Insignia, Patches Mark Selfridge Red Devils, A-10s

  • Published
  • By TSgt. Dan Heaton
  • 127th Wing Public Affairs
The Red Devil logo and the "Mors Hostibus" motto has long been the symbol of the 107th Fighter Squadron, one of three current flying squadrons of the Michigan Air National Guard. The logo and related artwork grace the outer skins of the 107th's A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft, as well as the flight suits of the pilots who fly them.

The Latin phrase "Mors Hostibus" translates as "Death to the Enemy."

Since the earliest days of military aviation, insignia has graced the outer skins of U.S. aircraft. Those insignias are also worn as patches on the uniforms of many of the Airmen who fly, maintain and otherwise support the operation of those aircraft. Over the years, the use of patches on Air Force uniforms has waxed and waned. Currently, only those personnel who wear military flight suits are authorized to wear unit patches.

The use of military insignia dates back to the 12 century when helmeted knights adopted the use of insignias and banners so that their comrades in arms would recognize them, despite the fact that the knight's face was covered with a shield. During the Revolutionary War, General Washington authorized the use of insignia to distinguish various ranks among the troops and also authorized the wearing of a purple heart made of cloth on a uniform, to signify those who had been injured in combat. Insignia has been used on military patches in the U.S. ever since.

On May 6, 1918, during World War I, then-Capt. Benjamin Foulois established the policy for insignia of aerial units, declaring that each squadron would have an official insignia painted on the middle of each side of the airplane fuselage. Foulois, who would later rise to become chief of the Air Service in the U.S. Army, ordered that "the squadron will design their own insignia during the period of organizational training. The design must be submitted to the Chief of Air Service, AEF, for approval. The design should be simple enough to be recognizable from a distance."

The attached photos offer a look at many of the patches, aircraft unit insignia and other markings that are used to promote the esprit de corps of the 107th Fighter Squadron and the Airmen who work in support of the squadron's flying mission. The 107th is stationed at Selfridge Air National Guard Base.

Editor's note: A similar photo study on the insignia of the 171st Air Refueling Squadron at Selfridge will be published soon.

Comprised of approximately 1,700 personnel and flying both the A-10 Thunderbolt II and the KC-135 Stratotanker, the 127th Wing supports Air Mobility Command, Air Combat Command and Air Force Special Operation Command by providing highly-skilled Airmen to missions domestically and overseas. The 127th Wing is the host unit at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, which marked its 95th year of continuous military air operations in 2012.