since 1951.
Marv: Many photos of 6th Bomb Wing post war B-29s show this as nose art.  No doubt as to it being used at that time.

B-36 Patch


7th Bombardment Wing
7th Bombardment Wing - B-29s 1946-1947.  Transitioned to B-36, Later: B-52F, and D's and H's, finally transitioning to B-1B's  Emblem: A shield or  flying eagle, carrying a shield azure, on a bend or three crosses patee sable, all within a diminished bordure of the second. Crest: On a wreath of the colors (or and azure) a drop bomb palewise sable piercing a cloud proper.  Motto: MORS AB ALTO - Death from above. Approved 12 Sept. 1952. The 7th Bombardment Group Insignia was approved 30 Jan 1933, On Sep 1952 the Insignia was modified to display a flying eagle carrying the 1933 insignia. On 15 Jun 1994  the 1933 insignia was reinstated replacing the insignia approved on 12 Sep 1952 (K 2649). (Note From John Cook:  The coat of arms for the 7th Bombardment Group was approved on 30 January 1933.)
Marv: Since the eagle was not added until 1952, the 1933 insignia must have been use prior to then.  Anyone ever seen such a patch?

B-36 Patch
  Originally was going to use this for the B-36, but probably more appropriate to B-52.
9th Bombardment Wing
 B-29s 1949-1950. Transitioned to B-47, Later: SR-71's and U-2's  Emblem: Winged sword, Approved 9 May, 1952. (?). Per pale vert and sable, a pallet wavy argent fimbriated or, on a fess of the last four crosses patee of the second garnished brown, all within a diminished bordure or. Crest: On a wreath of the colors (argent and vert) a rattlesnake entwined about a prickly pear cactus all proper.  Motto: SEMPER PARATUS - Always ready. Approved for 9th Group on 20 Mar 1924 and for 9th Wing on 1 Jul 1952 (K 2650). (Note From John Cook:  The coat of arms for the 9th Observation Group was approved on 20 March 1924, and redesignated for the 9th BG on 6 March 1936.)  
Marv: At left is an old felt patch for the 9th Bomb Group.  Was this design used during the post war era?

B-36 Patch
Did not fly B-29 11th Bombardment Wing
B-36 Patch
19th Bombardment Wing
B-29s 1948-1952. Transitioned to B-47, Later: B-52G's & KC-135's Emblem: Shield: Azure, within the square of the constellation of Pegasus, a winged sword, point to base, all or. Crest: On a wreath of the colors (or and azure) an osprey guardant, rising, wings elevated and addorsed proper. Motto: In Alis Vincimus - On Wings We Conquer. (Approved  for 19th Bomb Group, 19 Oct 1936,  Approved for the 19th Bombardment Wing  09 May, 1952.)
Marv: Early 19th patch, probably used on B-29s.  Design at right probably began with B-47.  Later version with gold shield appears on  B-52 poster.

Did not fly B-36
22nd Bombardment Wing
 B-29s 1948-1952.  Transitioned to B-47, Later: B-52B, C, D, & KC-135's Emblem: Shield: Azure, a cougar's left gamb erased palewise claws to base or armed gules. Motto: Ducemus - We Lead. (Approved 22nd Bombardment Group, 19 Jun 1941, and the 22nd Bombardment Wing  28 Jun 1951.)
Marv: This is the only patch I've ever seen for the 22nd.

Did not fly B-36
28th Bombardment Wing
B-29s 1946-1948.  Transitioned to RB / B-36, Later B-52D, G, H's, and B-1's Emblem: Shield: Per pale nebuly or and azure. Crest: On a wreath of the colors, or and azure, a fleur-de-lis vert the outer leaves terminated in the form of wings or. Motto: Guardian Of The North. Approved for 28th Composite Group 14 Nov. 1941 and for Wing on 11 June 1952. (Note From John Cook:  The coat of arms for the 28th Composite Group was approved on 14 November 1941) (Note From John Cook:  The coat of arms for the 28th Composite Group was approved on 14 November 1941)
Marv: Apparently best to use same patch in both places.

