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Small USN Aviator wings

Started by rustywings , Aug 03 2015 08:42 AM

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#1 rustywings

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 08:42 AM

This post is for a friend of mine who insists small USN Aviator wings are strictly "sweetheart" pieces... and were never worn by actual aviators.

 

Here's a WWII era press image of Lt. Alexander Vraciu. (Lt. Vraciu was the Navy's top carrier fighter pilot with 19 Japanese kills to his credit.) Note the 1.5 inch Aviator wings attached to his overseas cap.

  

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#2 268th C.A.

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 08:44 AM

Your right! They got away with wearing just about what they wanted....I have an USAAC over sea's cap with a pair of 1.5" wings attached. 


Edited by 268th C.A., 03 August 2015 - 08:44 AM.


#3 BROBS

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 08:44 AM

I've seen caps in vet groups with the wings still attached as well.

Not as solid proof as your photo, but they certainly were worn.

 

thanks for posting the pic.

 

-Brian



#4 rustywings

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 08:45 AM

A few similar 1.5 inch (+/-) WWII era Aviator wings. 

 

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#5 rustywings

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 08:47 AM

Backs:

 

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#6 B-17Guy

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 12:06 PM

Yes, standard practice long before WWII, for Naval Aviators to wear cap size (I believe supposed to be half the size of standard wing)

on the left hand side of the overseas cap.

 

Adm Halsey (pic attached) is probably the most high profile Aviator to do it and hundreds others as well. This was very common in the Navy

and not common at all in the Air Force, where it was rarely seen.

 

One of our former pilots was a Naval Aviator winged around 1970. He told me once that he remembered that when he got started

some of the "old timers" still wore small wings on the side of their cap.

 

I am sure the practice is long gone now.

 

By the way, another collector myth is that two inch Aviator wings are "shirt size"....completely wrong, shirt size wings don't exist in the USN,

only in the Air Force. In the USN two inch wings are "Mess Dress" size. The 2 3/4" Naval Aviator Wing Badge is worn on the the shirt or coat.

 

Nice wings Russ!!!

 

I am adding a picture of a 14k cap size wing with a Tiffany catch, probably from WWI.

 

John

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Edited by B-17Guy, 03 August 2015 - 12:14 PM.


#7 BROBS

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 03:47 PM

pics of my cap size wings.. 

USN_capwings1.JPG

 

I think the one on the far right is a prewar observer?


Edited by BROBS, 03 August 2015 - 03:48 PM.


#8 BROBS

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 03:48 PM

Sorry it was hard to get a good pic of the backs

USN_capwings2.JPG

 

USN_capwings3.JPG

 



#9 BROBS

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 03:49 PM

and apparently a "mess" size set?

USN_messwing1.JPG

 

USN_messwing2.JPG



#10 pararaftanr2

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 04:52 PM

Strictly speaking, the wearing of the miniature aviation device on the garrison cap wasn't just a matter of personal preference, rather it was mandated by the Navy Uniform Regulations of 1941. See section 9-13 below. For the sake of uniformity, the regulations were later changed and the miniature wing was eliminated, so that all Naval officers, including aviators, would wear the miniature officer's cap device on left side of their garrison cap and their rank on the right.

 

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#11 rustywings

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Posted 04 August 2015 - 05:42 PM

Hey 268th C.A., Brian, John and Pararaftanr2, thank you all for your contributions! The information and images you've posted have real value to me... and I'm sure other members as well. 

 

Please feel free to post any additional wing-related USN regulations you might have access to;  period images of Aviators actually wearing these small wings; or examples of small Navy Aviator badges you have in your collection and wouldn't mind sharing with us.  

 

Here's an old "Rolled Gold" Meyer hallmarked 1.5 inch badge, with 13 stars in the upper shield, which I believe were made in the WWI era and through the 1920's. A little difficult to see, but there's a Meyer shield near the catch on the reverse image.

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#12 rustywings

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Posted 04 August 2015 - 06:12 PM

These two early USN examples are both 1.75 inches in width. The top one has 13 stars in the upper shield and has extra detail in the feathering. 

 

The bottom example also has enhanced feathering detail, but is void of any details in the upper shield.

