VMFA-321 has used several insignias during its nearly five decades of existence. In keeping with the appropriated nickname donated by it’s second commanding officer, a former Flying Tiger, VMFA-321 employed the insignia of the third of the American Volunteer Group’s three squadrons, as well as it’s nickname, the Hell’s Angels. The squadron’s Corsairs carried this stylized angel throughout their combat tour in the Pacific during World War II. The angel’s appearance varied during the combat tour, although the color scheme remained the same; a flesh-colored angel with white wings on a red field.

Although in use in the field, the insignia was never officially approved because, as stated in a 22 September, 1944 memo, the insignia was not “in keeping with the dignity of the Service and employs red”. Although the nude little angel could hardly have raised any eyebrows, the point about the color red was technically correct.

Immediately after Pearl Harbor, the red center roundel in the national star insignia used by all Services had been deleted to prevent confusion with the Japanese Rising Sun insignia. This prohibition of red carried over to tail-striping and other forms of insignia.

The squadron used several intervening insignia through the years before finally adopting in the early 1980s the official insignia consisting of a golden halo and red devil’s pitch fork rising from fire on a starred blue background.


The 103rd
Army Navy Game
December 2002