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Small USN Aviator wings

Started by rustywings , Aug 03 2015 08:42 AM

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#26 Bob Hudson

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Posted 08 August 2015 - 06:05 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.



So has he now been convinced of the error of his ways?

#27 TLeo

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Posted 08 August 2015 - 06:21 AM

This has been a good topic. I need to pass this along to a friend who insists the small wings are shirt size and I keep telling him no, they wear the same full size on coat and shirts.

#28 pararaftanr2

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Posted 08 August 2015 - 08:28 AM

Another photo of Vraciu, showing the full sized wings on his shirt and miniature wings on his cap.


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#29 Justin B.

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Posted 11 August 2015 - 03:14 PM

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!


The Naval Officer's Uniform Plan was a Navy program to set standards for off-the-rack officer and CPO wool uniforms across retailers, also incorporating wartime material and price controls of course. Any participating company could print their name on the standard Navy Department booklet. I uploaded a copy to archive.org a few years ago:



As for the miniature wings on the garrison cap, pararaftanr2 is correct of course that it was regulation in 1941 for aviators and CPO aviation pilots. We should also remember, they were the only ones authorized to wear garrison caps (green and khaki) at that time. Other officers/chiefs could wear the khaki shirt, coat and trousers, but only with the combination cap. The garrison cap had sort of an "elite" status, like we might later think of a beret. Admiral Halsey and his airdale-heavy staff, late '41 or early '42:




In January 1943 garrison caps were authorized for all officers and CPOs (BuPers A515, 2 Jan 1943), but at first flyers were allowed to keep their wings instead of the miniature cap badge (also, the officer's rank device was prescribed for the other side at this time). This was changed in April '43, when the miniature cap badges were standardized for all (BuPers Circ. Letter 51-43, 10 Apr 1943). Of course this went down hard in aviation, and many persisted in wearing the wings for years to come. Including the second most senior naval aviator ever:



As to the size of the garrison cap wings, I think they were always officially to be the same as the miniature evening dress wings. USN Uniform Regs 1941:




Justin B.

Edited by Justin B., 11 August 2015 - 03:18 PM.

#30 MikeK

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Posted 11 August 2015 - 07:14 PM

Great info on the regulations and seeing them in wear!


Some additional minis.




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#31 MikeK

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Posted 11 August 2015 - 07:15 PM


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#32 rustywings


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Posted 12 August 2015 - 07:32 AM


So has he now been convinced of the error of his ways?


His claim of smoke, mirrors and photo-shop doesn't stand a snowball's chance with all of the excellent information and assortment of related images being shared!  Thank you Pararaftanrs, Justin and Mike for your fine postings!

Edited by rustywings, 12 August 2015 - 07:33 AM.

#33 Edelweisse

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Posted 25 February 2017 - 08:17 PM

Hi Folks:  I recently picked up the wings like those posted in #11.    WWI to 20's period USN Pilot's mini wings 1.5 inches. It has "ROLLED G..." on the back of one wing with the Meyer hallmark on the other.  And as stated...on #11...it has the 13 stars in the upper shield.  I'll post pictures tomorrow.  Thanks for posting #11.  The wings are not flat but curved.  They caught my eye

#34 Edelweisse

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Posted 25 February 2017 - 11:02 PM

Here are the pictures..I couldn't pass it up.  To correct myself "ROLLED PLA..."?

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Edited by Edelweisse, 25 February 2017 - 11:05 PM.


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Posted 26 February 2017 - 06:14 AM

Rolled Plate.


nice pre-ww2 set!

Edited by BROBS, 26 February 2017 - 06:15 AM.

#36 Edelweisse

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Posted 26 February 2017 - 10:44 AM

Thank you for the info....when I saw it.....I elected to buy it and as always...that's when I start researching...thinking "This is really small".  After find this posting...all the lights came "ON" and it makes sense why they're so small.  Thank you...

#37 Kimo

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Posted 26 February 2017 - 11:11 AM

Rolled gold or rolled plated gold or rolled gold 1/20 are used interchangeably to mean the same thing.  The wing (or other badge) is made of a thick layer of base metal (usually copper or copper alloy, or sometimes nickel) that is sandwiched in between two thin very layers of gold, usually 10K or 12K gold.  The metal layers of this "sandwich" are run through a heavy roller press which causes the metals to fuse together hence the word "rolled".  The metal "sandwich" is then stamped out in a die into the desired shape of wings or some other badge shape.  Normally, the two very thin layers of gold alloy weigh 1/20th of the total weight which is why you sometimes see the numbers 1/20th on rolled gold.  There is very little actual gold in such a badge as the 1/20th of the overall weight is not the weight of actual gold - it is the weight of the gold alloy.  10K gold alloy is 10/24ths gold which means that it is 41.6 percent actual gold.  So you would multiply the weight of the badge times .05 to get to 1/20th, then multiply that by .416 to get the actual amount of gold then take that number and multiply it by the buying price (not selling price) of one ounce of scrap gold on that day (which is less then the buying price of refined pure gold).


Because of the extra cost in making rolled gold these days, most badges are made with electro-plated gold which can be any thickness and thus can have more or less gold than a rolled gold version would have since most plating is done with 24K gold rather than 10K or 12K gold.

#38 reneblacky

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Posted 21 July 2017 - 09:03 PM

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

The compleate PDF is at my dropbox



Thank you Michael and all on this thread for this info as I'm trying to complete my 43 Forrest green set. Sorry for the side ways photo, something I can't fix!

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Edited by reneblacky, 21 July 2017 - 09:04 PM.

#39 Flightpath

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 12:05 PM

here's my miniature US Navy Astronaut wings........ I wish I could say who owned them but I can only dream on....... John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, Alan Shepard, Jim Lovell...... maybe a DNA test?

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