Yet another Navy tradition is under attack and I have not heard so much as an official whisper in its defense. A recent naval directive prohibits wearing more than two embroidered patches on flight jackets: one measly organizational patch and a U.S. flag are now the only patches authorized. As if this were not enough, the directive dictates the exact positioning of the patches, limits the maximum size of all organizational patches to a paltry four-and-one-half inch diameter, and completely outlaws the use of embroidered name tags. What in the name of naval aviation is going on here?
Few things are more closely associated with aviation than the flight jacket-and thanks to the Navy, the decorated flight jacket did not fly off into the sunset when the Army Air Forces' humorless successor outlawed aircraft nose art and all expressions of flight jacket individuality in the immediate post-World War II era.