How can I get an Air Force unit patch?
October 4, 2017 9:30 AM   Subscribe

How can I, a civilian, get hold of a unit patch for an active AF squadron? I did the then-commander a favor a few years ago, but he is long gone now.

Some years ago, I was contacted by a LTCOL who wanted to ask me some questions about my grandpa's WWII unit's history. It turns out that a new unit inherited that lineage, and I provided to him the documentation (when the AFHA couldn't or wouldn't).

He said he would send me one of their patches when the squadron was finally stood up, but he never did. Is this because he may not, or because he flaked out? If I contact them and ask, am I likely to get the cold shoulder? I would like to add it to the shadowbox I made of my grandpa's decorations & remaining dog tag.

(My closest link to the Air Force is a cousin who retired as a C-130 check pilot -- but this unit is at Ft. Meade and he won't have any juice with this crowd.)

Thank you!
posted by wenestvedt to Grab Bag (9 answers total)
 
Just contact the unit's public affairs office, explain the situation, and ask if there was any way you could get one. They'll be more open to this than I think you expect them to be.

Alternatively, you can usually buy patches online for about $7/each.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 10:01 AM on October 4 [3 favorites]


Can you clarify which unit?

I see your father was in the 305th Bombardment Group, were you referring to that unit (the successor of which is the 305th Operations Group) or to another unit and/or to a subsidiary command?
posted by Jahaza at 11:32 AM on October 4


My grandpa was in the 7th Radio Squadron, Mobile (J), the lineage of which was inherited by the 7th Intelligence Squadron when it was stood up in 2009. It's an intelligence unit at Ft. Meade, MD, so they'll probably quite tight-lipped. :7)
posted by wenestvedt at 12:10 PM on October 4


Looks like they are for sale here (and many other places) unless I'm missing something obvious
posted by cyphill at 12:21 PM on October 4 [1 favorite]


Yep, that's the one, cyphill.

I would prefer to be given one, of course. :7) But now I know where to buy one -- so thank you!

(We'll see what the PAO says: I emailed them a little while ago at NotMyselfRightNows's suggestion.)
posted by wenestvedt at 12:51 PM on October 4


Unfortunately, cyphill's link requires a minimum purchase of 25 patches for $175 dollars.

You can get one or two on Ebay here for about 15 bucks each.
posted by Jahaza at 1:09 PM on October 4 [1 favorite]


Boyfriend (Air Force vet) says to CALL (don't email) Public Affairs and talk to a real person. Or write an actual letter to the Unit 1st Sergent explaining the situation and asking for a patch for the shadowbox. Explain your grandfather's story, give them a link to your website, include a photo of the shadowbox, show that you aren't just randomly asking for patches. The unit historian would like having that as well. They are usually more than happy to oblige if there is a family/historical connection, but they prefer a more personal touch than an email.

YMMV of course, but this is how boyfriend has handled such situations. This is his direct advice.
posted by MultiFaceted at 1:54 PM on October 4 [2 favorites]


Seconding Multifaceted. A low-effort email won't cut the mustard, but a human contact via a letter with some personal info about grandfather to share is good, a phone call with the same is great as well. $5 used to be the going rate for patches, back during my dad's Navy days; I would expect Hamilton has displaced Lincoln as the going rate by now.

Send them a picture of the finished shadowbox with a thank you note. You might end up with something else interesting, such as a pin or a set of wings or something cool. Your letter will be the best thing some PAO has seen all week, and probably the Colonel running the squadron, too.
posted by Sunburnt at 3:55 PM on October 4 [2 favorites]


I love writing letters -- I can do that! And I have some great additional details that they themselves might not know, so this is a great suggestion.

Thank you!
posted by wenestvedt at 5:34 PM on October 4


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