Air Force to Commanders: Ditch Politically Incorrect Heraldry, Honors

Air Force Secretary Barbara M. Barrett, USAF Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., and Space Force Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond have instructed commanders to review every visual symbol, turn of phrase, and other form “of unit recognition and identity” to make sure they’re in line with the Department of the Air Force’s effort to increase inclusion among its ranks.

“Commanders, at the squadron level and above, will remove any visual representation, symbols, or language derogatory to any race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, age, or disability status to ensure an inclusive and professional environment,” a Jan. 5 release from the department states.

These reviews must examine everything from unit nicknames and official sayings to emblems (both sanctioned and otherwise), including challenge coins and morale patches, and be completed “within 60 days from Dec. 23, 2020.”

The leaders said use of such wording and imagery is detrimental to “unit cohesion,” and can get in the way of readiness.

“Commanders should consider emblem and motto guidance in [Air Force Instruction 84-105, “Organizational Lineage, Honors, and Heraldry,”] and consult their historians, staff judge advocates, and equal opportunity specialists during the review,” it adds. 

The memo follows the Dec. 21 publication of The Air Force Inspector General’s Independent Racial Disparity Review, which showed widespread racial disparities within the department.