Many units of the United States Armed Forces have distinctive mottoes. Such mottoes are used in order to "reflect and reinforce" each unit's values and traditions. Mottoes are used by both military branches and smaller units. While some mottoes are official, others are unofficial.[1]: 68–69  Some appear on unit patches, such as the U.S. Army's distinctive unit insignia.[2]

The use of mottoes is as old as the U.S. military itself. A general order issued by George Washington on February 20, 1776, when he was commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, directed that "it is necessary that every Regiment should be furnished with Colours" and the "Number of the Regiment is to be mark'd on the Colours, and such a Motto, as the Colonel may choose, in fixing upon which, the General advises a Consultation amongst them."[3]: 341

United States Army

Major Commands

Adjutant general


The shoulder sleeve insignia of the XVIII Airborne Corps bears its motto, Sky Dragons.




The 4th Aviation Regiment's motto is Vigilantia Aeterna (Eternal Vigilance)



U.S. Marine Corps

U.S. Navy

U.S. Air Force

The 7th Bomb Wing's motto is Mors Ab Alto (Death From Above).
The motto of the 317th Tactical Airlift Wing is I Gain By Hazard.

U.S. Space Force

U.S. Coast Guard

National Guard


  1. ^ a b Martin, Mike W. (13 December 2012). Of Mottos and Morals: Simple Words for Complex Virtues. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. ISBN 978-1442221291. LCCN 2012040100. OCLC 1105522222. OL 28494717M – via Google Books.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw bx by bz ca cb cc cd ce cf cg ch ci cj ck cl cm cn co cp cq cr cs ct cu cv cw cx cy cz da db dc dd de df dg dh di dj dk dl dm dn do dp dq dr ds dt Stein, Barry Jason (20 November 1993). Capelotti, P. J. (ed.). U.S. Army Heraldic Crests: A Complete Illustrated History of Authorized Distinctive Unit Insignia. University of South Carolina Press. ISBN 978-0872499638. LCCN 93003109. OCLC 243774589. OL 1395752M – via Google Books.
  3. ^ Washington, George (1 November 1931). "Regimental Colors". In Fitzpatrick, John Clement; Matteson, David Maydole (eds.). The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799. Vol. 4: October 1775-April 1776. United States Government Publishing Office. ASIN B019A3QN5I. LCCN 32011075. OCLC 6516955. OL 31985240M. Retrieved 24 February 2021 – via Internet Archive.
  4. ^ Erlandson, Robert A. (24 May 1996). "Wrapping up at school Packaging: New graduates of an Aberdeen Proving Ground course now can safely ship everything from computer chips to battle tanks". The Baltimore Sun. ISSN 1930-8965. OCLC 244481759. Archived from the original on 25 October 2020. Retrieved 24 February 2021. To Preserve and Protect" is the motto of the School of Military Packaging Technology at Aberdeen Proving Ground -- one that its dean, Larry J. Franks, said is taken very seriously because the lives of soldiers, sailors and airmen depend on the school's success.
  5. ^ CID History, United States Army Criminal Investigation Command.
  6. ^ The U.S. Military Academy Coat of Arms and Motto, United States Military Academy (accessed December 19, 2016).
  7. ^ Special Forces Crest Archived 2016-11-29 at the Wayback Machine, United States Army Special Operations Command (accessed December 19, 2016).
  8. ^ The "New" Army Medical Department (AMEDD) Regimental Insignia, Army Medical Department (accessed December 19, 2016).
  9. ^ 82nd CAB
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "CMH Home / Unit History / Organizational History / Special Designations". United States Army Center of Military History. United States Army. n.d. Archived from the original on 29 January 2021. Retrieved 25 February 2021.
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  12. ^ Millett, Allan R. (11 November 1991). Semper Fidelis: The History of the United States Marine Corps. Free Press. ISBN 978-0029215951. LCCN 80001059. OCLC 832934333. OL 7270113M. Retrieved 25 February 2021 – via Internet Archive.
  13. ^ Year in Review 2013: Confronting Danger, U.S. Department of State Bureau of Diplomatic Security, p. 13.
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  15. ^ Albert A. Nofi, The Marine Corps Book of Lists (Da Capo Press, 1997), p. 79.
  16. ^ James M. Morris & Patricia M. Kearns, Historical Dictionary of the United States Navy (Scarecrow: 2011), p. 1.
  17. ^ Jacqueline Klimas & Tony Lombardo, Mabus has motto if Navy wants one, Navy Times (April 20, 2013).
  18. ^ Eric M. Bergerud, Fire in the Sky: The Air War in the South Pacific (Westview, 2000), p. 76.
  19. ^ Grace Palladino, Skilled Hands, Strong Spirits: A Century of Building Trades History (Cornell University Press, 2005), p. 113.
  20. ^ Frank J. Allston, Ready for Sea: The Bicentennial History of the U.S. Navy Supply Corps (Naval Institute Press, 1995).
  21. ^ Command of Navy's Largest Fleet Logistics Center Changes Hands (press release), NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center Norfolk Public Affairs (September 10, 2011).
  22. ^ Navy SEAL (Sea, Air, & Land)
  23. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2020-08-03. Retrieved 2020-05-19.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  24. ^ Bill Yenne, The History of the U.S. Air Force (Longmeadow, 1992), p. 120-22.
  25. ^ Bernard C. Nalty, Winged Shield, Winged Sword 1950-1997: A History of the United States Air Force, Vol. 2 (University Press of the Specific: 2003), p. 75.
  26. ^ David Milne, "Strategic Air Command," in The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Military and Diplomatic History (2013, ed. Timothy J. Lynch), p. 313.
  27. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw bx by bz ca Charles A. Ravenstein, Air Force Combat Wings: Lineage and Honors Histories 1947-1977, Office of Air Force History, 1984.
  28. ^ Fact Sheet: 5th Bomb Wing, Minot Air Force Base (January 7, 2013).
  29. ^ 15th Wing Heritage Pamphlet Archived 2011-07-23 at the Wayback Machine, 15th Wing History Office (2010).
  30. ^ John Okonski, Wing's shield preserves long heritage, U.S. Air Force (July 26, 2007).
  31. ^ "The U.S. Space Force logo and motto". United States Space Force.
  32. ^ "STAR Delta (Provisional)". Schriever Air Force Base. Retrieved 23 February 2021.
  33. ^ "Peterson-Schriever Garrison - Space Delta 2: Space Domain Awareness". Retrieved 2021-11-19.
  34. ^ "DEL 4 Motto" – via
  35. ^ "Space Delta 9 builds orbital warfare tradecraft from the ground up". Schriever Air Force Base.
  36. ^ The National Guard turns 375… and is still going strong, Government Book Talk, U.S. Government Printing Office.
  37. ^ National Guard Memorial, National Guard Educational Foundation.
  38. ^ Peter H. Haraty, Put the Vermonters Ahead: A History of the Vermont National Guard, 1764-1978 (Queen City Printers, 1971).