19th Squadron               Activated 1960








1962     "Playboy Nineteen"

Description: The patch is a white, circular emblem, bordered in blue. A blue Playboy bunny is in the center. A falcon clutching two silver lightning bolts is in front of the bunny. The numeral “19” is in the form of dark blue lightning bolts and is to the left of the falcon. Polaris, highlighted by the colors red, blue, silver, and gold, is in front of the falcon.

Significance: The colors red, blue, silver, and gold represent the four classes. The falcon is the Academy mascot and represents a commitment to the Academy’s ideals. The playboy bunny depicts the squadron’s nickname at this time: “Playboy Nineteen.”

History: This was the squadron’s original patch.

Nickname: "Playboy Nineteen"



Personal Recollections


As I recall 19th Squadron had the first squadron patch. We had some made up and sewed them on our athletic jackets. The rest of the Wing and the Commandants office were so impressed that all squadrons were directed to invent squadron patches and add them to their athletic jackets. – Gary Ganong, Class of 1964



In our first year with 19th Squadron, one of the wing-wide “things” just getting started was to have a squadron patch. Due to the avocation of some of our worthy upper class forebears, 19th Squadron was already known as the Playboy Squadron, probably not imagining that such a nickname could turn into a defining element for a whole group of cadets. But it did. And sometime during that year, probably during the Jan-Feb 1961 “dark ages,” there became a groundswell of opinion in 19 that a patch would be nice to have. Since I had already designed and purchased patches in bulk in my Boy Scout days, for me it was simply “once more with feeling”—and so I designed the original Playboy 19 patch, shown here. Design elements: a Falcon clasping lightning bolts overlaid on a Playboy bunny, plus a Polaris four-pointed star, with each star point having a class color on one side and a common silver/gray on the other, and a 19 in blue lightning. Relatively simple. The approved patch (was it ever really approved? I don't think so…) was ordered initially from Lion Brothers in Owings Mills MD, just like my previous patches had been, and amazingly, that company is still in business to this day. The patch was a success, and soon thereafter a beret pin followed, and eventually numerous other likenesses of the same basic design. I have been told that, years later, Playboy Enterprises complained, or threatened legal action, or else maybe someone in the Air Force higher-up chain of command decided that would sound like a good excuse, or whatever. But the original Playboy 19 patch was retired, long after we were gone and in the Air Force, replaced by more politically acceptable images and mottos. But ah, before then, those were the days.  – James Graham, Class of 1964 (Class of 1964 Website)



I certainly don't want to take any credit away from [Jim] Graham, but my wife, who worked in the Political Science Department at the time, recalls that I did design the [original] patch. In fact, we have coffee mugs depicting the patch as well as some of the original patches. I can recall that in the squadron dayroom in the corner room of the squadron area we had the patch imbedded in the linoleum floor. I'm just glad we both had a part in the design of a really cool patch and we were one of the first squadrons to do so!  – George Ward Jr., Class of 1964



My recollection of the patch design was that you [George Ward] came up with the first patch. Then Jim Graham added the Polaris Star and the Falcon and made some other changes. I think that I had your patch on my athletic jacket and had to remove it and sew Jim’s patch on instead, when the switch was made. I do not recall the motivation of the design change. It may have been pressure from the Commandant’s office to be more politically correct, although no such language was in use then. – Gary Ganong, Class of 1964


I remember that ’63 was enormously (perversely ??) proud the 19th was labeled “Playboy” squadron, by profs and AOCs, more as a sneering criticism than a compliment – and as a bunch of young stupid noisy teenagers (except Bushnell), we eagerly and proudly adopted the title. A lot of the other squadrons (especially 20th) immediately picked up on the intended criticism/insulting nature of the word and took joy in joining the insults – which of course made us revel it more.

I vaguely remember the patch on the left, but no memory of who/when. The one on the right was produced by our resident artist/genius, Jim Graham – and as far as I can recall, became our “official” patch if for no other reason, we all shelled out to buy 2 inch cloth version to sew on every thing we could get away with, and then the 1-1/2 inch enameled “brooch” version for those of us goofy enough to wear berets (remember, this was in the John Wayne Special Forces days); I wore mine on my USAFA Survival Instructor Beret with my jump wings, and unfortunately lost my copy of the authorizing letter the Army sent to us specifically authorizing we Instructors to wear their green beret.

