14th Squadron               Activated 1959









Description: This patch is a royal blue triangle, bordered in red, with rounded corners, resting on its base. A gold and silver Polaris is at the vertex. A silver rocket centered in the royal blue field leaves a gold contrail as it ascends. The gold numeral “14” is featured at the lower left-hand corner of the emblem.

Significance: The emblem features four primary colors: red, blue, gold, and silver, signifying the four classes at the Academy. The ascending three-stage rocket depicts a cadet’s progression from officer candidate to Second Lieutenant. The star symbolized the goal of a commission and a career founded on knowledge.

History: This is the squadron’s original patch and was worn until 1969.

  1965 – 1969






Request for Approval 1962








1969     "Cobras"


Description: The patch is a rounded white trapezoid with a light blue border. The upper body and head of an aroused cobra rises from the lower left to the upper right corner. The head and prominent features, such as the scales on the head, body, tongue, and eyes, are outlined in black. The head is rust and gold, and the body and border on the small hood flanges are gold. The eyes and tongue are dark red. A simulated Advanced Manned Strategic Aircraft circles from right to left behind the cobra’s head, crossing in front of the left hood flange and mid-lower body. A red contrail shows the path of the plane. The plane is silver, outlined in black, and the Arabic numeral “14” is set against the right flange of the cobra. The numerals are light blue with white shading.

Significance: The cobra was chosen for its lightning speed and ability. The patch colors represent the four class colors, and the ever-increasing effectiveness of the Air Force, by depicting the AMSA eluding the blinding speed of the cobra and reminds us that we should beware the speed and abilities of our opponents.

History: This is the squadron’s second patch, adopted in late 1968 or early 1969. The Fourteenth Squadron entry in the 1969 Polaris reads, "The new and improved 'Cobra' squadron has become more colorful, more dynamic, and more progressive in fact as well as in patch," clearly announcing a new patch but still depicting the original 14th patch. The new Cobra patch commenced with the 1970 Polaris.

Nicknames: "Cobras"   "Hyper Vipers"

  1970 –


The 14th is celebrating its 14th anniversary this year. The spirit of the squadron is omnipresent in everything the squadron does. The mighty Cobras are sponsored by the 91st Strategic Missile Wing, Minot AFB, North Dakota.  – C3C Brad Simpson, Class of 1976, Falconews, 29 March 1974


The patch of Fourteenth Squadron flaunts the cobra, deliberate and ominous in movement, quick and deadly in the attack. The coiled cobra represents the readiness and lethal strike capability of the United States Air Force. An enemy of the United States would be faced with the power of deadly strikes from lightning-quick aircraft depicted by the jet enveloping the cobra.  – 1975 Polaris


Personal Recollections


Several of us in the Class of 1969 felt that the original patch for 14th was pretty bland and non-descript when we first arrived in the squadron after the “2nd Class Shuffle” in the Fall of 1967. We began to develop various concepts for a new patch for the squadron and ultimately settled on the Cobra. The patch was unofficially adopted in the Spring of 1968 (I think).

The Cobra on the patch was originally a freehand drawing from a picture I found in the Cadet Library. The aircraft on the patch was taken from a concept drawing of what was called the “AMSA,” (Advanced Manned Strategic Aircraft) that we found in a USAF publication at the time. The squadron took a vote on several concept patches and the Cobra was selected. We felt that it gave a much stronger identity for the squadron than the original patch. I’m not certain when the patch was given official approval by the Academy staff.

Sidenote: Our AOC at the time was a Viet Nam veteran and really did not like the Cobra idea at all. He had a strong phobia for the snake based on his experience in Southeast Asia.  – Blair Stephenson, Class of 1969 (April 2003)

(Note: The letter below shows the squadron received the patches about October 1968).


Sketches & Prototypes


This is a design with a confused provenance. A possible explanation (though completely unverified) for this particular rendering, based on an interview with Blair Stephenson, is that the cadets of 14th Squadron submitted their sketch for approval and it was adapted into a standard unit format for final approval (in this case, circular with a lower scroll, although the scroll is blank, suggesting that the design is incomplete).

In the interim, the cadets ordered the patches based on their actual design, not the “official” rendering, and put it into use with the expectation it would be approved as designed. As Blair stated “If I remember correctly, we did not have “official” approval from the Academy or the USAF to make the patch change initially. I think that approval came later, but I don’t recall a specific date. We took the position of “do it, then ask for forgiveness”. 

This rendering ended up in the archives with no explanation. “I don’t know where this patch came from – I’ve never seen that one as far as I can recall," – Blair Stephenson, Class of 1969, (February 2020)

The 2006 Polaris features a brief history of squadron patches and cites this design as in use from 1969 until 1971, although there is no evidence to support this contention. Both the 1970 and 1971 Polaris feature the actual Cobra patch, while the 1969 Polaris shows the original 1962 design.


This photo of 2nd Group plaques shows thie same 14th Squadron rendition. Based on this and the 20th Squadron patch, this grouping should date between about 1969 and 1972.


This photo from the library archives is dated June 1979. The date appears to be roughly appropriate based on the other patches shown (although the Viking Nine patch was adopted about 1980). However, by then, the actual Cobra patch had been in use for about ten years.





Manufacturer Letter 1968

Patch History 1971