WWII USAAF 5th Air Force Patch

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Original World War Two US Army Air Forces 5th Air Force shoulder sleeve insignia patch.

On Feb. 5, 1942, FEAF received its numerical designation, becoming “5 Air Force” and then “Fifth Air Force” September 18 while under the command of Lt. Gen. George C. Kenney. By this time, Fifth Air Force and other Allied air, land, and sea forces had stalled the enemy juggernaut and subsequently began the long counteroffensive to liberate the Southwest Pacific region from the Japanese.

From 1942 to the end of the war, Fifth Air Force under General Kenney served as the flying vanguard for General Douglas MacArthur’s island-hopping campaign, driving enemy forces out of New Guinea, the Bismarck Sea, and the Philippines. Shortly before the Japanese surrender, Fifth Air Force established its headquarters on Japanese soil for the first time, operating out of Hamasaki, Okinawa.  Fifth Air Force accomplishments by the end of World War II included 3,445 aerial victories and ten Medal of Honor recipients, two of whom were the highest-scoring aces in U.S. history, Maj Richard Bong (40 confirmed victories) and Maj Thomas McGuire (38 confirmed victories). 

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