USAF Security Forces Wood Police Badge: A Brief History

by Simon Villeneuve      March 10, 2016

 

The United States Air Force (USAF) is a very large and diverse organization—one that requires special services to keep operations running properly so they can continue to maintain air superiority during combat.

United States Air Force Security Forces are the force protection and military police of the United States Air Force. Security Forces, or SF, were formerly known as Military Police (MP), Air Police (AP), and Security Police (SP).

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In early 1943, the first Army Aviation Military Police Companies were established from existing Army MP units. The USAF Security Forces lineage can be traced to its beginning in WWII with the German blitzkrieg. The National Security Act of 1947 established the current United States Department of Defense and formed the United States Air Force from the Army Air Forces as a separate service. MP units serving with the Army Air Corps before this separation were transferred to the Air Force.

One of the distinguishing items that makes the USAF Security Forces stand out among the rest is their use of the blue beret. To date, the U.S. Air Force only has its elite units wearing berets. Those units consist of Pararescue (maroon), Combat Control (scarlet), Combat Weather Jumpers (gray), Tactical Air Control Parties (black) and Security Forces (dark blue).

Their famous tagline, “defensor fortis,” is very fitting of their role and literally means, “strong defender.” It can also be translated to mean, “defenders of the force,” as that’s exactly what these brave men and women do every day—defend the force.

The Air Force Security Police Badge has existed since the early 1960s. The badge is worn in the center of the left shirt pocket of all Air Force uniforms (with the exception of the Mess Dress Uniform) and is the primary identification for officers and enlisted airmen of the Air Force Security Police. It is considered a symbol of legal authority and Force Protection on Air Force Installations and is awarded to all Security Forces (SF) members upon graduation from the Security Forces Academy (Tech school). Each badge is imprinted with a unique number that the Security Forces Member will wear their entire SF career.

Because the badge carries such a high degree of authority and responsibility for everyone who wears it, the Air Force initially feared that SP's could abuse the power that came with the shield. As a result, shields were issued to Squadron Commanders and were squadron property. Each shield was issued to on-duty Security Police at weapons issue and subsequently turned in after each shift of duty. As you can imagine, this only lasted for a period of time.

The badge was a metal shield, worn on both the dress uniform and the fatigues. When worn on the fatigue uniform, the shield was prone to damage from sustained abuse during duty. Therefore, the prized Air Force Security Police Badge appeared unpolished and unprofessional during everyday use.

By 1975, leadership knew a new solution was needed to preserve their pride. A short time after, a fabric patch was initiated on both the dress uniform and the fatigues, which as you might assume, was not easily removable. As such, the USAF Security Forces was forced to reinstate its policy of requiring all member to turn in their shields at the end of duty. To this day, Security Police Shields are personal property and are meant to be worn both on and off duty, on all uniforms.

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In a rave review, Krystle from Oregon, gave our USAF Security Forces Wood Patch 5-stars. “The detail of work is amazing. This looks exactly like the patch worn on berets today. Outstanding work,” she wrote.

Show your Air Force pride with a Patriot Wood USAF Security Forces Wood Patch today!