USAF AIRMAN FIRST CLASS CHEVRONS

Originally designated as Corporals or Technicians Fifth Grade in 1947, enlisted Air Force personnel in the E-3 pay grade were retitled Corporals when the Air Force introduced its distinct style of chevrons a year later. It took until 1950 for the Air Force to introduce the term "Airman" as its generic title for enlisted members of the service, and another two years for the title to be applied to pay grade names.

In April 1952, E-3 personnel were designated as Airmen Second Class, a title that only coincidentally jibed with the numbers of chevrons or stripes on their rank insignia. It was part of a system that divided Junior enlisted Airmen above the Basic (E-1) level into First, Second, and Third Class Airmen, a system similar to the Navy’s classification of Petty Officers except the Airmen were junior enlisted rather than Noncommissioned Officers. The designation of Airman First Class was introduced for E-3 Airmen in 1967 when the Air Force brought back the E-4 rank of Sergeant.

Use the selection boxes to the right to choose the appropriate chevron insignia for your uniform. The ABU selection is a subdued insignia worn only on the Airman Battle Uniform, while the Dress Blue (i.e., white stripes) is style worn on all other USAF uniforms requiring chevron rank insignia. Note the Large size is a 4-inch chevron and Small is 3.5-inch. Regulations frequently permit women Airmen to choose the size that fits best on their sleeves, but some sizes are constant regardless of gender (the Chef’s coat requires the 4-inch chevrons, while the Small size is always worn on shirt sleeves).
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