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Thread: Need Photo: Early Thunderbirds Emblem

  1. #1
    Eric Page's Avatar
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    Need Photo: Early Thunderbirds Emblem

    I'm looking for a photo of the earliest version of the USAF Thunderbirds emblem, as used on the F-84 and F-100 (not the very early wings, star and flame, but the bird with "Thunderbirds" in script underneath).

    I've got the huge official image of the present-day emblem from af.mil, but it has the silhouettes of four F-16s in the middle of it. I'm pretty certain the original emblem had something else in the middle, but none of the aircraft photos I have show it clearly enough to make out what it is.

    I've spent over an hour with Google and come up empty. Can anyone help, from your own photo collection?

    Thanks!
    Eric Page
    Member: EAA, AOPA, ALPA, NRA
    ATP: MEL / Comm: SEL, Glider / ATCS: CTO
    Map of Landings

  2. #2

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    Eric, I have an old magazine on the Thunderbirds from 1976. The very early wings emblem (wings star and flame) was used in 1953. The emblem you are looking for was used starting in 1954 and was on both versions of the F-84. The magazine is B&W, and it shows the bird emblem was the same as used later on the F-4's, except the shoulders of the bird are rounded instead of square, and the aircraft inside the star was the F-84 with the straight wing for the F-84G or the swept wing for the F-84F. The emblem had the blue bird, red circle with white star, yellow beak, blue aircraft inside the star, and all of that was on a white disc outlined in a blue circle. Under the circle was "Thunderbirds" in script, and above the circle was "LUKE" in block letters, painted black. On the F-84F, the bottom part of the circle outline between the bird and "Thunderbirds" was removed so that it was the same style as used later on the F-100, F-105, F-4 and T-38. Starting with the F-100 the shoulers on the bird are squared off instead of round. There are not any good photos of the emblem in the magazine - only small B&W drawings with a description of the colors - but I hope this helps.

  3. #3
    Eric Page's Avatar
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    It does indeed. Thanks. I subsequently found a color image on the Air Force Historical Research Agency's website that I thought was the early emblem, but with your description I should be able to put together the correct combination of features. The one I found has simple triangular arrow-heads in the middle instead of airplane silhouettes.

    Looks like you registered just to make this post. Thanks for the effort!
    Last edited by Eric Page; 08-12-2012 at 07:19 PM.
    Eric Page
    Member: EAA, AOPA, ALPA, NRA
    ATP: MEL / Comm: SEL, Glider / ATCS: CTO
    Map of Landings

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