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post WWII, 50's & 60's US Air Force uniform photos

Started by Bob Hudson , May 29 2007 02:27 PM

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#276 Wailuna

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 04:45 PM

....he's still got the early cutout prop/wing collar insignia, along with an Army tan tie, but has the S/Sgt moved to wearing an AF blue belt?

Yes, he was a man in transition alright and, as we see, just about anything goes (or went) in 1949. Not only a blue belt with khaki tie but it is interesting that he had switched to the new chevrons before he needed to. The other picture (in the goody box) shows him in an identical uniform except for Army pattern staff sergeant chevrons (and wearing a cap). He was bidding farewell to his wife and daughter in Hawaii as he boarded a ship to the Mainland. We will never know why he was an early adapter of the new USAF stripes as his rank did not change between the taking of these two pictures but this is surely among the earliest date-verified sightings the new stripes being worn that we have seen on the Forum. Can you tell if your dad was wearing USAF stripes the picture at post #229.

AKUI_BOX_CROP.jpg


Edited by Wailuna, 30 July 2012 - 04:51 PM.


#277 astra44

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 05:13 PM


I don't know if my Dad was wearing Army or AF rank when that picture (post 229) was taken in July of 1949, but I do know that in a photo of him in his khakis at the around the same time/place (Celle, Germany) he is the only one of a bunch of airman wearing a blue chevron. I may have posted this picture before, but can't remember where the hell it's sitting -- it may even be on this thread somewhere! Anyway, if I post a duplicate here, I trust it's no problem.

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Edited by astra44, 30 July 2012 - 05:32 PM.


#278 astra44

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 05:25 PM

And here is a picture of my old man (far left) dated New York, Dec 17, 1948 on leave with some buddies.

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Edited by astra44, 30 July 2012 - 05:50 PM.


#279 astra44

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 05:40 PM

Note two GIs on right : one wearing cut-out prop/wing device, one still with old style AAF insignia.

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  • NEW_YORK_DEC_17_1948_crop.jpg

Edited by astra44, 30 July 2012 - 05:41 PM.


#280 astra44

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 05:48 PM

Another close-up. Can the right shoulder patches be ID'd? And what is that partly covering the ribbons?

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#281 rr01

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 07:46 PM

This is a '60s photo but the longevity ribbon seem to have knots instead of clusters.

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#282 rr01

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 07:49 PM

This is a '60s photo but the longevity ribbon seem to have knots instead of clusters.

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Edited by rr01, 30 July 2012 - 07:50 PM.


#283 Bob Hudson

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 08:05 PM

Thanks for the latest photos: an amazing mix of AAF and USAF items.

#284 astra44

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 08:11 PM

That does seems very unusual. For comparison, Longevity ribbon seen here with the usual oak leaves ('60s uniform of M/Sgt G.Ellis, USAAF/USAF).

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Edited by astra44, 30 July 2012 - 08:15 PM.


#285 Wailuna

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 10:21 PM

...Can the right shoulder patches be ID'd? And what is that partly covering the ribbons?

Great pix., Astra! December 1948 takes the prize for early wear the new USAF chevrons.

To answer your questions: The Pvt. on the left is wearing a 78th Infantry Division SSI, indicating service in ETO during WWII, and the badge over his ribbons is the Combat Medical Badge (link here for more info on the CMB). The Corp. next to him is wearing a never approved patch borrowed from the Great Seal and Flag of the Territory of Guam, presumably indicating…you guessed it…wartime service on Guam (see below). The Army's postwar Marianas-Bonin Command (aka: MARBO) had an approved SSI (August 1948) that is very similar to this design (see below).

bluseal2.jpg
Guam Territorial Flag

MARBO_SSI.jpg
MARBO Command SSI



#286 Wailuna

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 11:00 AM

General Carl Spaatz, USAF Chief of Staff, and Lt. Gen. Curtis LeMay, Commanding General, U.S. Air Forces in Europe, meet at plane side in Wiesbaden, Germany, May 12, 1948. Gen. Spaatz would retire soon and this was his last trip to Europe. Gen. LeMay left USAFE later in 1948 to assume command of Strategic Air Command.

Spaatz_and_LeMay_Wiesbaden_May_12__1948.jpg

Note that Gen. LeMay is wearing the generic USAF SSI whereas Gen. Spaatz also appears to be wearing an SSI on his left sleeve, tantalizingly out of sight because of the camera angle....perhaps it was his trademark patch for U.S. Strategic Air Forces in Europe, his former wartime command, which was known to wear even as Chief of Staff (link here).

#287 KySoldier

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 08:44 PM

1955 Airman. Real color, faded; or tinted?

Real color! Beautiful era picture !!! I love this era in photos and colors !!!!!!!!!!




#288 Sabrejet

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 11:38 PM

Interesting to see Gen Spaatz's jacket in #286. We're still in the "pinks/greens" era here but his coat lacks the usual belt. It's dark OD but is tailored like the belt-less khaki TW summer uniform.

