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Copper "Clipped Wings" Jump Wings


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#1 Captainofthe7th

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 11:03 AM

Nice modifications on these wings by a proud paratrooper. No hallmarks, pins are missing. What era and manufacture are these from? I have not been able to find any info on the forums.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o255/Captainofthe7th/DSCF2808.jpg

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o255/Captainofthe7th/DSCF2809.jpg

Rob

#2 Captainofthe7th

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 04:27 PM

Shoot, this should be in the wings section. Mods please move this...thanks.

Rob

#3 Brig

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 04:29 PM

Shoot, this should be in the wings section. Mods please move this...thanks.

Rob

:thumbsup:

#4 StevenL

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 09:47 PM

Why would a proud paratrooper deface the wings he earned? Is there something this represents that I just haven't learned about yet?

#5 SKIPH

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 09:36 AM

A "Proud Paratrooper" would not desecrate his wings that way. I have never seen anything done like that before. Pure shame. SKIP

#6 Tonomachi

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 05:43 PM

I believe I brought this up in another thread concerning "clipped paratrooper wings" but no one answered so I'd like to ask the question again. I've come across a number of modified paratrooper wings which are pictured below so a number of different airborne troopers were modifying their wings possibly during and after WW2. I spoke with an airborne trooper who was in the 11th Abn Div and 187th RCT during the end of WW2 and through the Korean War. He told me that it was because paratroopers were so proud that they had all the detail taken off of their paratrooper wings so they could buff it to a mirror finish. This was during the occupation of Japan where they would give a local boy one cigarette with their paratrooper wing and a day or so later it would be returned with all of the detail taken off with an emery board. One of the reason this was done in Japan was in defiance of General MacArthur who made them unblouse their pants and forbade the wearing of their jump jacket and pants because he didn't like elite troops. I was told that they would also put so much starch in their khaki uniforms that it would turn almost white again in defiance of General MacArthur.

My question has to do with "Clipped Wings". I've been told a number of different things like it was worn by paratroopers taken off of jump status due to an injury, worn by members of the 13th Abn Division because they never made a combat jump during WW2 and another person told me that it was modified this way to form a "V" for victory. Does anyone out there know why this was done.

I've come across wings with all detail taken off, detail taken off of the top of the chute only, detail take off of the risers of the chute only. detail take off of the entire chute and risers but not the wings and the tips of the wings cut off from the chute. I've also come across one wing with the first outer layer of feathering filed smooth.

Regarding the paratrooper wing at the beginning of this thread I did come across a post war clipped wing that had the features on the top of the chute and the sides taken off and then nickeled or chromed.

Attached Images

  • Clipped_Top_Dome.JPG
  • Clipped_Cut_Tips_and_Dome.JPG
  • Clipped_CB.JPG
  • Clipped_Top_Dome_Post_War.JPG


#7 Tonomachi

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 05:45 PM

All detail taken off and one has the tips cut from the chute

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  • All_Robbins.JPG
  • All_Sterling_CB.JPG
  • All_Sterling_PB.JPG
  • All_Cut_Tips.JPG


#8 Tonomachi

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 05:46 PM

Various ones with detail taken off of the chute and riser, chute only and riser ony

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  • Part_Chute.JPG
  • Part_Chute_Cut_Tips.JPG
  • Part_Chute___Risers.JPG
  • Part_Risers.JPG


#9 Tonomachi

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 05:47 PM

Lastly here is one with only the first layer of feathering smoothed off.

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  • First_Layer.JPG


#10 Brig

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 06:05 PM

well aren't those interesting...

#11 Captainofthe7th

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 06:07 PM

Tonomachi, thanks for posting, this is exactly what I was looking for. It looks like removing the pins was not uncommon. Thanks for also posting variations. I agree that your first story is the reason behind these wing modifications.

I'm sorry some of us think this is "pure shame." I think it is creative and interesting and an example of the individuality and pride exhibited by GIs through their use and modification of insignia. These are the sort of comments that make me unsure to post anything on these forums out of fear that someone will call it fake or something similar with no prior knowledge of the subject. I was actually a bit hurt by said post, as I was so pleased to find these wings as I knew they were a good find and fit within all of my interests. To find that someone thinks it is "pure shame" really kills it for me.

