And I'd like to add that customized WWI aviation insignia was worn by men of all ranks while in the field. Maybe not breast wings, but certainly collar insignia.
I still think the original set of wings that started off the topic is a legit customized piece. Whether or not he wore them seem a moot point.
Patrick was correct to point out that Gorrell wrote the article some 18 years after the fact and his recollection may not have been exactly correct. And frankly, although I saw no need to mention it in the original article, I too think Gorrell may not been completely accurate at the time the article was written.
Why? Keep in mind that the Army did not have any official wings in June 1917 when the Bolling Mission went overseas because the War Department had not approve any type of pilot wing insignia until 15 August 1917. Therefore, I have to question if the three Army officers were actually wearing any wings at the time they went overseas; however, I have no reason to doubt that later they did make some ingenious pilot style wings via a field modification to some eagle insignia removed from some officer caps which were later attached to their uniforms before going to Italy. Colonel Gorrell would not have forgotten that.
Yes, the modified insignia was unapproved and was not all that attractive . . . but sometimes when necessary while in the field. . . or under fire, rank does carry with it certain temporary privileges if the priviledge serves a useful purpose.
Edited by CliffP, 10 March 2015 - 02:50 PM.