#289 DutchInfid3l

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 10:04 AM

Newest photo pickup...
http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h300/Kimballsek/Photos/621123ddd3ae9b08bf4f2ff23e7e089a.jpg

#290 Wailuna

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 07:32 PM

...Interesting to see Gen Spaatz's jacket in #286. We're still in the "pinks/greens" era here but his coat lacks the usual belt...


Let’s go easy on Gen. Spaatz: He was simply a man ahead of his times. Well before this picture of Spaatz and LeMay was taken the USAF had decided that its new blue service uniform coat would be without belt. As Gen. Spaatz was Chief of Staff of the Air Force when that decision was made, can we doubt that he approved of the belt-less uniform look? And here he is giving the concept a field test. Modifying the pinks and greens in this fashion was simple: The belt was detachable and adding the fourth brass button to the coat would have been a snap for the General’s orderly. Here is an extract from the USAF directive on the transitional pinks and greens from about the time the picture was made (Air Force Letter Number 35-4, 1 September 1948. Note: This extract exactly matches the specifications for same uniform in Army regulations).

AFL 35-4 SEPT. 1 1948.jpg


Note that the “…horizontal seam at the waistline…” is clearly visible on Spaatz’s coat and although button details are not visible in the picture, it is possible that Spaatz’s coat buttons were the new pattern gold color Department of the Air Force Seal design, which was officially prescribed in August 1948 (AFL 39-25).

#291 Wailuna

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 02:52 PM

...This is a '60s photo but the longevity ribbon seems to have knots instead of clusters...

This Lieutenant Colonel also wore knots on his Longevity Service Ribbon instead of oak leaf clusters (photo dated August 20, 1959). Perhaps this practice was per USAF regulations of those early times. Legend has it that Air Force Chief of Staff Thomas D. White approved this award in 1957 (he was appointed to the post in August 1957). The Air Officer's Guide (10th edition, 1957) does not mention this ribbon....does anyone have 11th edition (1958)?

USAF Longevity Service Award with loops.jpg



#292 Wailuna

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 12:57 AM

Here was the "New Look" for Air Police at SAC Headquarters in 1957. To judge from his ribbons and other insignia, the Airman modeling the new outfit was a veteran of WWII and the Korean War with the Purple Heart, the Navy and Marine Corps Presidential Unit Citation, the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, and the ROK Presidential Unit Citation, and three each Hershey Bars and hash marks...no rookie this.

SAC new look on the hoof.jpg

SAC new look AFT.jpg



#293 Wailuna

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 12:58 AM

Two other SAC Palace Guards in summer khakis ca. 1958.

New Look ca. 1958.jpg



#294 Sabrejet

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 01:22 AM

Terrific new pics. Love those sidearms!

#295 Wailuna

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 12:28 AM

Here is a USAF officer with a fascinating backstory. Cornelius J. Mara enlisted in the Army in May 1918 and served as an army field clerk until 1926 when he was converted to the rank of warrant officer, in which capacity he served until 1940 when he was commissioned as a Captain in the Quartermaster Corps Reserve. In 1941 he transferred to the Air Corps Reserve. He served with the Army Air Forces throughout the war, eventually being promoted to Colonel in 1944. He remained on active duty in the Army after the war until he transferred to the USAF in 1947. In May 1949, Col. Mara was appointed Assistant Military Aide to President Truman, a post that he held until January 1953. He was promoted to Brigadier General in September 1952 (link here). Col. Mara is shown in this picture (ca. 1949) wearing an Army style uniform with the lapel insignia for Aide to the President of the United States (1st type, worn ca. 1946 to 1953. Link here).

Col. Cornelius Mara.jpg



#296 astra44

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 10:32 PM

USAF Christmas recruitment ad -- early '50s.

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Edited by astra44, 02 December 2012 - 10:38 PM.


#297 astra44

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 10:36 PM

Captioned: "Air Base Defence Training" Unknown date/place. AirBase Defence Training.jpg

#298 Wailuna

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 10:52 PM

An Air Police sergeant, ca. 1950:

USAF Air Police sergeant ca. 1950.jpg


"Okay, where's the beef?"



#299 astra44

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 11:01 PM

@wailuna, Re: post 298. Great pic. What's the deal with light-colored strap on the airman's cap? White, do you think, or silver? I guess at this early date, they hadn't settled on a hat design for APs?

#300 Wailuna

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 02:20 AM

...I guess at this early date, they hadn't settled on a hat design for APs?

Air Force uniform and insignia directive of those times specified “Special Items of Equipment for Air Police” which included “Black leather trim items…” (AFL 35-46A, dated July 26, 1949) but obviously local use of white chinstraps by Air Policemen occurred in some locations. Here are two place-dated examples of black and white chinstraps in use at two different locations at about the same time.

USAF APs with Foreign Legion Sidi Slimane AB ca. 1951.jpg

Air Policemen at Sidi Slimane Air Base, Morocco, ca. 1952


APs RAF Upper Heyford ca. 1952.jpg

Air Policemen at RAF Upper Heyford, England, ca. 1952


Edited by Wailuna, 03 December 2012 - 02:23 AM.



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