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The United States Air Force Symbol is the symbol of the United States Air Force. It was introduced in January 2000. Guidelines that outlined appropriate uses for the new Air Force symbol were released March 23. The symbol was first tested on gates and water towers in August.
In the late 1990s, Air Force senior leadership recognized the need to design an official symbol and develop a centralized theme to encourage young people to join, encourage airmen to stay, and to build understanding, appreciation, and support for America's Air Force. They directed a commercial company, specializing in corporate branding, to research and develop a unique symbol. Company representatives traveled throughout the Air Force and to major U.S. cities to conduct research and become intimately familiar with the Air Force and its culture, environment, and heritage.
The new Air Force symbol is based on the familiar World War II "Hap" Arnold wings and represents the service's heritage. The symbol’s modern design represents the Air Force’s present and future leading edge capabilities defending the United States.
The U.S. Air Force symbol honors the heritage of the past and represents the promise of the future. It retains the core elements of the Air Corps heritage -- the "Arnold" wings and star with circle -- and modernizes them to reflect the air and space force of today and tomorrow.
The symbol has two main parts. In the upper half, the stylized wings represent the stripes of our strength -- the enlisted men and women of the force. They are drawn with great angularity to emphasize swiftness and power, and they are divided into six sections which represent the USAF's distinctive capabilities -- air and space superiority, global attack, rapid global mobility, precision engagement, information superiority, and agile combat support.
In the lower half are a sphere, a star, and three diamonds. The sphere within the star represents the globe. It reminds of the challenge of the expeditionary force to respond rapidly to crises and to provide decisive aerospace power, worldwide.
The area surrounding the sphere takes the shape of a star. The star has many meanings. Its five points represent the components of the Total Force and family: active duty, civilians, Guard, Reserve, and retirees. The star symbolizes space as the high ground of the United States' air and space force. The rallying symbol in U.S wars, the star also represents the officer corps.
The star is framed with three diamonds, which represent the Air Force's core values -- integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do. The elements come together to form one symbol that presents two powerful images -- at once it is an eagle, the emblem of the U.S., and a medal, representing valor in service to the nation.
The Air Force Symbol is NOT public domain. People wishing to use the Air Force Symbol need to enter a license agreement with the Air Force. (see below)