B-36 Patch

Terry provided this picture for B-29 era
40th Bombardment Wing
Activated and inactivated in 1946 with B-29s. 
Reactivated 1952.  B-29s 1952-1953.  Transitioned to B-36  (B-47's).  Emblem: Description: Shield, Azure, on a bomb burst proper, fimbriated argent four drop bombs in cross or. Approved on 28 Mar 1942, Replaced 06 Jan 1954  with a new emblem for the  40th  BW: A shield divided in an angular manner with the apex of angle toward the upper left, yellow and light green, and with a base of blue; on the green area a black silhouette of a modernistic aircraft with a trail above a wavy circular symbol in gray, light gray and white with a yellow center bearing a red and black atom symbol; on and over the base a yellow wreath outlined in black. (Note: The 40th Bombardment Group was redesignated 40th Tactical Group and Activated at Aviano AB, Italy Assigned to USAFE, The unit used the WWII Emblem approved for the 40th Bombardment Group,  In 2002, & 2003, during operations the Wing was again reactivated as the 40th Air Expeditionary Wing again the WWII emblem was the emblem authorized for use ).
From Jim Diamond:  There are some slight corrections needed on the 40th Bomb Wing info on what you just sent out.  40th Bomb Wing - Activated 1943 and inactivated in 1945 with B-29s.  Reactivated 1953.  B-29s 1953-1954.  Transitioned to B-36 (This should be B-47) in 1954.  Emblem: modernistic aircraft over bulls eye (nuclear explosion with atom symbol). Approved 6 Jan. 1954.  Jim Diamond)
Marv: The emblem at left was not adopted until 1954.  Prior to that four drop bombs in a cross.  Have never seen such a patch.

Did not fly B-36
Above is B-47 patch
Did not fly B-29 42nd Bombardment Wing
B-36 Patch
43rd Bombardment Wing 
B-29 1946-1947. B-50s 1948-1953. Transitioned to B-47, Later: B-58's and B-52D's and B-52G's Later a KC-135 Air Refueling Wing and Currently a C-130 Airlift wing. Emblem: Shield: Per fess nebuly or and azure, a drop bomb counterchanged.  Motto: Willing, Able, Ready.  Approved for Group on 31 Jan. 1942 and for Wing on 14 May 1968. 43rd Airlift Wing Modified from Existing 43rd Bombardment Group / Wing Emblem on 18 Nov 1993.  
Marv: I have the patch at left.  It appears to be an oldie.

Did not fly the B-36
44th Bombardment Wing 
B-29s 1950-1953.  Transitioned to B-47, Later LGM-30 Minuteman Missiles Emblem: Shield: azure, a bomb, point downward, between eight stars, four and four, or, all bendwise. Motto: Aggressor Beware. (Approved 15 May 1951.) 44th Bombardment Wing used the 44th Bomb Group insignia, until the change in mission required modification for the 44th  Strategic Missile Wing. Approved 18 July 1962.
Marv: Patch at left for B-29s.  That at right for B-47s.

Did not fly the B-36

Terry said this was design in use, carried over from WWII.  Will have to be modified to say right name
55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing
B / RB-29 in 1948 - 1949; 1950 - 1951, RB-50's (A Modification of the B-29) 1950 - 1954.  Transitioned to RB-47, Later RC / EC-135's E-4A's& B's Emblem: Shield: Azure, on a fess indented or a similar bar gules. Motto: Pursuit To Defend. (Approved 18 Feb 1942. This insignia was replaced 4 Feb 1954 with: On a light blue shield, radiating saltirewise from a black aerial camera outlined white, at the top of the shield aperture downward, four red lightning flashes with yellow upper edges; below and touching the flashes a globe, green with white outlines to the point of contact and white lines of longitude and latitude, the area between the globe and the flashes yellow, surmounting the globe a horizontal curved yellow lightning flash with the inscribed in code letters "SAC". In the 1990's in keeping with the policies established by then  Chief of Staff Gen. Merrill (Tony) McPeak the insignia of the WWII fighter group was reinstated.  
Marv: Patch at right adopted in 1954.  What was used before that?
Terry wrote, "
55th SRW prior to 1954 all the flight suits in the 55th Prior to 1954  did not were insignia other the the White Nametapes  Marv our operations were so secret when ubits deployed the linebadges had black tape over the Wing & Squadron designation and the name of the base. Prior to the 1954 Insignia the insignia was a variation of the WWII 55th Fighter Group Insigia  the one that is currently in use thanks to McPeak


68th Bombardment Wing
68th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing (Later: 68th Bombardment Wing [Redesignated: 16 Jun 1952]) B-29 in 1952.  Transitioned to B-47, Later: B-52G's and KC-135 / KC-10's Additional Information from: Air Force Combat Units of the World War II - History and Insignia , Maurer Maurer USAF Historical Division,  Air University, Department of the Air Force 1961  Emblem: two  lighting bolts  .  Shield: Azure, an eye of the first surmounting a tuft of six feathers, imposed on a tuft of eight feathers, between and at the base of two wings conjoined in the form of a "V" or. Motto: Victoria Per Observatiam - Victory through Observation. (Approved 17 Sep 1942).  This insignia was replaced by: On a shield per chevron reversed, azure and gules, indented and fracted argent, two lightning bolts, gules; in chief six stars in fess argent, above a clenched mailed fist gules, fimbriated argent, holding a olive branch or;  in base eight bombs argent. Motto:  Follow Me.  Approved 3 Oct. 1952.
Marv: Shield at right approved in 1952. Since B-29s were approved that year, probably used with it.

