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Flight Engineer wings variation?


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#1 flightmac

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Posted 24 December 2010 - 05:41 PM

Was this a pattern actually worn on uniforms? I have a pot metal version like this (along with several other sterling patterns) and see them on eBay. I'm just curious if this design was purely for souvenirs or is it a legitimate variation to look out for? Thanks.

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#2 Mark1

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Posted 25 December 2010 - 04:18 AM

I believe these were authorized to wear on 6/19/45. they were worn for about 5 years. Most that were authorized to wear wore the enlisted aircrew wings because they had other flight duties. I've heard there are a lot of fakes/remakes out there.

Mark

Edited by Mark1, 25 December 2010 - 04:23 AM.


#3 DMD

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Posted 25 December 2010 - 05:01 AM

I think the flight engineer's wings were intended for the B-29 FE. The flight engineer had his own station on the B-29, and most of the controls and indications for the engines were at this station, instead of near the pilot and copilot. In other words, the flight engineer on the B-29 had a major role in operation of the plane's engines and systems, and his job was not the same as a flight engineer on a B-24. Greater responsiblity for this crew member resulted in a new style wing.

That's a pretty bad replica in the first post.

#4 flightmac

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Posted 25 December 2010 - 10:16 AM

I believe these were authorized to wear on 6/19/45. they were worn for about 5 years. Most that were authorized to wear wore the enlisted aircrew wings because they had other flight duties. I've heard there are a lot of fakes/remakes out there.

Mark



I think the flight engineer's wings were intended for the B-29 FE. The flight engineer had his own station on the B-29, and most of the controls and indications for the engines were at this station, instead of near the pilot and copilot. In other words, the flight engineer on the B-29 had a major role in operation of the plane's engines and systems, and his job was not the same as a flight engineer on a B-24. Greater responsiblity for this crew member resulted in a new style wing.

That's a pretty bad replica in the first post.



Thank you gentlemen. I am a retired Reserve Flight Engineer on (Weather Recon.) C-130s and familiar with the Flight Engineer history (see link) Flight Engineer History . From the best of my research, they were no longer issued after sometime in the 1950's, possibly as late as 1956. They continued to be authorized, if you were originally awarded them, until the 1960s when all enlisted aircrew had to wear the same generic wings.

What I am trying to determine if they are a legitimate design to be sought after. I have several of the designs illustrated here in sterling: A.F. Flight Engineer Wings
I picked up as a souvenir somewhere - airshow, museum gift shop, etc., a pair of this design pattern in potmetal. Does anyone know if these were some variation airman might have had made in some corner of the world, or U.S. for that matter? Thanks again for any help.

#5 bschwartz

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Posted 25 December 2010 - 10:24 AM

I was going to point you to the Flight Engineer page on my site but I see you've already found it. The pattern that you have pictured at the top of this thread was never used during the war. This is simply a reproduction piece and someone's attempt at replicating the design. You often see these types of wings for sale in aircraft related catalogs and at air shows.

#6 flightmac

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Posted 25 December 2010 - 10:36 AM

I was going to point you to the Flight Engineer page on my site but I see you've already found it. The pattern that you have pictured at the top of this thread was never used during the war. This is simply a reproduction piece and someone's attempt at replicating the design. You often see these types of wings for sale in aircraft related catalogs and at air shows.


Thank you!

#7 COOKIEMAN

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Posted 25 December 2010 - 01:06 PM

FLIGHT ENGINEER WINGS:

Some additional information; The Flight Engineer Aviation Badge (official name) was approved by AG 421, 19 June 1945 and authorized for wear on 4 July 1945 in Change 4 to Army Regulation 600-35.

There is positive evidence the FE Wing was worn into the mid-1950s. Attached picture is a Flight Engineer Wing is embroidered on Air Force blue-gray fatique fabrige. The blue-gray fatiques were introduced in 1955 so that pretty much dates the wing.

