The rank insignia for an Airman is a single chevron, typically referred to as a “stripe” because its lines do not form as acute an angle as used on chevrons of other military services or those found in heraldic imagery. When the United States Air Force was established as a distinct military branch unto itself in 1947, it used Army insignia and enlisted rank titles as a temporary measure, so the original U.S. Airman rank (E-2 pay grade) was called Private First class and its personnel wore a single, upward pointing chevron. The Air Force reversed the direction of its insignia chevrons in 1948, only bringing back the upward-pointing variant when the addition of two new pay grades necessitated the need for different insignia elements to make it simpler to readily distinguish ranks.

Please use the drop-down selection boxes to the right to select the appropriate Airman chevron for your need. Choosing the Style is simple: the “ABU” chevrons are worn only on the Airman Battle Uniform, which the Air Force began to phase out with the introduction of the Operational Camouflage Pattern (OCP utility uniform. The mandatory possession date for the OCP is 1 April 2021, but the Air Force began offering them at some base exchanges on 1 October 2018. You can purchase OCP chevrons by clicking here.

Selecting a size is a bit more complicated in that women personnel are given the option of wearing the larger (4-inch) or small (3.5-inch) chevrons on a variety of uniforms. But small chevrons are always worn on the sleeves of shirts and blouses, while the large chevron is always worn by Enlisted personnel on the Chef’s coat.

Chevrons are an optional wear item on the Topcoat and All-Weather Coat, which must be worn with the pin-on metal rank insignia on the collars.

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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Salute Industries Inc, proud maker of The Salute Uniforms.
105 Apache Drive, Archdale, NC, 27263.