The Combat Aircrew breast insignia traces its establishment to World War II. Originally titled simply the Air Crew insignia and created to recognize the combat capabilities of  Navy flight crews, the new badge was first announced in a press release on May 18, 1943; its formal approval was officially proclaimed in a Bureau of Naval Personnel statement nine days later on May 29.

Though clearly intended to be issued to enlisted personnel, officers were also authorized to wear the badge if they met the requirements, which required candidates to have served for a total of at least months as a member of an Air Crew of a combatant craft after December 7, 1941. Also eligible were members of aircrews who had been unable to reach the three-month service requirement due to combat injuries. (Aircrew who served aboard planes unable to carry out either offensive or defensive operations either by design or by lack of martial equipage did not qualify.) Combat stars were awarded for engagements with enemy aircraft and vessels, as well as for bombing of ground positions (strafing of ground vehicles or structures was not mentioned).

Several tweaks were made to the qualifications during the war, but 1958 saw a major change: the insignia was renamed “Combat Aircrew” (Navy personnel who had been awarded the old insignia were authorized to wear the new badge). The design and designation of the Combat Aircrew badge remained unchanged for the next twenty years, but it became redundant after the Navy established the Naval Aircrew badge. In 1978, the Combat Aircrew badge was removed from the list of authorized insignias in the U.S. Navy Uniform Regulations, joining Balloon Pilot in the list of obsolete Navy badges…almost.

The Combat Aircrew badge was saved by the fact that the United States Marine Corps continued to award the Combat Aircrew badge, and in fact a 1994 Naval Personnel memorandum authorized the wear of the badge by Naval Personnel who fly as aircrew members in combat with the Marines. They may not, however, wear the badge while flying combat missions in U.S. Navy aircraft.

About us

As a certified manufacturer of uniforms and insignia, The Salute Uniforms considers it a privilege to provide the members of our nation’s military services with superior-quality apparel and accoutrements. We guarantee that every product we offer is made in the USA and meets or surpasses Mil-Spec standards. Browse our online catalog and discover how our tradition of excellence and commitment to innovation makes us your best source for military uniforms, insignias, medals, and accessories.


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105 Apache Drive, Archdale, NC, 27263.