More than a patch: What is your squadron’s heritage?

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Jason Ellis
  • 325th Weapons Squadron commander
The chief of staff of the Air Force recently authorized the wear of the Operational Camouflage Pattern uniform, which is not only a significant shift to a more practical and combat-effective uniform, but also allows you to proudly display your unit’s emblem. This is another important step in the revitalization of the squadron and, just like back in the days of Battle Dress Uniforms, you are now authorized to wear your squadron’s patch on your uniform. However, do you fully understand the importance of your squadron’s heritage and what that patch resembles?

If not, take a few minutes and research your organization’s history and legacy. Heritage is an important part of all military organizations and it is important to understand how it provides a better sense of belonging, cohesiveness and unity. By understanding this, you’ll realize it is bigger than you, while at the same time, it is ultimately up to you to leave it in a better place. Heritage should be viewed with a sense of pride. Do the greatest thing possible and be part of something larger.

I would like to take this opportunity to tell you the importance of the 325th Weapons Squadron, its heritage and the emblem’s significance. First, the caveman on our patch (also known as Alley Oop, which is a comic strip character) symbolizes strength, natural instincts and inherent abilities to adapt to and overcome the harshest conditions.
History of the 325th includes multiple combat deployments during WWII, the Korean and Vietnam Wars, and Operations Allied Force, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. The unit has flown several aircraft to include the B-17, B-29, B-36, B-52 and now the B-2.

The caveman’s club symbolizes the ability to strike first and strike hard, clearing the way for all forces that follow. The tiger the caveman is sitting on signifies the unit’s capability to reach any place at any time, providing the battlefield support necessary for a decisive and dominant victory. What could better signify the Air Force Global Strike mission of the B-2?

In 2005, the 325th transitioned missions from an operational bomb squadron to a formal training unit; however, its customers are the 509th Bomb Wing and our mission is to provide the wing with the tactical experts and leaders required to employ the B-2 in future combat operations. Recent graduates of the program have planned and flown combat sorties during Operations Odyssey Dawn and Odyssey Lightning.

As a tenant unit to the USAF Weapons School, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, we strive to instill in our students how to live up to “the patch” and ensure they leave it in a better place, because in the end, it is bigger than them. It is up to them to understand that not one person can get the job done, but it takes a dedicated and professional team from all backgrounds to successfully accomplish the mission.
Now go wear your unit’s patch proudly and live up to the legacy!