Did not fly B-36
Did not fly B-29 72nd Bombardment Wing

B-36 Patch

Terry provided this picture


90th Bombardment Wing
90th Bombardment Wing  B-29 in 1951-1953. Transitioned to B-47 From: Air Force Combat Units of the World War II - History and Insignia , Maurer Maurer USAF Historical Division,  Air University, Department of the Air Force 1961  90th Bombardment Group Lineage: Redesignated 90th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy). Activated in the US on 1 Jul 1947. Assigned to Strategic Air Command. Probably not manned during 1947 and 1948. Inactivated on 6 Sep 1948. Redesignated 90th Bombardment Group (Medium). Activated on 2 Jan 1951. Assigned to Strategic Air Command and equipped with B-29's. Inactivated on 16 Jun 1952. The 90th  Bombardment Wing was established 20 Dec 1950, Activated: 02 Jan 1951 with the 90th Bombardment Group being assigned to the Wing, Tacitical Squadrons remained assigned to the Bombardment Group until the Bombardment Group was inactivated 16 Jun 1952. This was standard most the units in SAC in transition into the Wing Base Plan.  The Wing was redesignated and Reorganized as a Strategic Reconnaissance Wing on 16 Jun 1956, later 21 Feb 1963 it was redesignated as the 90th Strategic Missile Wing. Emblem: Shield: Azure, a pterodactyl (Dimorphodon Macronyx) volant or langued gules, eyed vert. Motto: Impavide - Undauntedly. (Approved 22 Sep 1942.) 90th Missile Wing approved 29 Sept. 1964. No information on the bomb wing.
Marv:  Patch at right clearly states "Recon Wing," which means RB-47s after 1956.  The only other patch for this that I've seen is shown at the right.

Terry says this was not approved until 1952.
Will use for the B-57
91st Strategic Reconnaissance Wing
 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Wing  B-29s 1948-1952.  Transitioned to B-47 Additional Information from: Air Force Combat Units of the World War II - History and Insignia , Maurer Maurer USAF Historical Division,  Air University, Department of the Air Force 1961  Redesignated: 91st Reconnaissance Group. Activated on 01 Jul 1947. Assigned to Strategic Air Command. Redesignated 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Group in Nov 1948. Used a variety of aircraft, including B-17's and RB-17's, B-29's and RB-29's, and B-50's. Redesignated 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Group (Medium) in Jul 1950. Equipped with RB-45's, Transitioned to B/RB/YRB-47's in 1953 and operated until 1957.  Inactivated on 28 May 1952. Emblem:  Shield: Azure (sky blue), a lightning flash issuing from dexter base and pointing to an eye proper on a cloud issuing from the sinister chief, on the flash in dexter base a sphere proper in an orbit argent; over all a bend azure fimbriated argent. (Approved 23 Dec 1952.)   Replaced on 23 Aug 1963 by:  Shield, light blue issuing from sinister base a mailed hand bendwise argent grasping three lightning flashes to chief and one to base or, in dexter base a sphere azure with land areas of the second and gridlines countercharged of the last, and the fourth, overall a entwining olive wreath vert, in dexter honor point a nuclear symbol of the second; all within a diminished bordure of the third. Motto: POISED FOR PEACE.  91st  Bombardment Wing design was approved 23 Aug. 1963. the Unit was redesignated as the 91st Strategic Missile Wing in 1968.
Marv: Patch at left is for recon wing, thus it could have only been
B-29s.  Eye overlooking the world is symbolic of its role.  It was replaced in 1963.  The new shield kept the globe, but replaced the eye with lighting bolts to symbolize its new bomb mission. 
From my collection 

Terry says this was not approved until 1952.
Will use for the B-47
92nd Bombardment Wing
92nd Bombardment Wing B-29s 1946-1950.  Transitioned to B-36, Later B-52 D's, G's & H's Emblem: Shield: Azure, a pterodactyl (pteranodon) volant, in bend or, langued gules, eyed vert. Motto: Higher - Stronger - Faster. (Approved 9 Mar 1943) This insigne was replaced 21 Nov 1957. ( Sword )  Shield, per bend of Sky proper and sable  in chieg between two cloulds argent, a olive branch vert (the patch is or) conjoined in base with a lightning flash gules, fimbribrated of the third sinisterwise throughout, overall issuing from base an armored hand fesswise grasping a two edged broad sword bendwise  throughout of the first, the hilt alternately or amd azure.  Motto:  DUPLUM INCOLUMITATUS  -  Twofold Security   Approved 21 Nov. 1957  
Marv:  The pterodactyl patch at left is from my collection and was represented as being the 92nd bomb group.  Note that the flying reptile was also the symbol of the 90th Bomb Wing, shown below.  Patch states "Higher, stonger, faster."  Ravenstein's Combat Wing History states motto for the 90th is"Impavide"  That for the 92nd is "duplum Incolumitatis" (twofold security)   This critter is flying, as is the one for the 92nd.

