BACKGROUND AND HISTORY: The Order of the Shell & Flame is patterned after the U.S. Air Force Order of the Sword program. The Order of the Sword is an ancient ceremony rich in tradition and is conducted by Air Force non-commissioned Officers (NCOs) to honor their greatest officer-warriors & civilian equivalents who have made significant contributions to the enlisted corps.
The purely military Order of the Sword was established in 1522 by Gustave I in recognition of military service.
King Gustave I enjoined the noblemen commissioned by him to appoint officers to serve them. These people became the NCOs, as we know them today. These accountants, builders, craftsmen, teachers, scribes and other leaders were responsible for conducting the ordinary daily affairs of the kingdom. The system worked so well that it was incorporated into the army as a way to establish and maintain a cohesive, disciplined, well trained force for the protection of the lives and property of the kingdom. Thus the NCO Corps was born.
These ancient NCOs would, on occasion, honor a leader and pledge their loyalty by ceremoniously presenting him a sword. The sword stands as a symbol of the truth, justice, and power rightfully used. The ceremony became known as the “ORDER OF THE SWORD”.
The Ammo Chiefs Association (ACA) is an organization of active & retired U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sergeants established to encourage and facilitate camaraderie and well being among all Ammo Chiefs. They also endeavor to provide useful services to the membership; promote the welfare of their dependents, survivors and the Ammo Community at large. This outstanding group is recognized world wide and bound together by their unique symbol, the Shell & Flame, or as it is affectionately called, the Flaming Piss Pot, the oldest and most widely known device of all U.S. and foreign military insignia in existence.
Factions of the various European armies introduced the Shell & Flame to the U.S. military during the revolutionary war. It soon became the symbol of the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps, and as such saw distinguished action during the Mexican American War, World War I, and World War II.
In 1947 when the Army Corps became the U.S. Air Force, Ordnance Air Corps personnel brought the Shell & Flame insignia with them. Over the years Ordnance became Munitions and Munitions became Ammo. As such, the Shell & Flame further distinguished itself in combat air and ground support actions in Korea, Vietnam, Panama, Desert Storm, & Operation Enduring Freedom.
1. AMMO CHIEFS ASSOCIATION (ACA) ADAPTATION: The ACA has decided to adopt the Order of the Swords philosophy of honoring a fellow warrior who has promoted the well being of the Ammo Enlisted corps through deed and action by establishing the Order of the Shell & Flame. A solemn rite of passage and ceremony bestowed upon a fellow Ammo troop who has, through demonstrated deed and action, furthered the well being of the munitions career field, and the enlisted corps of Ammo personnel. The Order of the Shell & Flame is the highest honor the ACA can bestow upon a fellow Ammo Troop. It honors the recipient as our ancient and contemporary NCOs did as a “leader amongst leaders” and Ammo man among Ammo men.
2. ORDER OF THE SHELL & FLAME COMMITTEE: The chairman of the “Order of the Shell & Flame” committee will be the President of the ACA; other committee members will be the incumbent ACA Board of Directors (BOD). The ACA President, with concurrence of the ACA BOD, may designate additional committee members, as necessary.
3. NOMINATION AND SELECTION OF HONOREES: Any ACA member may nominate any individual of their choice for induction into the “Order of the Shell & Flame”. Nominations will be made, by letter, from the nominating individual, to the ACA President no later than eight (8) months prior to the next biennial ACA reunion. Letters of nominations must include a biographical sketch of the nominee and a synopsis of the events or other reasons for nomination. The nominating letter should not be all inclusive but should be sufficiently complete so ACA committee members can get an impression of the individual nominated. The ACA President will poll each committee member for his or her approval or disapproval of the nominee.
A two-thirds vote of all committee members is required for approval to induct any nominee into the “Order of the Shell & Flame”. The President of the ACA will respond to the original request by letter, citing approval or disapproval.
4. PERMANENT RECOGNITION OF THE “ORDER OF THE SHELL & FLAME” RECIPIENTS: The official Shell & Flame, symbolic of the “Order of the Shell and Flame” ceremony, will be on display at all formal ACA functions. The presented Shell & Flame will be inscribed with the honorees rank, or position, first name, middle initial, last name, and date of the formal induction as an “Order of The Shell & Flame” honoree. Individual bronze plaques will also be provided to the Shell & Flame honoree.
5. FINANCIAL ASPECTS: The ACA will be responsible for the total cost of the ceremony from their own resources. This includes honoree lodging (for one night), the banquet, the presentations made to the honoree, and any ceremonial equipment (individual plaques, printed proclamations, etc). Travel expenses, to and from the ACA ceremony site, however, will be the honorees responsibility.
6. THE FORMAL INDUCTION CEREMONY: The Order of the Shell & Flame ceremony consists of a cocktail period and a formal dinner. Participants will be as Follows:
HONOREE Previously described in Para 3 &/or 4.
HONOREES WIFE (If applicable)
HONORED GUESTS Individuals as determined and selected by the ACA BOD to sit at the head table.
Musicians: Any type of musical accompaniment, as selected by the ACA honoring committee, to provide background music during the dining period, and afterward, as applicable.
Head Table Arrangement: The head table will be arranged as determined by the ACA.
Guest Tables: Tables for other honored guests may be arranged in any manner suitable to the area where the ceremony is being conducted, as determined by the Honoring committee.
Conclusion of Formal Ceremonies: The ACA President will make a formal proclamation stating that the formal Shell & Flame procedures are now closed and that the informal part of the evening now begins with whatever the ACA has established, e.g. dancing, etc.
The above was voted on and approved by the current ACA Board of Directors at the June 26th, 2002, ACA Meeting.
Signed by: Orlando Mark Madamba, President