449th Shield

449th Shield

As the Group entered combat operations from Italy in early January 1944, the Group Commander, Col. Darr H. Alkire requested his staff to design a suitable Heraldic Emblem as a means of fostering unit esprit de corps and to strengthen organizational discipline.

From its location in the Mediterranean, its mission as a heavy bombardment group and its aerial mission, the theme was selected of a flying Pegasus, from ancient mythology, crossed by a large aerial bomb. This was displayed on a shield with a dark blue background having a golden border. The flying Pegasus and the aerial bomb are also of golden color to represent the hue and tone of a bright Mediterranean sun.

The emblem was quickly adopted by all Group members and used as unit insignia of flight clothing, insignia pins on enlisted headgear and as insignia on uniform epaulets.

Several variations of the original emblem evolved from the original design, namely in the shape of the shield and the wing design of Pegasus. One version also had the Pegasus figure reversed. That shown is a representation of the original design.

Based upon the selected Heraldic design, the 449th Bomb Group became known as “The Flying Horsemen” and used that name at reunions as well as historical writings.