Department of the Air Force directs commanders to review unit emblems, mottos, nicknames, other official symbology

  • Published
  • By Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

The Department of the Air Force directed commanders to conduct a comprehensive review of official and unofficial unit emblems, morale patches, mottos, nicknames, coins and other forms of unit recognition and identity to ensure an inclusive and professional environment within 60 days from Dec. 23, 2020.

Commanders, at the squadron level and above, will remove any visual representation, symbols or language derogatory to any race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, age or disability status to ensure an inclusive and professional environment.

The directive came in the form of a memorandum from Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett, Air Force Chief of Staff Charles Q. Brown, Jr., and Chief of Space Operations John W. Raymond.

“It is critical for the Department of the Air Force to embody an environment of dignity, respect and inclusivity for all Airmen and Guardians,” the memo stated. “Our core values demand we hold ourselves to high standards and maintain a culture of respect and trust in our chain of command.”

According to Air Force Instruction 84-105, “Organizational Lineage, Honors and Heraldry,” emblem designs and mottos should reflect favorably on the United States Air Force, be original, distinctive, dignified, in good taste and non-controversial.

“Their continued use of derogatory symbols and language ostracizes our teammates undermining unit cohesion and impeding our mission readiness and success … Our diversity of experience, culture, demographics and perspectives is a force multiplier and essential to our success in this dynamic global environment … We must ensure all our Airmen and Guardians are valued and respected,” the memo emphasized.

Commanders should consider emblem and motto guidance in Air Force Instruction 84-105 and consult their historians, staff judge advocates and equal opportunity specialists during the review.