History of the 352nd FG Squadron Shields
An excerpt from the book "The Blue Nosed Bastards of Bodney".
The 352nd Fighter Group (like many of the fighter and bomber groups formed at that time) had no
officially approved insignia during WWII. It was constituted September 29, 1942 and activated
on October 1, 1942 with three fighter squadrons - the 31st (later redesignated as the 486th);
the 34th (later to be designated as the 487th FS); and the 328th (newly formed). An official
insignia was approved March 9, 1954, according to "Air Force Combat Units of WWII" edited
by Maurer Maurer and published by the Office of Air Force History. This insignia is an azure
shield on which is a stylized, swept-wing jet aircraft climbing between and above two silver
clouds pierced by lightning flashes. Two stars are equally spaced at the top of the shield with
three others at the base. A symbolic ribbon borders the base of the shield and carries the motto:
Custodes pro Defensione (Guardians for Defence). At the time this insignia was approved,
the 352nd had been redesignated as the
113th Fighter-Bomber Group allotted to the Air National Guard, Washington, D.C.
(Since this insignia was not in use during WWII, it is not an official insignia for that period.)
328th Fighter Squadron
The insignia submitted to Washington (but never approved) was adopted by the 328th as its
unofficial insignia. It was designed by Stephen B. Kirkel and his original sketch was
titled: "The Spirit of Damon and Pythias - Fighter Escorting 'Big Friend'." It carried the
legend: "Each would have willingly sacrificed his life for the other." The sketch also
designated the color scheme.
There is no evidence that this insignia was ever painted in color during WWII, and Steve
Kirkel does not remember ever doing "finished art." Kirkel redrew the insignia (using color
pencils) in 1988. In the meantime, Honorary Associate Sam Sox painted the insignia in full
color using the original Kirkel sketch and color information.
486th Fighter Squadron
The original insignia of the 486th was the insignia of the "Fightin' 21st", and consisted
of the profiled head of an Indian superimposed on an outlined white cloud with his braided hair
and the feathers of his headband streaming back as though windblown. Behind and extending
above his head is a thong-bound tomahawk, its handle extending behind and below the head.
Early members of the 486th wore this insignia on their jackets.
After the 21st was redesignated as the 486th FS, however, and the Squadron went overseas, a new
insignia was designed and, although never officially approved by Washington, became the unofficial
insignia of the 486th. The insignia, like the 328th's, was not known to have been reproduced
in color during the war. However, it was used as the Squadron's insignia in it's Squadron history
published in 1945 for the 486th personnel. In researching for this history, however, the
insignia designer, Leo R. Johnson, provided the original color scheme, and the insignia
was painted in color on leather by Sam Sox. Like the 328th insignia, it is published
in this history in color for the first time.
487th Fighter Squadron
The only officially approved insignia worn by members of the 352nd (except for the 21st) was
designed by Sam Perry. Sam completed the artwork from photographs of Lt Karl M. Waldron, Jr,
a 487th pilot who posed in a diaper as the "little bastard" carrying the machine gun in the
insignia. This design and that reference may have contributed to the origin of the
Group's recognition as the "Bluenosed Bastards of Bodney". However, the preferred origin
of this title is the legend that Hermann Goering, who headed up Germany's Luftwaffe, once
said: "I knew the war was lost when I saw the 'bluenosed bastards of Bodney' over Berlin."
The riding crop in the hand of the "little bastard" on the insignia was inspired by J.C.
Meyer's order that his pilots would carry a riding crop during their training days in the U.S.,
a plot to build morale by giving his Squadron special recognition. This insignia, first carried
on the P-47 of Lt Robert "Iron" Ross, later became part of the markings on Meyer's aircraft.
Color rendition by Sam Sox.