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1919-1941 vintage pilot wings


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#26 pfrost

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 05:21 PM

Dear Cliff and Paul,

Excellent information on this wing. Still it is interesting in that I had always assumed that this was a very early, pre-War pattern wing--maybe even dating back to the 1920's, may actually be incorrect. As it seems we have a pretty solid number of pictures showing it being worn during the war, this does argue that it may not have been made that much earlier. Of course, it is always hard to project back, but it does seem that Cliff has the truth of it that this wing may not date to earlier than the mid to late 1930's. Remember, that up until about 1941, the USAAC was training only about 500 pilots a year. It is really around 1941-1942 when the big jump in flight training occurred, and I think a reasonable hypothesis would be that this would also correspond with the jump in wing manufacturing.

Patrick

#27 Paul S

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Posted 27 June 2009 - 04:49 AM

I don’t know if this adds anything or not, but while I had the files pulled up I made a collage of the wings worn by the Group commanders, down to Squadron CO’s. I’ve thought for some time that it was interesting to note that few of them seemed to be wearing the more common WWII wings with which we are familiar.

The commanders pretty much stayed with the Group for the duration, rotating flight Lead assignments between them such that they flew much less frequently than the combat crews. I could easily be persuaded that since those commanders were not much older than the younger combat pilots constantly moving through the base, that with their choice of wings they sought to differentiate themselves even more than by their rank insignia.

And you can’t discount the effect of simple fads. For instance, when my father returned to England for a voluntary second tour, he was suddenly a “senior” man and assigned to a Lead Crew. He subsequently ordered two jackets from a London tailor and had all his insignia, ribbons, and wings made of bullion and sewn on…it had apparently become a fashion amongst the veterans like himself.

Newbies would have shown up with their graduation wings and perhaps a couple more purchased enroute, then found themselves thrown into an intense flight schedule allowing little time off to address such fashion.

I highlighted the West Point graduate to show that he had adopted the fashion in wings even though he was probably younger than the average combat pilot from the Cadet program. He graduated in 1943 as a 2Lt. and by late 1944 was a Lt. Col., finishing the war as Air Exec of the Group. Even though he was one of the original supply of line pilots with the Group, he was flying as a mission command pilot nearly from the start in late 1943.

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  • Commanders.JPG

Edited by Paul S, 27 June 2009 - 05:05 AM.


#28 John Cooper

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Posted 28 June 2009 - 05:38 PM

Patrick, Paul, & Cliff this is an intersting post and the photos add much to the discussion. I have been busy but wanted to share a photo I have which may lead to some more debate for some of the uniform & insignia details it contains.

The one thing that is not to clear in the posted photo is the fact that the Lt. is wearing a Sam Browne belt. (when did they stop wearing them?)

BTW forgive me but I was playing with photo shop ;)

@ Patrick - I was told by a few folks that the wing in question from above was made by Orber although I do not think I have seen one so marked.

Enjoy
John

http://img43.imageshack.us/img43/45/1930s.jpg

Edited by John Cooper, 28 June 2009 - 05:39 PM.


#29 IMPERIAL QUEST

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Posted 28 June 2009 - 06:30 PM

The one thing that is not to clear in the posted photo is the fact that the Lt. is wearing a Sam Browne belt. (when did they stop wearing them?)



John, after we got off of the phone, I did a little searching, and it looks lik the old memory didn't fail me this time...the date was 1942. Hope this helps somewhat in dating the uniform in the photo.

In the book "US Army Uniforms of World War II" by Shelby L. Stanton, he states the following...

"During 1942, the officer's coat was restyled to add a cloth self-belt at the coat's waistline fitted with a toungless bar buckle..."

"...By the end of 1942, officers no longer had the choice of wearing M1921 officer's belt over the cloth self belt."

#30 John Cooper

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 08:37 PM

Steve,

Thanks for that update and the quote from the book. I took your advice and communicated with Gil (who suggested that book) and he said that based on the shirt and tie combination which we discussed he put this photo at 1939-40 +\-


Now the following is a wing I suspect is very early war and maybe pre-war :think: I loosely base this on the massive thinkness and the brass pin. As for who made it..? :dunno:

Thoughts?

John

http://img18.imageshack.us/img18/8/pilot5.jpg

#31 pfrost

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 06:49 AM

Hi John,

I would agree, that this wing seems to be an early to mid war wing. The thing is, it is not an especially rare wing and I do encounter them on a regular basis, that makes me think that they are to common for the earlier, pre-war, time frame. On the other hand their size and construction makes me think the wings are more than likely early WWII time period.


Patrick

#32 Paul S

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 09:07 AM

I missed picking these up this weekend. Thought they might be pre-WWII...any others with a thought about them?

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  • 67.JPG


#33 John Cooper

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 06:19 PM

Paul sorry you missed these. It would have been nice to see good photos. I wonder if the pin assembly is a replacement? The catch appears to be of a pre-ww2 type or should I say that I have see that catch on earlier era wings.

Cheers
John

#34 hawk3370

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 03:54 PM

The attached two uniforms belonged to Lt. William Van Dusen. The first is his 1919 transition tunic with standing collar and gold US and Wing and prop, he did not change out the buttons so I am assuming this was worn between 1919 and the early 1920's. The second tunic worn in the 1926 to mid 1930's time frame. Both wings are identical 3" tip to tip with pins that only open 3/4 of the way. Both unmarked except for word sterling. Lt. Van Dusen was killed in a bomber crash on maneuvers in Mexico around 1939.

