This photo came across the largest internet auction recently:
Robbins RMA or early OBS half wing.
What is most interesting is the wing. The young observer appears to be wearing a Robbins-type half wing.
The collar insignia dates this photo some time after Change 5 to SR 41, 17 July 1918 which established the wing and propellor device for Air Service officers. However, the half wing for Junior and Reserve Military Aviators were only authorized from 15 August 1917, to 20 October 1917, when the half wing with shield was re-designated for Observers. Observers only continued to wear this badge, officially, for another two months as the gothic-O half wing replaced the half wing with shield 29 December 1917.
Some observers were purported to prefer the shield-bearing half wing, over the so called; "Flying A**hole." At any rate, here is the shield-halfwing in wear after mid-1918.
I have seen fakes and reproductions of this Robbins-type half wing for years. This is the first time I have seen an example of this type in a period photograph.
Hope you all enjoy the photo.