WWII USAAF 8th Air Force Patch

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Original World War Two US Army Air Forces 8th Air Force shoulder sleeve insignia patch.

Azure, in the lower lobe of the winged Arabic numeral “8” or a mullet throughout argent charged with a torteaux. (Approved 20 May 1943.)

In World War II, the Eighth Air Force earned its reputation as an exceptional fighting force. It was first established in Savannah, Georgia on January 28, 1942 by the U.S. Army Air Forces. The Eighth had three main subordinate units: the VIII Bomber Command (BC), the VIII Fighter Command (FC), and the VIII Ground Air Services Command (GASC).

Under the leadership of General’s such as Ira Eaker and Jimmy Doolittle, the VIII BC (then Eighth Air Force) formed the greatest air armada in history. By mid-1944, the unit had a total strength of more than 200,000 people, and it could send more than 2,000 four-engine bombers and 1,000 fighters on a single mission against enemy targets in Europe. For this reason, Eighth Air Force is commonly known as the "Mighty Eighth."

From May 1942 to July 1945, the Eighth executed an impressive war campaign against Nazi-occupied Europe through America's daylight strategic bombing. Despite this record, the organization faced a high cost, with nearly half of the U.S. Army Air Force's casualties (47,483 out of 115,332) and over 26,000 fatalities. The bravery of the Eighth's men was recognized through 17 Medals of Honor, 220 Distinguished Service Crosses, and 442,000 Air Medals. Additionally, the Eighth produced 566 aces (261 fighter pilots with 31 achieving 15 or more victories and 305 enlisted gunners), made over 440,000 bomber sorties to drop 697,000 tons of bombs, and experienced over 5,100 aircraft losses and 11,200 aerial victories during combat.

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