HomeVisitMuseum ExhibitsFact SheetsDisplay

Ranch Hand Insignia and other items

DAYTON, Ohio - Insignia, patch, lighter, hats and pilot's wings on display in part of the Down in the Weeds: Ranch Hand exhibit in the Southeast Asia War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio - Insignia, patch, lighter, hats and pilot's wings on display in part of the Down in the Weeds: Ranch Hand exhibit in the Southeast Asia War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Insignia
The Ranch Hand insignia was designed in 1962 by Capt. Alan Kidd and Lt. John Hodgin, and it contains several elements of the Ranch Hand tradition. The symbol in the middle is the Chinese character for purple. The brown stripe on a green field represents a defoliated strip of jungle. Yellow and red represent the national colors of South Vietnam. 

Patch
This unofficial mosquito-spraying patch and aircraft fuel charge card were donated by Robert Norton, Patches last crew chief in Southeast Asia. MACV (Military Assistance Command - Vietnam) was the joint command headquarters for the U.S. forces in South Vietnam. The fueling card (not from Patches, but from a different C-123) normally stayed with the aircraft, but Norton put it in his pocket and inadvertenly brought it back home. 

Beret and Hat
Berat and "Go to Hell" hat with Ranch Hand purple band worn by Lt. James P. Hamilton. The gold insignia was the South Vietnamese air force rank equivalent to a U.S. Air Force 1st lieutenant. 

Lighter
Lighter with the Ranch Hand insignia. The phrase "Only We Can Prevent Forests" was a pun on the then popular Forest Service campaign "Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires."

Wings
South Vietnamese air force pilot's wings awarded to Lt. Grant Nicolai at the end of his tour.

Click here to return to Down in the Weeds: Ranch Hand.

Please note Springfield Street, the road that leads to the museum’s entrance, is undergoing construction through the beginning of September. Expect lane reductions and some delays. Please follow the signs and instructions provided by the road crews.

Featured Links

Plan Your Visit button
E-newsletter Sign-up button
Explore Museum Exhibits button
Browse Photos button
Visit Press Room button
Become a Volunteer button
Air Force Museum Foundation button
Donate an item button