4th SLS Airman preserves heritage, donates memorabilia to AF museum

GRAPHIC -- This rare set of 1955 Airman horizontal test stripes was recently purchased online by Jeffrey Hughes and donated to the Air Mobility Command Museum at Dover Air Force Base, Del.  These stripes were never adopted for use and were supposed to have been destroyed in 1956.  Mr. Hughes is a 305th Mission Support Squadron human resource assistant at McGuire Air Force Base, N.J.  (U.S. Air Force graphic)

GRAPHIC -- This rare set of 1955 Airman horizontal test stripes was recently purchased online by Jeffrey Hughes and donated to the Air Mobility Command Museum at Dover Air Force Base, Del. These stripes were never adopted for use and were supposed to have been destroyed in 1956. Mr. Hughes is a 305th Mission Support Squadron human resource assistant at McGuire Air Force Base, N.J. (U.S. Air Force graphic)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- A 4th Space Launch Squadron facility technician here never thought of himself as a part of Air Force heritage. However on May 8, Tech. Sgt. David Reedy preserved a bit of it when he sent a package to the Enlisted Heritage Museum at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, Ala., containing an almost complete rare set of unissued 1955 Airmen test stripes he found on an online auction.

These chevrons were approved by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg in 1952 for issue on Airmen's uniforms to differentiate the Air Force from the Army.  The test stripes were an idea that never made it to Airmen's sleeves, but some found their way into the posessions of collectors.

Sergeant Reedy didn't stumble across these rare pieces of military history by accident. He began searching for them after reading an article about another Air Force technical sergeant who bought and donated the same set of stripes to a different organization.

"I thought it was a cool idea to obtain and donate such an important piece of Air Force history," Sergeant Reedy said.

The museum was equally grateful to have their set of 1955 Airmen test stripes completed.

"We are very thankful for his donation as these proposed, but never worn, chevrons will add to the display on our Air Force uniforms," said Chief Master Sgt. Malcom MicVicar, Air Force Enlisted Heritage Research Institute and Enlisted heritage Hall Director.

This donation was not only important because it completed the exhibit displaying Air Force uniforms from 1947 through the current uniform but also because it helps the Air Force preserve its history.

"It is not important to keep this memorabilia, it is vital," Chief MicVicar said. "We received our heritage and history from those Airmen who have gone before us and it is up to us and future Airmen to capture, preserve, and showcase this for others to learn from; we must continue to learn from our past so we can plan for our future," he said.

In the future, Sergeant Reedy plans to donate more memorabilia and encourages all Airmen to do the same.

"If I come across more memorabilia I will certainly purchase and donate it," Sergeant Reedy said. "I encourage all Airmen to also do their part to preserve the history of the Air Force because it shows pride in what you do and patriotism."