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ASU grad takes spirit to the sky

August 07, 2007

Every Friday, 2nd Lt. James Hartney, a member of the Air Force’s 87th FTS Ragin’ Red Bulls, gets a little “devilish.”

And he’s proud of it, too.

Hartney, who graduated from ASU in 2006 with a degree in mathematics, attaches a small patch to the left sleeve pocket of his flight suit – and proclaims to all the world that he is a loyal Sun Devil.

The 1-inch-by-2-inch embroidered patch, created by ASU graphic designer Steve Swain, features the ASU sunburst logo on a white background – and a three-quarter view of Sparky’s face, too.

Hartney, who is stationed at Laughlin Air Force Base in Texas, got the idea for a Sparky patch when he observed other airmen wearing university patches on their sleeves.

“Texas A&M seems to have quite a few people that wear them regularly,” Hartney says. “I figured I should design one for ASU, and maybe make it a regular thing.”

The tiny strips, which are attached with Velcro, are called “morale patches,” Harney says, “because servicemen and women typically wear them on Fridays as a way to boost morale.”

“The patches that I requested be made are specifically for career fields that wear flight suits,” he says. “They fit on the left sleeve pen pocket.”

Hartney inquired about having an ASU morale patch made by a company in San Antonio, but the company wouldn’t make any university patches without written consent to use the logo.

“I looked for legal permission via the Internet, and Ms. Terri Shafer offered to have the patch designed and created,” he says. “The credit belongs to Ms. Shafer and her staff, who made the idea a reality. My hat is off to them!”

The 87th Flying Training Squadron, Hartney’s home base until he graduates in September, is responsible for training student pilots handpicked to fly combat aircraft for the Air Force.

Hartney has been sporting his ASU patch for about two months, and says his friends have noticed it and commented on it.

“I tell them how gracious ASU was to make them for me,” he says. “They are usually impressed that the school went out of its way to do something like that. It makes me proud to be from ASU!”

ASU graduates serving on active duty in the armed forces can request a patch by calling Bobbie Lee in Public Affairs at (480) 727-0770.