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Pen Pocket
These patches were not seen on the uniforms of missileers until after the one-piece “blue bag” replaced the two-piece “crew blues” in 1989 because the older uniform did not have a pocket on the arm. The “bags” did, however, and it wasn’t long before the flap, secured with a hook-and-loop fastener, that was intended to keep pencils and pens in the pocket but seemed to always get caught on something, was unceremoniously snipped off, leaving the loop portion of the fastener material exposed. Enterprising individuals soon put the remnant to good use by having same-sized patches made to attach there. These seemed to become even more popular after the transition from the “blue bags” to the “green bags” on 1 October 2000. Most of the pen pocket patches (referred to as “triple-P’s” by some) are exactly the same shape and size as the fastener material, but others have irregular, laser-cut edges. A few have been designed as “convertible” patches, saying one thing when worn one way, and something else when turned upside-down. Many have been made in unit colors, while the colors of others served a different purpose. Although wear of these patches is sanctioned, they are considered unofficial morale patches because none has been officially approved by the Air Force.
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