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  • USAF___WING___Flt_Eng___c.1955___cropped.jpg


#8 COOKIEMAN

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Posted 25 December 2010 - 01:20 PM

FLIGHT ENGINEER WING:

In a link in a previous thread, it talks about the original AAF Flight Engineers who were commissioned officers. I recently obtained a three medal group (American Defense - American Campaign - WW2 Victory) belonging to an AAF Lt Colonel. In the documentation that came with the group, was a certificate where the individual had ggraduate from the Combat Observer (Flight Engineer) course at Lowry Field, Colorado. Upon graduation, he was awarded the Combat Observer Wing. Although the individual did not see combat, he did command the B-29 Factory School at Seattle.

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  • TTS___Flt_Eng___B_29___Pix.jpg


#9 COOKIEMAN

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Posted 25 December 2010 - 01:21 PM

OK, certificate didn't load. Will try again

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#10 flightmac

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Posted 25 December 2010 - 02:57 PM

FLIGHT ENGINEER WINGS:

Some additional information; The Flight Engineer Aviation Badge (official name) was approved by AG 421, 19 June 1945 and authorized for wear on 4 July 1945 in Change 4 to Army Regulation 600-35.

There is positive evidence the FE Wing was worn into the mid-1950s. Attached picture is a Flight Engineer Wing is embroidered on Air Force blue-gray fatique fabrige. The blue-gray fatiques were introduced in 1955 so that pretty much dates the wing.


Yes! I have embroidered wings like that AND on green fabric, too. Cookieman, I had the impression that the blue-gray or "sage" fatigues came out sometime in the mid '50s, but I hadn't yet found a reference for the date. Can you tell me where that information can be found? :) Again many Thanks in advance!

#11 pfrost

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Posted 26 December 2010 - 09:15 AM

Yes! I have embroidered wings like that AND on green fabric, too. Cookieman, I had the impression that the blue-gray or "sage" fatigues came out sometime in the mid '50s, but I hadn't yet found a reference for the date. Can you tell me where that information can be found? :) Again many Thanks in advance!


Here is a photo of Sgt Bob Wellman, who was a B17 gunner in the 8th AAF during the war. Here he is wearing flight engineer wings in the 50's. Also, a photo of him wearing his war time uniform.

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Edited by pfrost, 26 December 2010 - 09:16 AM.


#12 flightmac

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Posted 26 December 2010 - 10:14 AM

Here is a photo of Sgt Bob Wellman, who was a B17 gunner in the 8th AAF during the war. Here he is wearing flight engineer wings in the 50's. Also, a photo of him wearing his war time uniform.


Interesting! IIRC, the Flight Engineers were also gunners on some aircraft. Could he have been an Engineer/Gunner who, in the post-WWII Air Force with fewer aerial gunners, was now a Flight Engineer?

Also, I notice he's not wearing his bottom row of ribbons in the later photo. I wonder what's with that. Didn't want bother with ribbons he didn't feel were worth the trouble? I'm not familiar enough with ribbons to identify the bottom row without looking at a chart (and then there might be some guessing).

Edited by flightmac, 26 December 2010 - 10:22 AM.


#13 rustywings

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Posted 26 December 2010 - 11:30 AM

Late in the Pacific Theatre, some B-29 Flight Engineers were also known to wear unauthorized "E" wings. The top wing was made by Beverlycraft of Beverly Hills, Ca. The bottom wing badge is theatre-made.

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Edited by rustywings, 26 December 2010 - 11:43 AM.


#14 Paul S

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Posted 26 December 2010 - 11:47 AM

Terrific pictures of Sgt. Wellman, Patrick. That WWII picture shows all the right stuff...blue combat crew backing, a crusty crusher, and a give 'em heck expression. The ribbons on top are probably DFC (x2) and several Air Medals...he had been around the patch a few times. Along the bottom row there appears to be a Good Conduct, American Campaign?, maybe a PTO (3rd one), and an ETO with several campaign stars.

Of the bomb crews I've studied, the top turret gunners were the crew's flight engineer and generally the most capable enlisted man on the crew. Time and again that guy tended to be the pilots' go-to guy, the one who had to range back through the plane to fix problems and report damage. On more than one crew I've studied, they often had some pre-war private pilot experience or were guys who were slotted for pilot training when there was no room in the schools for them and simply chose to get on with it rather than wait for a spot to open up.

If you look at a number of crew photos with the crewmen identified, you will see the FE/TTG is sometimes visibly older, and often has two rockers where the other enlisted crewmen have one.