   

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#13 rustywings

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Posted 04 August 2015 - 06:29 PM

The top wing is marked with a small 'sterling' mark, but no hallmark.

 

The bottom wing has a very small F.H. Noble hallmark in front of the 'sterling' mark. (As I recall, Noble produced both Army & Navy badges until 1927).

 

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#14 rustywings

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Posted 05 August 2015 - 10:15 AM

These 1920's - 1930's 1 & 5/8 inch wide wings are identical, except for the color. Gilt for Aviator and silver for N.A.O.

 

  

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#15 rustywings

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Posted 05 August 2015 - 10:20 AM

Identical open "C" catches, STERLING marked and hallmarked "Dodge Inc., Chicago."

  

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#16 rustywings

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Posted 05 August 2015 - 10:24 AM

These pre-WWII solid anchor and nicely detailed wings are 1.5" wide, but unmarked.

 

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#17 Bob Hudson

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Posted 05 August 2015 - 10:27 AM

These would be worn with formal/dinner dress uniforms.



#18 rustywings

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Posted 05 August 2015 - 10:33 AM

Another 1.5 " wide GEMSCO variation which may be pre-WWII as well?

 

 

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#19 Bob Hudson

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Posted 05 August 2015 - 10:44 AM

For the sceptics, this is from the  Navy Uniform Regulations where pilot's wings come under the same rules as breast insignia for surface warfare, etc.

 

pinon.jpg



#20 rustywings

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Posted 05 August 2015 - 11:45 AM

For the sceptics, this is from the  Navy Uniform Regulations where pilot's wings come under the same rules as breast insignia for surface warfare, etc.

 

attachicon.gifpinon.jpg

 

I think the confusion lies in the fact there are three distinctive sizes of wings for the Navy...  2 & 7/8 inches, 2 inches (+/-) and 1 & 1/2 inches (+/-).  Combine that with changes in USN uniform regulations from what was accepted in WWII as opposed to today's accepted standards... and it appears Bob, John and Pararaftanr2 are all correct in their statements, depending on what era of time you're referring to. 

 

Bob, what's the date on the regulations you're quoting?
 


Edited by rustywings, 05 August 2015 - 11:50 AM.


#21 Bob Hudson

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Posted 05 August 2015 - 12:06 PM

 

 

Bob, what's the date on the regulations you're quoting?
 

 

I believe these are the current regs: http://www.npc.navy....Pages/5201.aspx



#22 Bob Hudson

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Posted 05 August 2015 - 12:16 PM



 

I think the confusion lies in the fact there are three distinctive sizes of wings for the Navy...  2 & 7/8 inches, 2 inches (+/-) and 1 & 1/2 inches (+/-).

 

And  there's the regulations generic "miniature size insignia" which presumably is anything smaller than 2-7/8. 

 

It would seem that even today most every Naval Aviator would own at least one pair of miniature wings for formal use.

 

A little off topic, but in  searching for info on this topic I ran across a 2009 Navy Times story about a regulation change that would allow a Naval Aviator (a pilot) to wear both pilot's wings and Naval Flight Officer wings.

 

The rule change, though was because of the changed status of aircrew wings:

 

"The old rule would have prevented sailors who were aircrew qualified and aviation warfare specialists from wearing both pins," 

 

Do you think anyone has actually worn two sets of wings at the same time? 

 

2wings.jpg



#23 roadrunner

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Posted 05 August 2015 - 12:51 PM

Hello
Here is the information I have "The Naval Uniform Plan" from 1943

The compleate PDF is at my dropbox
https://www.dropbox....n_1943.pdf?dl=0

Michael

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#24 rustywings

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Posted 07 August 2015 - 10:26 AM

Terrific 1943 dated USN sales catalog Roadrunner!  Some nice uniform images in your download. Thank you for posting it.

 

It looks like the "Cleary Uniform Company, Inc." produced a catalog which incorporated USN uniform regulations with their own bit of private company advertising. You've got to love the oversize/exaggerated wings on their Aviation garrison cap sales illustration!    

 

 



#25 trenchbuff

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Posted 07 August 2015 - 07:40 PM

Nothing quite like the proof of a period photo.  Great post!




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