B-36 Patch
93rd Bombardment Wing  
B-29s 1946-1948.  B-50s 1949-1953.  Transitioned to B-47 one year, then B-52. Emblem: Shield,  azure bordered or, in pale a lightning flash, or; surmounted bendwise a Roman torch with flames trailing or. Approval Status Unknown   Shield: Azure, in front of a bend parti per bend sable and argent between two globes of the last with latitude and longitude lines of the second, the one in chief bearing a wreath vert and the one in base bearing a cross of four arrows, points out of the first, gules, or and of the fifth, a lightning flash bend sinisterwise or. (Approved 4 Sep 1953.).  
Marv: Tabbed version at right was probably that approved in 1953.
Did not fly B-29 95th  Bombardment Wing 
B-36 Patch

None of the units listed below flew the B-36

97th  Bombardment Wing 
B-29s 1946-1948.  B-50s 1949-1954. Transitioned to B-47,  Later: B-52G's. Emblem: Shield: Azure, a spear in pale or, point to base flammant and embrued proper. Motto: Venit Hora - The Hour Has Come.  Approved for the 97th Bombardment Group, 05 Mar 1943,  Approved  for use by the 97th Bombardment Wing, 02 May 1957.
Marv: At left is old twill patch from my collection.  That at right was used by B-52 crews and probably B-47 crews.


98th  Bomb Wing 
B-29s 1947-1953.  Transitioned to B-47, Later a KC-135 Strategic Wing at Torrejon Spain Emblem: Shield: Azure, a bend indented between a dexter mailed hand couped at the wrist, in bend, grasping a drop bomb and an olive wreath, all or. Motto: Force For Freedom. (Approved 29 Jul 1942.) and for wing 29 Feb. 1956   
Marv: Am using this on B-47 poster.  See no reason not to use it for the B-29s.


  99th Bomb Group.
Terry said it flew B-36. 
  John Cook has not yet provided information for the following.
Comments are mine from Air Force Combat Wing Histories
All of these wings converted to B-47s. 
B-57 patch is shown at right.

Terry provided this picture
301st Bombardment Wing
B-29s 1946-1952.  Transitioned to B-47
Emblem: stylized bird.  “Who Fears”  Approved 22 July 1959. 
303rd Bombardment Wing
Wing B-29s 1951-1952.  Transitioned to B-47
Emblem: Lighting.  “Might in Flight.”  Approved 11 Dec. 1951 
305th Bombardment Wing
B-29s 1951.  Transitioned to B-47.
Emblem: Now refueling boom.  “Can do.”  Approved 13 April 1978. 
306th Bombardment Wing
B-29s 1949. Transitioned to B-47
Emblem: Eagles, etc.  Approved 10 Nov. 1977 
Marv: WWII leather patch shown.
  307th Bombardment Wing
B-29s 1946-1953.  Transitioned to B-47
Emblem: 4 petal dogwood bloom. 
 Approved 307 Group 21 Dec. 1942 and for wing 23 Dec. 1952
308th Bombardment Wing
B-29s.  1951.  Transitioned to B-47
Emblem: Now 308th Missile wing. Shows missile. 
Approved 28 Feb.1963
Marv: WWII leather patch shown.
  310th Bombardment Wing
B-29 1952-1953.  Transitioned to B-47
Emblem: Hand, bird.  Approved 7 Jan. 1954.
320th Bombardment Wing
B-29s 1952.  Transitioned to B-47
Emblem: Three four-point stars. “Strength through Awareness.”  Approved 5 Dec. 1952.
WWII patch at left.
apparently used when activated in 1946


376th Bombardment Wing
B-29s 1951-1952.  Transitioned to B-47s
Emblem: Stylized Pegasus.  “Liberandos”  Approved 8 Nov. 1951.
Marv: WWII leather patch shown.
509th Bombardment Wing
B-29s 1946-1954. Transitioned to B-47s
Emblem: atomic bomb cloud.  Approved 10 July 1952. 
Marv: John Cook provided the one at left.  Said it was used during
the nuclear tests in 1946.