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  • William_Van_Dusen_001.jpg
  • William_Van_Dusen_004.jpg


#35 hawk3370

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 03:56 PM

Lt William Van Dusen

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  • William_Van_Dusen_003.jpg


#36 hawk3370

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 03:57 PM

Van Dusen wing

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  • William_Van_Dusen_005.jpg


#37 John Cooper

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 08:11 PM

Terry,

Nice additions to this thread! Your photos represent some interesting transitions in both the uniform and insignia.

Thanks
John

#38 Paul S

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 08:59 AM

Terry, thanks for your fine postings of Lt. Van Dusen's uniform. The wings, though not identical, are very close...the one I missed was not marked sterling. If I am understanding correctly, quite a lot of the between wars wings were not sterling.

Paul S

#39 hawk3370

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 04:36 PM

Terry,

Nice additions to this thread! Your photos represent some interesting transitions in both the uniform and insignia.

Thanks
John


John,
As requested here is the back of the Van Dusen wing. Only markings are "sterling". Measures 3" tip to tip as opposed to the later 3 1/8" wings.

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  • William_Van_Dusen_sterl_wing_b_002.jpg


#40 hawk3370

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 04:48 PM

Terry, thanks for your fine postings of Lt. Van Dusen's uniform. The wings, though not identical, are very close...the one I missed was not marked sterling. If I am understanding correctly, quite a lot of the between wars wings were not sterling.

Paul S


Paul,
I think you are correct in that a number of between the wars wings were plated not sterling. Attached is a picture of Lt. Wesley Zellner's 1919 wing. Lt. Zellner was a WW1 RMA and served until 1923. Notice the fine feathering. Wing is 3" tip to tip, pin only opens 90 degrees. Not marked "sterling".

Terry

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  • Zellner_Wing_F.jpg
  • Zellner_Wing_B.jpg


#41 rustywings

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 05:23 PM

A beautiful wing! It appears to be an unmarked Kinney Company made wing similar to the one Patrick posted earlier in the thread.

#42 John Cooper

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 06:57 PM

John,
As requested here is the back of the Van Dusen wing. Only markings are "sterling". Measures 3" tip to tip as opposed to the later 3 1/8" wings.



Thank you Sir! So this must have been the higher cost version compared to a brass wing that was silver plated. I know form looking at a 1930 dated Meyer catalog they offered the option. Oh if they could only be bought at those proces today!

Regards
John

Edited by John Cooper, 09 December 2009 - 07:02 PM.


#43 CliffP

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 07:01 PM

BTW, do you know what the store is behind the marking "From official dies"? Where these Government issued wings from Government owned dies?

Patrick

Patrick,

I do not have an answer for you but I will offer my best guess.

I think that the Air Service wanted to standardize the insignia. Whatever company made them may have been required to mark them as such or simply put that on there as proof that it was the "approved" design.

Now as for the design itself we may never know all the details but the those in charge of the Air Service must have submitted something to the General Staff for approval which eventually took the form of what we now know as the "Adam's" design which was pictured in National Geographic and Col. Wyllie's book from 1919.

Hi Patrick,

If a wing badge is backmarked "From Official Die" that means it came from the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, PA, not an independent manufacturer.

Cliff :thumbsup:

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  • 19193y.jpg


#44 pfrost

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Posted 23 December 2009 - 07:06 AM

Hi Patrick,

If a wing badge is backmarked "From Official Die" that means it came from the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, PA, not an independent manufacturer.

Cliff :thumbsup:


Thansk for the info Cliff!

Have a Merry Christmas.

P

#45 blue88s

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 04:57 PM

GREAT STUFF KEEP IT UP

#46 Paul S

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Posted 21 February 2010 - 11:26 AM

Here is another contribution to this thread that supports the time period of 1940 for one of the infrequently seen wings we've discussed earlier. The 3 wings shown represent those found from an estate of a pilot who was first rated in late 1939 or early 1940 and flew in the ATC during WWII.

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  • Meyer_1930s_Plated__Small_.JPG

Edited by Paul S, 21 February 2010 - 11:31 AM.


#47 CliffP

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Posted 21 February 2010 - 11:51 AM

:bye1:

Hi ya Paul,

Not meaning to split hairs :blush: but this badge actually dates back a little earlier to 1939.

Cliff

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  • post_1939.jpg


#48 Paul S

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Posted 21 February 2010 - 01:32 PM

:bye1:

Hi ya Paul,

Not meaning to split hairs :blush: but this badge actually dates back a little earlier to 1939.

Cliff


Hi Cliff, I probably should clarify...the years I noted on the picture are the years this particular pilot could have worn the wing. Perhaps the better approach would be to pin the date of the incised Meyer wing...would it have been an earlier wing, or concurrent with the (I've seen it called a White wing) White wing? I've been of the opinion that that the incised Meyer wing is older since those incised marks are also found on the 1919 government wings.

#49 John Cooper

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Posted 05 June 2010 - 02:41 PM

I really like this thread so I wanted to bring it back to the top with some new additions that I think belong in this time period. The overall construction seems to me to fall within the late 30's to early 40's type but I would like other opinions.

Cheers
John

unknown_pilot_41110.jpg

#50 John Cooper

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Posted 05 June 2010 - 02:45 PM

Here is an additional detail shot of the shoulders and the shield.

John

unknown_pilot_41110a.jpg


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