Thomas “Ken” Mattingly
Each crew selected their own special flight patch. John, Ken and I had several basic ideas we wished to incorporate to commemorate our mission: patriotism, teamwork, and the moon. We wanted these ideas, plus the mission number and the names of the crew, to be displayed on our patch, and talked with a NASA graphic artist who designed exactly what we wanted.
Basically, the design was a brown and white eagle with wings outstretched, perched atop a red, white, and blue American seal, over a gray lunar surface background. To show teamwork, the yellow NASA wishbone symbol of flight was placed on top of the seal, and then across the seal were written the words Apollo 16. Circling a blue and gold border were our names — YOUNG, MATTINGLY, and DUKE — and sixteen white stars to emphasize outer space and the number of our flight. We were very proud of this patch, which to us symbolized Apollo 16.
—Charles Duke, Moonwalker
Among the Apollo patches, the shield design motif appears only on this patch and the Apollo 10 patch — and John Young was a crewmember on both flights.
What Charlie Duke called a “wishbone” is a design element from the NASA insignia, which itself was derived from design elements of the official NASA seal that was designed in 1959. According to a description of the insignia, “the red chevron is a wing representing aeronautics (the latest design in hypersonic wings at the time the logo was developed).” The “chevron” (often referred to as a “vector”) was also used as a design element of the STS-26 patch, the first Shuttle mission to fly following the Challenger launch explosion.