UNITED STATES ARMY AIR FORCES
 


 
DISTINGUISHING FLAGS & GUIDONS  •  EIGHTH AIR FORCE  •  WORLD WAR II

 

In June 1944 the Eighth Air Force of the United States Strategic Air Force (USSTAF) in Europe was headquartered at High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, in the United Kingdom. Its commander was Lieutenant General Jimmy Dolittle, who had led the audacious and famed Dolittle Raid on Japan in 1942. The Mighty Eighth was organized with three bombardment divisions (1st, 2nd and 3rd), each with four heavy bomb wings equipped with either B-17 or B-24 aircraft. VIII Fighter Command had three fighter wings equipped with P-38, P-47 and P-51 aircraft. VIII Composite Command embodied a number of specialized units: pathfinders, radar countermeasures, clandestine operations, replacement and training, etc., flying a variety of aircraft. There were also a number of provisional units, e.g. the separate 8th Reconnaissance Wing, Finally, VIII Service Command provided logistical support. All headquarters down to the group level had a headquarters squadron (HHS). Because of the highly technical nature of air operations there were many specialized service and support units difficult to categorize, e.g. the 41st Altitude Training Unit under Eighth Air Force HQ. Such units probably had the guidon shown below for "other aviation detachments": with the Air Corps branch insignia but no other markings. Also, many of the service and support units were split into detachments, e.g. the 985th Military Police Company (Aviation) of the 1st Bombardment Division had eight detachments serving at the division's various air bases.

Units belonging to the US Army Air Corps had flags and guidons based on the colors ultramarine blue and golden orange, the Air Corps branch colors. These were used also for flags of United States Army Air Forces units, i.e. wings and above. Those units, mostly service and support, that did not belong to the Air Corps had flags and guidons of the designs authorized for their parent branches. In principle all USAAC groups were entitled to silk organizational colors but how many of these were actually issued during the enormous wartime expansion of the air forces is a doubtful question. According to Army regulations provisional units were not entitled to flags or guidons, though perhaps in some cases the unmarked Air Corps guidon was used.

USAAF distinguishing flags were made of wool bunting, 3 feet at the hoist by 4 feet on the fly. They were always carried or displayed with a National Standard, Service, made of wool bunting, 3 feet at the hoist by 4 feet on the fly plus 2 1/2-inch yellow silk fringe.

Credits: The drawings on this page are based on the specifications given in Army Regulation 260-10 dated 25 October 1944, a copy of which was kindly provided by FOTW Mailing List member Joseph McMillan. Order of battle information was culled from Dr. Leo Niehorster’s outstanding and essential website, World War II Armed Forces: Orders of Battle and Organizations.
 


 

NATIONAL STANDARD, SERVICE & DISTINGUISHING FLAGS

 

         

EIGHTH AIR FORCE

 

1st BOMBARDMENT DIVISION

 

2nd BOMBARDMENT DIVISION

 

3rd BOMBARDMENT DIVISION

 

VIII FIGHTER COMMAND

 

VIII COMPOSITE COMMAND

 

VIII SERVICE COMMAND

 

HEADQUARTERS ELEMENT GUIDONS

 

HHS, EIGHTH AIR FORCE

 

HHS, 1st BOMBARDMENT DIVISION

 

HHS, 2nd BOMBARDMENT DIVISION

 

HHS, 3rd BOMBARDMENT DIVISION

 

HHS, VIII FIGHTER COMMAND

 

HHS, VIII COMPOSITE COMMAND

 

HHS, VIII SERVICE COMMAND

 

SERVICE & SUPPORT UNIT GUIDONS

 

1st PHOTO TECHNICAL SQUADRON

 

2nd PHOTO TECHNICAL SQUADRON

 

417th SIGNAL BATTALION (AVIATION)

 

AVIATION MEDICAL DETACHMENT

 

AVIATION VETERINARY DETACHMENT

 

OTHER AVIATION DETACHMENTS

 

1153rd QUARTERMASTER COMPANY
(AVIATION)

 

1245th QUARTERMASTER COMPANY
(AVIATION)

 

1458th ORDNANCE COMPANY (AVIATION)
 

 

942nd ENGINEER BATTALION (TOPOGRAPHICAL) (AVIATION)
 

 

896th MILITARY POLICE COMPANY (AVIATION)
 



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