The First US Army Parachute Badge
Posted 13 January 2008 - 07:31 PM
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Edited by ehrentitle, 13 January 2008 - 07:55 PM.
Posted 13 January 2008 - 07:38 PM
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Posted 13 January 2008 - 08:10 PM
A reminder, if you use this material elsewhere don't forget to credit the U.S. Army Institute of Heraldry.
And if you appreciate this kind of detailed background on US insignia don't forget it's all made possible by the U.S. Militaria Forum and it's your generous donations that keep it going.
Posted 09 December 2016 - 02:28 PM
A whole series of posts on the records of the Parachute Badge at the Institute of Heraldry that I just ran across. I posted them almost 8 years ago and had totally forgotten about them.
Posted 10 December 2016 - 01:23 PM
Many thanks for taking the effort to put this together and hope you don't mind if I add some illustrations of some early designs of US paratrooper wings based on the research of others that may or may not have come from the U.S. Institute of Heraldry. I was wondering if anyone has ever come across a period prototype made from these illustrations.
The first one I found in the book titles, "AIRBORNE ALBUM Volume One: PARACHUTE TEST PLATOON TO NORMANDY By John C. Andrews". It would appear that this was one of the designs submitted but rejected due to the out-swept wings that were too close in design to the USAAC flight wings. I have come across a current Mexican Airborne Wing where it is pretty obvious that someone in Mexico copied this para wing and then added an identifying unit attachment above the canopy.
Posted 10 December 2016 - 01:28 PM
Here is a pair illustrated in he book titled, "Parachute Badges and Insignia of the World by R. J. Bragg & Roy Turner". They are described in the text as US "Air Grenadier" wings and a single sample of each were produced. The term "Air Grenadier" supposedly came from the US Army Air Corps. I wonder what happen to the prototypes?
Posted 10 December 2016 - 06:21 PM
Posted 11 December 2016 - 04:42 PM
I'd like to add to this thread a BB&B-made jump wing. The scan isn't great of the hallmark but it is there.
Posted 19 December 2016 - 08:33 AM
To add a bit to this thread, I will share these photos. Here is what I believe to be one of the 350 original BB&B Parachute badges that were presented on 21 March 1941. This hallmarked example was presented to Sergeant David M. “Buster” Rogers on that noteworthy date. I received this badge many years ago from one of Sgt Roger’s relatives, but unfortunately I do not have the original certificate as they wanted to keep it. I do have a brief history of this soldier and will condense it a bit for your reading. David M. Rogers, Serial number 6262210, volunteered for parachute duty in October 1940. His nickname was “Buster” and he used that name on his records when he joined the Army in 1935. In the newly formed 501st Parachute Battalion, he made his qualifying jumps from an Army Air Corps C-39 from 1500 feet and later others at 750 feet AGL at Fort Benning, Georgia. In July 1941 C Co. 501st Parachute Infantry was transferred to the Panama Canal Zone for jungle and parachute training and from C-47’s at Rio Hata. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, his unit remained at Rio Hata to guard the airport there. In May 1942, Sgt Rogers was selected to be a member of the cadre that formed the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment and was sent to Camp Toccoa, Georgia to conduct training there. In early 1943 his unit moved to Camp McCall N.C. to join with the 101st Airborne Division and on to England. Sgt Rogers made both the Normandy Combat Jump and the Market Garden Combat Jump with the 101st Abn and later served as 1st Sergeant of HHQ 1st Bn 506th PIR of the 101st Abn Div. Unfortunately the information I have about him ends there. If anyone has additional knowledge of this individual, I would love to hear it.
Sgt Roger’s BB&B wings are shown below (back and front). As mentioned earlier in this thread, additional orders of parachute badges were placed and filled by Bailey Banks and Biddle as well as many other makers. Placement of the BB&B hallmark in different locations on the back of the badge may indicate later runs. I invite other collectors to add their comments.
Posted 19 December 2016 - 08:44 AM
Here is another BB&B parachute badge with the hallmark at the top. These must have been hand stamped to account for all the different placements of the hallmark. I believe that this is an authentic BB&B parachute badge, but most likely one of the later issues. Comments welcome.
Posted 19 December 2016 - 08:52 AM
Posted 19 December 2016 - 03:22 PM
i know on another thread there were a number of BB&B hallmarked wings shown. The thread I am thinking of got REALLY nasty and some of the more "aggressive" AB-collectors eventually got them selves banned IIRC.
It seems that they placement of the hallmark varies widely from wing to wing. On mine it is the edges of the wings, towards the top. Sadly, I never really got a really good picture of the back hallmark but here is a slightly better scan.
We may never really know which is "earlier" or "later" but the information posted above is compelling, coming from the vet like it does.
I found mine in a small jewelry box and bought it just because of the link with BB&B and pilot wings. Only later did someone tell me how rare it was. At least at first, I thought it was only one of about 350 that were made, but as stated in this thread, I later learned that more were produced.
Edited by pfrost, 19 December 2016 - 03:23 PM.
Posted 19 December 2016 - 03:25 PM
I once saw one of these BB&B marked wings sell for over $1000 on eBay during the hey-day of AB-collecting around the time of SPR and BoB. I wonder if they are still holding on their value??
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