But in the end I can't have any hard feelings - I'm sure I have done this same sort of thing before just because I hadn't seen something done, and I learned something from it. Let's just be here to enjoy the wings.

Rob

Edited by Captainofthe7th, 16 May 2010 - 06:19 PM.


#12 Allan H.

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 03:04 AM

I'm sorry some of us think this is "pure shame." I think it is creative and interesting and an example of the individuality and pride exhibited by GIs through their use and modification of insignia. These are the sort of comments that make me unsure to post anything on these forums out of fear that someone will call it fake or something similar with no prior knowledge of the subject. I was actually a bit hurt by said post, as I was so pleased to find these wings as I knew they were a good find and fit within all of my interests. To find that someone thinks it is "pure shame" really kills it for me.

But in the end I can't have any hard feelings - I'm sure I have done this same sort of thing before just because I hadn't seen something done, and I learned something from it. Let's just be here to enjoy the wings.

Rob


Rob,
You are going to find that there is a difference in tastes and opinions in just about anything you ever do. If your feelings are easily hurt, you are going to have a long hard life, whether we're talking about militaria collecting of being successful in the corporate world.

Different people see things differently. Imagine finding a painted leather flight jacket out of the vet's closet. There will be some collectors who might want a pristine example of an A-2 saying "It's a shame that somebody painted on the jacket." There may be some who say "the artist was terrible!" and yet others who say "I can't find the veteran's name on a unit roster" so they don't like the jacket either. We are very fortunate that not everybody has the same tastes in collecting. If we did, large amounts of militaria would be completely ignored and what was popular would be priced intothe stratosphere.

In the corporate world, you will write reports or make presentations that some feel are outstanding while others will hate the exact same presentation. It is just a matter of perspective. If you don't keep marching forward even when people are critiquing your work, then you will never make it to the top of your game.

Allan

#13 Captainofthe7th

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 06:36 AM

Thanks Allan - I think it was more a reflection of how a lot of us on here are too quick to call something fake or incorrect etc. when there are many variations and oddities in legit items. It's not really a big deal, but a number of members have mentioned it as well and they say that is one of the reasons they don't post items from their collection on here. It's too bad, really.

Maybe saying my feelings were hurt wasn't the best choice of words - I can handle a critique with no problem. I am currently a design major, so I get my fill of criticism from professors. It's how we get better at things.

I guess we're straying from the original topic here. Is a clean up in store? Mods? Thanks-

Rob

#14 Bob Carter

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 10:23 AM

To get back to the subject at hand I thought I would add that a number of years I received the wings from a 17th vet that had the ends of the wings clipped, when I asked him about it he laughed and said he had broken his foot in a training jump and his buddies were nice enough to "clip" his wings while he slept as he had been taken off jump status. - I also have quite a few pair that have either had the wings or the canopy and risers buffed out to make them stand out.

#15 DwightPruitt

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 01:30 PM

A "Proud Paratrooper" would not desecrate his wings that way. I have never seen anything done like that before. Pure shame. SKIP


Just when you think a GI won't do something.....he'll do something.

#16 SKIPH

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 03:36 PM

Hey Guys! Lighten up some. Let me explain my coments enough so you know where I'm coming from. I spent almost all of my Army career on jump status. I earned my Novice jumpwings, Master Wings, and HALO Wings, along w/ Ecuadorian, and Honduran Wings. I servedwith WW2, Korean War, Vietnam War, and guys who jumped into Grenada, and Panama. I've seen guys killed on jumps, and had my share of close calls to include crashing in a Blackhawk Helicopter. Served in the 82d ABN, 5th & 7th Special Forces Groups, plus an instructor at the Special Warfare Center. Honestly, I have never seen or heard of anyone ever doing that to their jumpwings. I was proud of my acheivements, and would not make such an unauthorized modification, and knew no one else that had done it. Obviously they exist! I just never saw them. Wasn't trying to hurt any feelings. SKIP

