Jump to content

Common patch locations on flight jackets?


Recommended Posts


I got a civilian A-2 jacket last year (the jacket itself is nothing special) and thought it would be fun to sew on two or three patches to give it a more unique look. The patches I'm going to make are from a fictional military, but the "serviceman" would be similar to a US naval aviator. The patch designs I'm kicking around are for squadrons/wings/airforce/etc units, carriers, carrier cruises, aircraft, and others.


So my question is, are there any kind of general patterns for where on a jacket certain types of patches go? I have no intention of "posing", rather I just want the style to be accurate and thought a forum for real militaria would be the place to ask.


Please forgive any incorrect terms or layman misunderstandings. Thanks for the help :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites


The A-2 jacket dates back to the United States Army Air Corps (USAAC)/United States Army Air Force

(USAAF) and was very popular during World War II. I believe that it was back in the 1980s when the A-2

jacket was issued again for nonflying duties and is still in use. For flying duties, the fire

resistant flight jackets such as the CWU-36/P (lightweight/summer) and CWU-45/P (moderate

weight/winter) are used by the United States Air Force, Navy, and Marines. The M-422 series and G-1

flight jackets are used by Naval Aviation (Navy, Marines, Coast Guard) personnel and have a fur collar.

Fire resistant jackets are presently used in Naval Aviation for flying duties. A G-1 was worn in the

movie Top Gun by Tom Cruise. What era/year do you want the jacket to represent? This will help to

determine the nameplate type and patch layout. Does your jacket have side entry pockets for the hands

on the sides of the two front main pockets? I believe that this type of pocket was introduced for the

USAF issue A-2 jacket after the year 2000? planecrazyent.com is a great source for military patches,

especially Naval Aviation ones.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Johnny Signor

The placement for patches on an WW2 A-2 "usually" were , the front had at times 2 patches, the Group and the Squadron , the left sleeve had the AAF winged star Usually a decal type , sometimes the right had a numbered AAF but not too often .Also the name/ID patch over the left pocket close to the collar somewhat .

The WW2 Navy G-1 "usually had one on front the squadron , the name/ID patch in the same area as the AAF one .


Now if you get into the Navy G-1 for recent era, you have the basic same set up as the WW2 , BUT, then you have patches going on the back,sleeves etc , as I have seen many combinations of them , the USAF A-2 usually has just the name/ID patch, the Command patch on the front , but again there are exceptions to this also .


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I posted some photos of the flight jackets that were issued to me or otherwise acquired while I was in the USN and USNR in a topic entitled "A Few Navy Flight Jackets" that at this writing is directly below this one. The images that I presented in that topic show the way that I put patches on my flight jackets during the 1980 to 2000 timeframe.


Generally, my Navy colleagues fell into one of four categories. 1) Those who did not put any patches on their jackets. Mostly these were guys who, counter to regulations, tended to wear their jackets off base with their civilian clothes. Many of them were motorcyclists. 2) Those who went with a name tag only. 3) Those who went with a name tag and one squadron patch (usually but not in all cases their current squadron). 4) Those who put multiple squadron patches and/or other types of patches (like aircraft patches, cruise patches, base patches, qualification patches, etc.) on their jackets.


Normally on the leather G-1s we centered the name tag on the left breast midway between the top of the pocket flap and the top of the zipper (or sometimes a little bit higher). Today the G-1s that the Navy is issuing come with a velcro patch for this purpose but in my day the name tags were mostly sewn directly on the leather. My first G-1, which was issued to me when I was assigned to VP-8 in September 1980, had a velcro patch sewn on it after the fact by the parachute loft and I kept it that way but most of the guys had their name tags sewn directly on to their jackets. This made it kind of difficult to swap out your name tag when any of the things printed on it changed. For example, your rank, squadron, crew position, crew number, etc. The AMEs and PRs in the paraloft who maintained the jackets usually did a good job but sometimes they were careless and you'd see the stitching holes from previous nametags and it kind of ruined the look of the jacket. Some of the guys just had their name and wings put on their name tags so they'd never have to swap them out. Others, expecially in the reserve, had name tags that they never bothered to change and were basically "frozen in time". For example, I flew with a full commander for many years who's name tag on his leather flight jacket still indicated that he was a LT and had his old active duty VF squadron's designation on it.


We usually put our current squadron patch on the right breast, centered along the line of the name tag or sometimes a bit higher. Those persons who wanted a record of all the squadrons that they had been in for everybody to see usually put them on the back of the jacket in some configuration (straight across the shoulders, triangle with the base of the triangle across the shoulders, multiple rows, etc.).


There was greater variation in the Nomex jackets than in the leather jackets, in large part because you didn't have to worry about leaving visible stitching holes in the synthetic material when you switched patches or moved them around as you were re-assigned to different squadrons or crews. In my case, I was one of those #3 guys who preferred one patch and one name tag. I always managed to obtain a new or used leather jacket when I moved from one squadron to another so I did not have to take off the old squadron patch and replace it with the new one. Even on my Nomex jacket, although I put several different patches on it I only used patches that were relevant to the current assignment. Check the "A Few Navy Flight Jackets" topic to see what I mean. At one time when I was in VP-8 I had a Nomex jacket that had the VP-8 squadron patch on the right breast, the nametag on the left breast (on the velcro patch), the triangular VP-8 "tailfeathers" patch between the pocket and the nametag, an American flag on the left shoulder, a P-3 Orion patch on the right shoulder, and a rectangular patch about a foot long that said "Lockheed" on the back between my shoulders.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...