Awarded upon completion of 100 alerts. This is the first in the series of ALERTS milestone patches produced in increments of a hundred up through 500. The five patches in the series were unveiled by Maj Gen Anthony Cotton, 20 AF/CC, at the Twentieth Air Force Senior Leadership Conference at F.E. Warren AFB, 18-21 September 2016. The idea for these came from a Force Improvement Program recommendation in 2014 and it was important for the design to come from the crewmembers–the ones performing the mission. The design submitted by 1st Lt Raun Carnley, a Missile Combat Crew Commander in the 320 MS, “was just what 20th AF was looking for…. [It] stood out among the rest,” according to a 20 AF spokesperson. The “100” and the contrail of the RV are both white on this version of the patch. Patch donated by Monte Watts in October 2016.
Alerts – Dispatches – Missions
This NAF created an assortment of this type of patch, each depicting a different type of aircraft flown by Eighth Air Force personnel. This particular version features an EC/KC-135 and was worn by, among others, ALCS personnel who flew on the various models of the EC-135. Like this NAF’s Missile Crew Member patch, longevity rockers were made to accompany the basic patch, but unlike those for the missile crew members that indicated years, these indicated hours in increments of 500, maxing out at 5000+ (these denoted accumulated flight durations).
This patch was worn by missileers assigned to Eighth Air Force missile units. The patch purportedly depicts a Titan II missile, and this is supported by the fact that the patch first showed up at the Titan wings (circa 1983). Although it’s apparently a Titan patch, it is known to have been worn at Minuteman units in this NAF as well. The missile represents the NAF’s ICBMs and the target above it symbolizes bull’s-eye accuracy. These patches have been observed in bright yellow and also in a more attractive golden orange. A crown and rockers were available for wear with the basic Eighth Air Force missile patch, although crew members at one or two of the Titan wings claim they never saw them (rocker wear could be confirmed only at McConnell). These segments were as follows: CREW COMMANDER – This particular crown patch was issued to the Titan crew commander–the ranking officer on the four-person crew. TWO YEARS – An assortment of rockers denoted longevity. The first one usually earned was this TWO YEARS rocker; subsequent rockers were issued in two-year increments, as follows: FOUR YEARS, SIX YEARS, EIGHT YEARS, and TEN+ YEARS. The “+” symbol on the Ten Years rocker negated the need for rockers in any higher increments.
The silver metal star devices were sometimes replaced by embroidered silver stars, as can be seen on this patch that depicts either 7,000 hours of flying time or, for Missile Combat Crew Members–Airborne, a tally of 400 alerts. Week-long alerts, which were typical for aircrews, were counted as seven alerts by missileers because the typical underground missile alert at the time was a 24-hour period, or one day, and if foul weather resulted in a 48-hour alert, it was counted as two alerts, even though it had been “signed for” only once. NOTE: To denote alert totals, metal stars were also added to the Missile Crew SAC Warrior patch, which is covered in the MAJCOMs album in the Higher Headquarters section because it was worn without any stars by those who did not yet qualify for one–and it was not initially intended primarily as an alerts tally patch.
Three gold stars have been added to each laurel branch on this version. (See entry for the 100 Missions version for additional info.)
In addition to changing the 100 to 200, this version also added laurel branches to the border. (See entry for the 100 Missions version for additional info.)
This patch was produced commercially by the Mercenary Missileer company and marketed to individual crew members at any and all missile wings. It debuted around Y2K, while the wings were still designated Space Wings and after they had completed the REACT upgrade, and was intended to commemorate completion of 100 Missions (underground alerts). The LCC depicted on the patch contains a REACT console with two stick figures on either side of it representing the two crew members, but there is no mention of REACT on the patch. Because there is no organizational designation displayed on the patch, other than “US AIR FORCE,” or any specific geographical region (just the CONUS), it is generic enough to be used at any of the Minuteman bases. It even may have been worn by members of the Peacekeeper-equipped 400 MS if they were willing to ignore the REACT console and the Minuteman missile depicted on the patch. The border contains the inscription “STRATEGIC ALERT” (above) and “100 MISSIONS” (below). Similar patches were made for completion of 200 and 300 missions.