#17 pfrost

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 05:21 PM

In my experience, I have found that the US Army jump wings, more than any other medal, award, or badge, shows the most post-production variation. Be it jump stars, invasion arrowheads, chaplin's cross, Rabbi's Star of David, rigger's "R", medical caduceus, Engineer's castles, smoothed wings, clipped wings, etc, et al... Ebay is full of these type of variations, most of which, frankly, I suspect are bogus. I don't think that their is anything wrong to say... "hey, maybe this is not correct". YOu know, with a little bit of work with a drill, a grinder, and some soldering, you can turn a run-of-the-mill (and relatively cheap) jump wing into some sort of rare and unique (and relatively more expensive) badge.

I have no doubt that some of these wings were modified and worn, but it seems that the number of modified jump wings far outweighs what one would expect from a proud and elite group of professional soldiers who worked very hard to get the right to wear these badges.

For example, how many modified combat infantryman's badges do you see? What about modified gunner or aircrew wings from the AAF? Or modified USN combat aircrewman's wings and badges? Sure, you may find some of these badges that have been modified and altered, but they are usually one-offs or "gag" or joke awards. It almost seems with the LARGE number of these modified wings in the market, that nearly every guy who went through jumps school was willing and able to modify his wings as he saw fit, without anyone saying "knock that off". I have no doubt it happened, but one wonders how common it was? Also, I am SURE that a commanding officer or senior NCO would not find the modification of such an important badge something worthy of ignoring. It is just hard for me to see some guy (1) wanting to do this to his wings and (2) getting away with this for very long. Thus, in my opinion (and that all it is), the fact that so many jump wings seem to be modified, I wonder if some other force isn't at play?

In my humble opinion, I have always asked myself, are these post-production modifications made by the soldiers or are they modifications made by someone who was trying to increase the value of a common jump wing? Perhaps one will never know, but by adding a couple of stars or a cross or altering the wings in some way, you can increase the value--"Hey, this is a rare variation of wing only worn by small group of 501st paratroopers!" I have no idea of the truth, but I do always try to let the wing sell itself, not the story.

On the other hand, if you just judge by the wings that started this thread, they seem to be a post-KW silver plated clutch back pair of wings--not especially rare or valuable. Not only are they modified by grinding down the front (with what looks like a grinding wheel), but someone clipped off the clutches. It is hard to imagine that a paratrooper would modify his wings is such a slapdash fashion, and then cut them down so he couldn't wear them. I wonder if someone wasn't trying to make a bracelet out of these?

One final note, I am not sure anyone gets slammed on this forum for posting stuff. Not everyone agrees but the topics and posts are always well thought out and discussed in a polite tone (or John will send you a PM!). Typically, unless some one specifically ASKS for an opinion about an items vintage or legitimacy, people don't tend to raise those points. This wing is a perfect example, the statement was that it was a shame, not that it was a fake. Discussing it doesn't belittle it--if you like it and enjoy it in your collection, then none of what anyone else has to say really matters.

Just my 2 cents.
Patrick

Edited by pfrost, 17 May 2010 - 05:27 PM.


#18 Captainofthe7th

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 07:01 PM

Thanks for all the replies guys.

As I just told Skip, I've become more cynical lately after a few events that have just left me with a poor attitude (if it helps my case, I split with my girlfriend of three years last week...no excuse of course, but it's part of the reason behind my poor attitude). I'd like to extend a public apology for being bitter...this certainly isn't the right place or the right direction for that sort of discussion and I didn't intend to confront anyone personally. I know I came off as rude and ignorant and looking back on it I'm quite embarrassed. This is really a great forum and I appreciate all comments, positive and negative. I can't take back what I said and I won't try and brush it under the rug, but hopefully I can make up for it in some way or another.