PS

Edited by Paul S, 26 December 2010 - 11:53 AM.


#15 John Cooper

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Posted 26 December 2010 - 08:29 PM

Paul,

Nice observation & insight on the FE/TTG I will have to take a closer look as some photos!

@ Russ those are some vey nice wings for sure! Do you think the modification of the BC pilots wings was done "at the factory" or in country? I ask because the background of the shield has a very unique surface texture.

@ Cookieman - interesting group and information. I am lucky to have a named ID braclet with the observer wings on them but the officer went on to become the group navigator for the 100th until he bailed out and became a POW. see photo below.

Cheers
John

omar_gonzales1.jpg omar_gonzales.jpg

#16 Plant#4

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Posted 28 December 2010 - 12:00 AM

This is M/SGT Bobby Ryan's uniform, the only enlisted man to fly on the B-58 during the test program. I would be interested to know how many other enlisted types flew as crew dogs of the B-58 Hustler. From the early 1960's, his last one.
Cheers, Dave

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#17 Paul S

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Posted 28 December 2010 - 06:06 AM

We lived in Ft. Worth when I was a Little League age kid and went out to Carswell to watch the B-58 first flight in 1956. It was a pretty plane to my young eyes...still looks good to me. Someone has posted a First Flight video to Youtube that pretty much shows the image I still have in my memory: LINK

#18 flightmac

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Posted 28 December 2010 - 07:39 AM

This is M/SGT Bobby Ryan's uniform, the only enlisted man to fly on the B-58 during the test program. I would be interested to know how many other enlisted types flew as crew dogs of the B-58 Hustler. From the early 1960's, his last one.
Cheers, Dave


Whoa! Dave, you just blew me away with that! Unfortunately, his experience was probably somewhat unique. In operation, the Hustler did not utilize an enlisted Flight Engineer. That fact and that "The outspoken and controversial commander of the Strategic Air Command of that time didn’t like having flight engineers" is mentioned in the Flight Engineer History link I had posted above. MSgt Ryan probably filled the same role I had in 1999-2001 as Test Observer/Technical Advisor on the C-130J Initial Operational Test and Evaluation. It's an aircraft designed with "reduced crew" in mind - no Engineer or Nav. If the Tech Observer wings were still around, I should've worn those! :lol: Dave, do you have anything else on MSgt Ryan's career? I'm really intrigued to learn more about him.

#19 Plant#4

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Posted 28 December 2010 - 08:48 AM

No unfortunately my pockets were not deep enough when I acquired the uniform. His "tomato suit and flight helmet" a K 1 I believe, several B-58 Test flight patches, and a few other things were auctioned off on ebay a few years ago.
He was active flying personel on those test aircraft. I am not sure, but he most likley flew in the DSO position, monitoring whatever test equipment was installed on this brand new weapons system. Indeed, I have found no other enlisted personel to have flown operationaly on that aircraft.
Cheers, Dave

#20 B-17Guy

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Posted 28 December 2010 - 10:42 AM

Here is a pair of post WWII shirt size FE wings.
Cheers, John

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#21 flightmac

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Posted 28 December 2010 - 01:17 PM

Here is a pair of post WWII shirt size FE wings.
Cheers, John


Interesting that MSgt Ryan put shirt size wings on his jacket. :think:

BTW, Dave, the button is upside-down.

John (and all) sometime after I get back from the holidays I hope to photograph and post up my FE and aircrew wings.

#22 Plant#4

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 12:27 AM

BTW, Dave, the button is upside-down.


LOL and it spins round and round also. As the old SAC lifers know, you put the buttons on "keepers" and sew down the pocket flaps, and you will always look A-1. :lol:

#23 mvmhm

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Posted 31 December 2010 - 10:42 AM

I have a Flight Engineer grouping from MSgt William Wright...he was a crew member aboard the B-29 "Pride of Brooklyn" in the Korean War and previously served in the Berlin Airlift....this is an original color portrait of him

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Edited by mvmhm, 31 December 2010 - 10:43 AM.


#24 mvmhm

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Posted 31 December 2010 - 10:42 AM

...and his awards and decs......

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#25 rustywings

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Posted 31 December 2010 - 11:05 AM

Terrific photo! It really documents those one-piece Flight Engineer wings.


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