I would observe that the playboy patch development in no way shape or form followed any of the more civilized guidelines or concepts ([Hector] Negroni was 100% correct). And, since ’63 was the loudest voice pushing “playboy,” I think first use of the left-side patch would be spring ’61, and the right side patch spring or fall ’62. I know I was wearing them on anything I could (I complied with Negroni, whom you DID NOT want to cross) spring and summer 1963 (i.e., Special Forces beret during Survival Training instructor tour.

This is a picture of Dan Kearns in a grubby flight suit, probably after summer ’63 (after our “3rd Lt” tour), in which you can see part of the patch, which clearly shows the “19” matching the configuration of the patch on the left. – Jeff Gordon, Class of 1964



I only remember the one on the right. My parents moved to Chicago sometime during our doolie year. I remember taking our patch to the Playboy headquarters in Chicago and showing it to Anson Mount. He thought it was great but legally couldn’t authorize our use of the bunny. – Mike Robbins, Class of 1964


I do recall that left version. You mentioned Chicago, which reminded me of the Playboy hat I got from the Playboy Club. Also, I am sure we had our patch on the zipper jackets. I don’t recall Negroni ever having an issue with it.  – Keith Luchtel, Class of 1964



I agree that the patch on the right was the one that Jim [Graham] designed and that we wore on our Blue zipper jacket, Have never seen the other one and think it might have been a one-off design that never went any further. We had it from the end of our first year through graduation and I think it lasted for awhile after that before it became too politically incorrect for the brass to tolerate. When I was stationed there in 1970-74, I believe the patch had already been changed at least once. I also helped Jim and others (can't remember who) embed it into our squadron break room floor when we were second classmen. Jim and I searched for it at one of our early reunions but they had carpeted the break room floor and had glued the carpet down so it was also probably removed when the patch changed. That's the best that I can do with old memories. – Jim Pierce, Class of 1964





Request for Approval 1961








Falconews     28 Sep 62
George Ward Jr. Class of '64


1963     "Playboy Nineteen"

Description: The patch is a white, circular emblem, bordered in blue. A light blue Playboy bunny is in the center. A falcon clutching two silver lightning bolts is in front of the bunny. The numeral “19” is in the form of dark blue lightning bolts and is above the falcon. Polaris, highlighted by the colors red, blue, silver, and gold, is to the left.

Significance: The colors red, blue, silver, and gold represent the four classes. The falcon is the Academy mascot and represents a commitment to the Academy’s ideals. The playboy bunny depicts the squadron’s nickname at this time: “Playboy Nineteen.”

History: This was the squadron's second patch, which is a modified version of the squadron’s original design.

Nickname: "Playboy Nineteen"

1965 – 1968





Request for Approval 1962

Playboy Correspondence







1968      "Playboy Nineteen"

Description: This patch is a circular emblem with a dark blue field bordered in gold. A silver falcon holding a gold sabre is in the center. A gold Polaris, with red, gold, and silver stars above it, is to the left of the falcon. The Arabic numerals “1” and “9” are on either side of the falcon.

Significance: The falcon represents the Air Force Academy mascot. Polaris and the sabre are colored gold in honor of the graduating class that designed the patch. Polaris represents the guiding star while the sabre represents the cadet way of life and the military profession. The color of the blue field and the three stars represent all the class colors. The Arabic numerals “19” represent the Nineteenth Cadet Squadron.

History: This is the squadron’s third patch.

Nickname: "Playboy Nineteen"

1969 – 1976




The 19th Squadron with their ability to make the best of a situation has usually placed high in Honor Squadron competition. They took the competition in 1972. They are sponsored by the San Antonio Air Materiel Area, Kelly AFB, Texas.  – C3C Robert Iverson, Class of 1976, Falconews, 29 March 1974


The three small stars located above the white-feathered warhawk represent knowledge, leadership, and brotherhood. Knowledge is represented by the white star, white being the color associated with truth. The gold star represents excellence in leadership, and the red star represents the blood-tie with former graduates. When we graduate from the Academy, we will pick up the sword from the claws of the warhawk and we will use it to defend our county.  – 1975 Polaris


Sketches & Prototypes


According to Wing Heritage, this design was believed to be an interim patch used in 1968, however it appears to exist only in sketch form, indicating it was likely a prototype drawing. There is no record or evidence of it ever being adopted for use, although it does incorporate many of the elements of the "Playboy 19" patches and the design finally adopted in 1968.

