Gordon Cooper Composite Squadron Heraldry (OK086)
GORDON COOPER COMPOSITE SQUADRON
OKLAHOMA WING, CIVIL AIR PATROL
U.S. AIR FORCE AUXILIARY
Purpose: To establish and maintain compliance with CAP heraldic standards for unit emblems as established in CAPR 110-3, Civil Air Patrol Heraldry Program.
Historical Significance: Astronaut Leroy Gordon “Gordo” Cooper, a native of Shawnee, Oklahoma was an American aerospace engineer, test pilot, United States Air Force pilot, and the youngest of the seven original astronauts in Project Mercury, the first human space program of the United States. The Cooper family graciously honored Oklahoma Wing by granting permission to allow the Shawnee squadron to carry the name “Gordon Cooper” with the sincerest hopes to inspire the next generation of aerospace pioneers.
Heraldry: The components of this new design and their symbolism are described below
Astronaut Gordon Cooper: The helmet represents Astronaut Gordon Cooper, a native of Shawnee, Oklahoma. The crescent signifies enlightenment and honor. The Gordon Cooper emblem has not one, but four crescents, as a nod to the Civil Air Patrol’s four Core Values. The colors white and gray with a heraldic name of “Argent” represents truth and peace.
Mercury Capsule “Faith 7”: The capsule that carried the squadron’s namesake into space and back. As the pilot of Mercury 9, he named his capsule Faith 7, as a nod to his status as one of the Original 7 astronauts, and his faith in the space program. Faith 7 performed well until the 19th orbit, when a faulty sensor erroneously indicated that the spacecraft was starting reentry. Cooper had to make a manual reentry, which he managed perfectly using skill and predetermined stars to acquire his correct heading. The “Faith 7” in our emblem is made up of seven parts; from the bottom up the heatshield (1), the two parts of the body (2 & 3), the entirety of the door (4), the upper ring (5), and the two parts of the nose (6 & 7).
Three White Stars: Three white stars on the left side represent the three programs of Civil Air Patrol; Aerospace Education, Emergency Services and Cadet Programs. Additionally, the stars also pay tribute to the unit’s connection to space carrying the Cooper name and his navigational skills referencing the stars he used to navigate his way home from space when all seemed lost.
Annulet: An annulet is a plain circular ring. It is an ancient charge, dating from c. 1255 in the arms of John de Plessis, Earl of Warwick, possibly derived from the links composing chain armor. The two sable and one argent annulets in the emblem are symbolic of the squadron’s connection to aerospace education and the dedication to mentor and educate the next generation.
Red Boarder with Black Background: Red has a heraldic name of “Gyoolz,” represents strength, determination and courage. These traits encapsulate everything it must have been to be one of the original seven Project Mercury Astronauts. There are fewer traits necessary to venture into space in the earliest days of manned space flight. The color black, a reference to space, has a heraldic name of “Sable” which represents wisdom, constancy and prudence.
Done on this day, the twentieth day of August, two thousand twenty-one and of the Independence of the United States of America, two hundred and forty-five.
Design and Artwork: Capt. Brandon W. Lunsford, Sr
Reviewed by NHQ Historian Staff: Maj. Timothy Thornton, 20 Aug 2021
Coordinated Through Oklahoma Wing Commander: Col. Aaron E. Oliver, 20 Aug 2021
Approved By Southwest Region Commander: Col Martha C. Morris, 20 Aug 2021