Us Army Air Corps Patch 18th Air Force Original
The shoulder sleeve insignia of the 18. Air Force is one everyone has heard of but seldom seen. This design never received approval from the USAF, and there is speculation that it may have been made for Hollywood, but there is no definitive proof of this. While cheap copies can be found, an original period piece has to be considered rare. The official patch for the 18. Air Force is a totally different design. 18 AF was established and activated 28 March 1951 to discharge Tactical Air Command’s (TAC) troop carrier responsibilities. The organization became operational on 1 June 1951 at Donaldson AFB, South Carolina and initially assumed control of nine “medium” C-119 Flying Boxcar troop carrier wings (314th, 375th, 403d, 433d, 434th, 435th, 443d, 514th and 515th), seven of which were Air Force Reserve wings called to active duty during the Korean War. The command added a “heavy” (C-124 Globemaster) wing, the 62nd Troop Carrier Wing, in Fall 1951 and another in early 1953, the 63rd Troop Carrier Wing. In the spring of 1952, 18 AF C-124 Globemasters were sent to Japan and by July 1952, C-124s from the 22nd Troop Carrier Squadron were flying missions in South Korea. The arrival of the C-124 introduced the aircraft loadmaster position to the troop carrier mission. As the Korean War wound down, C-119 Flying Boxcar crews from the 483rd Troop Carrier Wing began supporting French operations in Indochina. United States Air Force-supplied C-47 Skytrain and C-119s were placed “on-loan” to the French Air Force at Tourane Air Base. By early 1953, the Air Force Reserve wings were replaced by active duty wings organized, administered, equipped, trained, and prepared for combat by 18 AF. Augmented troop carrier forces in the Far East and Europe provided trained crews and replacement personnel to units in the Korean War. The next year, 18 AF C-119s from the 483rd Troop Carrier Wing (and flown by civilian crews employed by Civil Air Transport) airdropped supplies to besieged French paratroops at Dien Bien Phu, Indochina. Some 483rd personnel flew missions in an unofficial capacity and would play key roles in the troop carrier mission in later years. After the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, 374th Troop Carrier Wing and TAC C-124s airlifted wounded French soldiers out of Indochina to Japan. The command also took part in joint exercises and provided support for airborne paratroop training all the while working to improve communications capabilities and to advocate for the inclusion of medical air evacuation in joint exercises. 18 AF also provided airlift support to other Air Force major commands and TAC organizations. The advent of the jet age saw TAC with a new mission, as it became the focal point for a new military philosophy based on the rapid deployment of heavily armed fighter/bomber units and Army airborne and light infantry units to overseas “trouble spots” before conflicts could escalate into full-scale war. 18 AF units supplemented Military Air Transport Service (MATS) airlift when needed and transported U. Air Force units for training and deployment. 18 AF also took deliveries of the Fairchild C-123 Provider, a twin-engine transport designed for assault operations into rudimentary landing zones. With the advent of the C-130, TAC established the Composite Air Strike Force, commonly known as a CASF, which was centered on troop carrier C-130s supplemented by MATS aircraft to deliver personnel and cargo at a moment’s notice to support TAC fighter/bombers at overseas destinations. With these new aircraft, 18 AF units rotated troop carrier units to Europe in support of NATO. The command was heavily committed to airlift operations in Arctic areas beginning in the Fall of 1952. Between 1955 and 1957, the command offloaded and airdropped equipment supporting the construction of the Distant Early Warning Line (DEW Line) radar system across northern Canada. Helicopters of the 310th Troop Carrier Squadron, operating from two icebreakers, provided support airlift to the U. Navy in the HIRAN (High Precision Air Navigation) project in January 1956. The command provided airlift and airlift expertise to the U. Navy in Antarctic Operation Deep Freeze I and II, establishing a base at the South Pole. Crews of the 63rd Troop Carrier Wing performed the first airdrop at the South Pole in October 1956. A combat controller of the 1st Aerial Port Squadron performed the first parachute jump at the South Pole in November 1956 (in order to determine the necessary corrections for ongoing airdrops of equipment). 18 AF also provided airdrop and air support to Alaskan Air Command and Northeast Air Command, from March to early June 1957 in order to establish similar sites on ice islands in north polar regions. The command was also instrumental in the development of the aerial port concept, including techniques and equipment for loading troop carrier aircraft and the airdrop of cargo. 18 AF Airmen also developed the Air Force “pathfinder” combat controller capability to establish ground to air communications and navigation aids at jump sites and to select landing sites. They also carried out fixed wing assault missions using C-123 aircraft for landing on small unimproved landing areas. The command organized the first rotary assault group in the U. Air Force before losing the mission to the U. Army and served as advisory body for reserve troop carrier wings. A realignment of Troop Carrier forces in 1957 led to the reassignment of 18 AF’s C-124 wings to MATS and its headquarters was moved to James Connally AFB, Texas on 1 September. At the same time, Donaldson AFB was turned over to MATS (along with the C-124s and 63d TCW assigned there). At Connally the command gained responsibility for TAC’s day fighter, fighter-bomber, and aerial tanker operations on western U. 18 AF was inactivated effective 1 January 1958 due to budgetary reasons, and its units were reassigned to Twelfth Air Force. The item “US ARMY AIR CORPS PATCH 18TH AIR FORCE ORIGINAL” is in sale since Friday, May 24, 2019. This item is in the category “Collectibles\Militaria\WW II (1939-45)\Original Period Items\United States\Patches”. The seller is “mbpatches” and is located in Aubrey, Texas. This item can be shipped worldwide.