Your 'new' AFDW patch

BOLLING AIR FORCE BASE, D.C. -- All service members assigned to the 11th Wing will need to update their uniforms with the "new" Air Force District of Washington patch before April 1.

Senior Master Sgt. Christopher Landis, superintendent of the 11th Mission Support Squadron military personnel flight at Bolling, coordinated the creation of the supplement to Air Force Instruction 36-2903, Dress and Appearance of Air Force Personnel, which went into effect on June 7, 2005.

The patch is the same design members of AFDW wore from Oct. 1, 1985 until the organization was deactivated on July 15, 1994.

"The idea behind having a unit shield dates back to medieval Europe," said Andy Stephens, 11th Wing historian. "The emblem on a knight's shield indicated what family was represented on the battlefield. All knights were required to be familiar with the emblems of the families serving alongside them. It's in that spirit why all Airmen have a unit shield today. Instead of a family emblem, we have unit emblems, reflecting the fact that wings are 'families' and fight with a single heart and mind. The AFDW emblem is a major command shield, indicating a higher-level organization and a larger 'family.'

"There is a historical precedent for why an Airman should always wear the shield emblem of their own organization and their major command," Mr. Stephens continued. "Going back to medieval times, if a knight lost his shield, he would be branded a coward since the heavy weight of the shield would hinder a knight's retreat and he could only escape by dropping it. The idea back then was to hold your position at all costs or fall where you fought. Knights were told by the patriarchs of their families to return with your shield -- or on it. Knights who hung onto their shield at all costs were often bragged about in family lore. We wear shield emblems today to say we're proud of the people who have come before and 'fought' for that shield."

Over 5,000 patches have been ordered, enough for every 11th Wing service member and the new AFDW staff at Andrews AFB, Md.