US Army 45th Infantry Division
The tradition of adopting the Swastika symbol for military usage had been well established during the first World War. The Escadrille Lafayette, named after the gallant hero of the French and Amemrican Revolutions, the Marquis de Lafayette, had been composed of volunteer American fighter pilots. Some of their planes had a black Swastika emblazoned on the fuselage.
Later on the US Army National Guard 45th Infantry Division had a gold Swastika patch on their uniforms prior to entry into World War 2. Most of their recruits hailed from the South Western States of Arizona and New Mexico. The Swastika was approved in 1924, mainly as a tribute to the large Native American population in the South West, for whom the symbol spoke of ‘sun’, ‘fire’ and ‘good luck’.
At that point in time their symbol was a red square with a yellow Swastika. However, with the rise of use of the Swastika in Nazi Germany the 45th Division realised they had to stop using this very distinctive shoulder sleeve insignia. After much debate it was replaced by a gold Thunderbird, approved in 1939, before the 45th Division was dispatched to serve in Europe.