Thanks for dealing with me guys - I guess it's all a learning experience. :rolleyes:

Rob

#19 Sgt_Rock_EasyCo

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 07:22 PM

Polishing your wings over and over removes the detail from them. They look incredible when they're smoothed over a little and freshly polished. In my day we polished our brass, wings, badges and such. They would collect dust and begin getting a bit green if left alone so we polished them to make them look nicer. As time went on the metal just smoothed over and they looked really nice. Lots of work, but you could see a difference.

I think the V'd wings are awesome. Paratroopers, especially WWII ones, set the tone for the rest of us. They trained, partied and fought hard. The rules were not set in stone yet.

Rock

#20 pfrost

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 09:22 PM

Thanks for all the replies guys.

As I just told Skip, I've become more cynical lately after a few events that have just left me with a poor attitude (if it helps my case, I split with my girlfriend of three years last week...no excuse of course, but it's part of the reason behind my poor attitude). I'd like to extend a public apology for being bitter...this certainly isn't the right place or the right direction for that sort of discussion and I didn't intend to confront anyone personally. I know I came off as rude and ignorant and looking back on it I'm quite embarrassed. This is really a great forum and I appreciate all comments, positive and negative. I can't take back what I said and I won't try and brush it under the rug, but hopefully I can make up for it in some way or another.

Thanks for dealing with me guys - I guess it's all a learning experience. :rolleyes:

Rob


Trust me, wings trump girlfriends! :thumbsup: I am sure no one took offense.

Patrick

#21 SKIPH

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 01:48 PM

Just a passing thought on some of these wings. I saw a lot of anti-war types in the 60's and 70's who would wear and abuse military uniforms, awards, and decorations just to be"cool", and "anti-establishment". Many of the wings could have came from that time frame. Who knows? SKIP

#22 brad k

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Posted 22 May 2010 - 08:55 PM

when I was in the 82nd I went to ft. huachuka az. for a school and the civilian bus driver that was taking me to to class every day pulled two pair of those "clipped wings" out of his wallet to show me, he said he wore them when he was in the 187th rct. during korea.

#23 General Apathy

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 12:45 AM

Copy_of_V._Luna_506th_PIR__1.jpg Copy_of_V._Luna_506th_PIR__3.jpg

Hi Rob ( Capatinofthe7th) & forum members here is a uniform in my collection belonging to Victor ' V ' Luna, he was in D company 506th and fought in Normandy. I have collected for around forty years and when I originally acquired this uniform I thought that Victor had cut the vee into his wings relating to his name beginning with a V or his middle initial maybe. Years later I learnt of other wings with similar done and as evidenced here in this topic.

I believe Victor never served post WWII possibly evidenced by the style of his jacket and also what medal ribbons are attached, so I believe the cutting on his wing to be purely WWII. I am pleased to say that this jacket, shirt and all insignia were acquired for very very little money way back before collecting took off and certainly before there became any major interest in ' Airborne '. Note that both 101st Eagles are ' white tongue' versions.

I freely admit that even after a lifetime of collecting I can still find and see things that I have never seen before, just because I never saw them doesn't mean they never existed, I don't expect now after all these years that I will ever know the full truth as to why Victor did his wings this way, but appears proud to have done so.

Wounded in WWII combat jump maybe, wings clipped never to jump again. ???

Cheers Lewis

Edited by General Apathy, 23 May 2010 - 12:50 AM.


#24 SKIPH

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 04:10 AM

No doubt that obviously the wings exist. But, none of us have quite pinned down , "WHY?". I'm still working on it. Talked to a very good collector friend Wed. about this subject. We both work together. Our military careers are almost identical, and we served with the same buch of guys. Between the two of us we have over 40 years of service, and jump status. He said he's seen guys shine wings to the point of wearing away details, but never clipped or exposing copper. In fact that is why we now have "STA-BRITE" wings, which I do not like. His forte is US uniforms, specifically airborne. I've still got some other sources, my curiousity is peaked now. Between all of us we'll get it figured out. SKIP

#25 Dirty175

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 03:28 AM

I had a room mate that had been a cadet at Texas A&M and he used to do stuff like that to his insignia. He called it "shave brass". If he told me why I cant remember. Maybe you could call the Corps of Cadets at A&M and see if they can tell you.


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