Air Force Seal

Air Force Seal

SYMBOLISM OF THE GREAT SEAL OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE

The symbolism incorporated in the Great seal of the Department of the Air Force is as follows:

1. The predominant colors, ultramarine blue and gold, are the colors of the Air Force through transition from the Air Corps.

2. The 13 stars represent the Thirteen Original Colonies of the United States. The grouping of three stars at the top of the design portrays the three Departments of the National Defense Establishment, Army, Navy, and Air Force.

3. The crest includes the American Bald Eagle, which is the symbol of the United States and air striking power. The cloud formation depicts the creation of a new firmament, and the wreath, composed of six alternate folds of silver and blue, incorporate the colors of the basic shield design.

4. The shield, divided with the nebuly line formation, representing clouds, is charged with the heraldic thunderbolt. The thunderbolt portrays striking power through the medium of air.

5. The Roman numerals beneath the shield indicate the year 1947, in which the Department of the Air Force was established.

6. On a band encircling the whole is the inscription "Department of the Air Force" and "United States of America".

The entire design used on the shield of the Air Force Seal is taken from an heraldic representation of the mythological thunderbolt, also termed Jupiter's thunderbolt,. Jupiter was the Roman mythological God of the Heavens. At the honor point of the shield is a lightning bolt or elongated projectile-like mass, conceived of as the missile cast to earth in the lightning flash. The word thunderbolt--a single discharge of lightning with the accompanying thunder--derived from the idea that lightning was a bolt thrown to earth by a god.The pair of wings and smaller lightning flashes surrounding the bolt complete the design.

The eagle's head is turned to the right and symbolizes facing the enemy--looking toward the future and not dwelling on past deeds.

Above Information Provided by the Air Force History Office
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