Description: The emblem is a white circular patch edged in blue. A falcon clutching a sabre is in the center. The blue Arabic numeral “19” is superimposed on the falcon. Polaris, with three small red, gold, and blue stars superimposed on it, is to the falcon’s left. The sabre, falcon, and Polaris are silver in color. A blue scroll at the top of the patch is inscribed with the words “AMOR ET” and a blue scroll at the bottom is inscribed with the word “BELLUM.”

Significance: The falcon represents power and strength. The sabre symbolizes the cadet way of life. Polaris depicts the knowledge gained at the Academy and the pursuit of high goals. The words “AMOR ET BELLUM” mean “Love and War.”

1976     "Starship Nineteen"

Description: The patch is a black circular emblem bordered by two small semi-circular curved emblems on the top and bottom. The inscription “STARSHIP 19” is located in the top emblem. The inscription “WHERE NO MAN HAS GONE BEFORE” is inside the lower emblem. A white starship outlined in black with red highlights is positioned in the left of center of the patch. The starship orbits a celestial body located in the lower right corner of the patch. There are three landmasses, camouflaged green, displayed with blue water between them. Three silver, red, and gold five-point stars are in the night sky in the top of the patch. A four-point blue Polaris star is to the right of the three stars. The patch is bordered in white which sets off the semi-circular curved emblems from the rest of the patch.

Significance: The overall theme of the patch suggests man’s future conquest of space, the final mysterious frontier. The four stars represent each of the class colors at the Air Force Academy and the importance of the unity of all classes. The blue star is in the shape of Polaris to represent the class color of the Class of 1976, the class responsible for designing the patch.

History: This is the fourth patch used by the squadron and was designed by Brent Glines, Class of 1976.

Nickname: "Starship Nineteen"

1977 – 1991




Personal Recollections


The new patch was required when the old Playboy 19 squadron was broken up. I was drafted into the new squadron from CS-15. I submitted a number of proposed patch designs, but Starship 19 was the runaway favorite. The AOC required me to write Gene Roddenberry a letter seeking permission to use the design. Gene was a WWII bomber pilot, and he was delighted. My letter (signed by the Squadron First Sergeant) was printed in a paperback book "Letters To Star Trek" written by his secretary, along with his reply [Transcripts Below]. – Brent Glines, Class of 1976 (January 2020)


Mr. Roddenberry,

The Nineteenth Cadet Squadron recently approved a new squadron patch designed by C1C Brent Glines, which includes a starship as the central figure. The attachment is a photostatic copy of the proposed patch. We are presently awaiting permission from Mr. Gene Roddenberry and from our own Uniform Board before allowing the one hundred members of the Nineteenth Cadet Squadron to wear the patch.

Sincerely, Stephen M. Hearlt, C2C, USAFA



Dear Stephen,

You not only have my permission to use our starship on your squadron patch, but also my very best wishes to the entire group and its officers. May it convey good luck in carrying you all to places in both inner and outer space, "where no man has gone before."

It is a particular pleasure for me to grant this permission, since I once flew for our country in what was then known as the Army Air Corps, graduating in Class 42G from Kelly Field, and serving through the war in both combat and Stateside assignments. I still get a sentimental and warm feeling when I hear the music and words "Off we go..." and I'm sure that background had much to do with the creation of Star Trek.

Fraternally Yours,
Gene Roddenberry


1992     "Wolverines"

Description: The Wolverines’ patch is a blue circle with a white moon slightly off-center. A gray wolverine’s head with gold sideburns and ear, with a red eye and tongue fills the circle and is highlighted against the moon.

History: This is the fifth patch in the squadron's history.

Nickname: "Wolverines"