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NAVAL AVIATOR CERTIFICATES 1937-1945


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I collect WWII Naval Aviation memorabilia , and one thing I have noticed is VERY little is written about the types and varieties of the large sized Naval Aviator Certificates . I have been collecting them for a number of years and am going to attempt make some sense out of them with this thread. I have found 3 basics designs used from the 1930's through WWII.

 

1. First design was used from 193(?) to 1941 . I have only seen this design used for Pensacola Graduates . The earliest I have seen is 1937, but earlier dates are possible.

 

2. Second design was used from 1940-1944 . This is the most commonly seen design . It was used at Pensacola , Corpus Christi , New Orleans , and Miami . I have not seen any from other training locations.

 

3. Third design was used in 1944-1945 . I have only seen this design used at Pensacola and Corpus Christi , but I am sure more are out there.

 

 

Design one :

 

Naval Aviator Certificate from Pensacola dated January 1937 . This is the earliest example I have seen. It also has the engravers ( Printers ) mark on it. None past 1937 seem to have this.

 

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Design One

 

Naval Aviator Certificate from Pensacola dated 1938 . It does not have the printers mark on it. Lt. Skidmore died in 1942 in an aircraft accident.

 

I do not have any of the 1st design from from 1939 or 1940 .

 

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SECOND DESIGN

 

This example is dated December 1940 and is from Miami and is the earliest I have seen of this design . Luebke served as a fighter pilot during WWII as part of the " Cactus Air Force ".

 

 

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SECOND DESIGN

 

This example is dated April 1941 and is also from Miami . Herbert Gill was a fighter pilot with VF-5 on the USS Yorktown and was KIA in Dec 1943 .

 

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SECOND DESIGN

 

This example is from Pensacola and is dated Feb 1942 . Littlefield earned the NAVY CROSS while serving with VT-87 on the USS Ticonderoga .

 

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SECOND DESIGN

 

Here is another of the second Design from Pensacola dated August 1942. Note the naming on the certificate is now done by machine and is no longer hand scribed.

 

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SECOND DESIGN

 

This example is from Corpus Christi and is dated Dec 1942 . It is also named by machine and has " Naval Air Training Station" added to the top as well.

 

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SECOND DESIGN

 

Last one from 1942 . Example from Miami dated July 1942. His name has been typed on the document. Johnson served with VC-13 flying Wildcats and Hellcats throughout the war.

 

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SECOND DESIGN

 

This example is from Pensacola dated October 1943 . Flock shot down 1 plane with VF-33 .

 

 

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THIRD DESIGN

 

Sometime in 1944 the US Navy switched to this design . This is the only one I have from the 1944-45 time frame. This one is from Pensacola and is dated Sept 1944.

 

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These last two documents. while not " Aviator Certificates " do deserve to be included. They were both awarded to a US Navy FLight Surgeon . He first passed his exam as " Aviation Medical Examiner" and then passed instruction as a " Flight Surgeon" . These are the only 2 I have ever seen for sale on Ebay in the past 10 years . They might even be scarcer then some Airborne Patches :rolleyes:

 

 

This first is the Aviation Medical Examiner document from Pensacola in May 1942

 

 

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I welcome any additions to this thread. I would love to see certificates from locations and years that I have not posted!

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...Any additions ?

This is a great series.

 

I can't add a certificate but I do have this picture to contribute and a question for you: Do you have (or have you seen) a Naval Aviator Certificate awarded to an Army officer?

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This AAF lieutenant is wearing Army Air Force pilot wings over his ribbon bar. He flew the AAF OA-10A (Catalina) in SWP. I know that the obvious inference to draw from this picture is that the officer was in the Navy when he qualified as Naval Aviator but I happen to know that he never served in the Navy.

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Hey John

 

I like the photo! This is the 1st time I have seen an AAF officer wearing USN wings . This is a new one for me. I have seen Naval Aviator certificates named to British personnel who were trained by the USN , but never one to an AAF pilot.

 

 

Kurt

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My personal WWII hero was Paul I "Pappy" Gunn. Pappy retired from the Navy as a Chief Petty Officer Pilot and started his own inter-island airlines in the Phillipines before the war. On December 8th, he was immediately sworn into the AAF as a Captain (at, if I remember right, the age of 42) and began flying missions. After the fall of the Philippines (while his family went into Japanese captivity), he found himself in the 3rd Attack Group and, overall, ended up the primary engineering officer for the whole 5th Air Force. It was Pappy who developed such things as the gun-nose B25 strafers that became so effective in the SW Pacific. He also was the mad scientist behind the idea of installing a 75mm howitzer in the nose of a B25. No desk jockey, he continued to fly combat well into his 40's, finally achieving the rank of Major. His family behind barbed wire, he had a score to settle.

 

Being an old fart myself and one with a great respect for enlisted pilots, Pappy struck a chord with me. A few years back, I assembled a display uniform as it would have looked at the end of Pappy's career with the AAF. Silver wings and earned ribbons on the left and gold wings on the right.

 

After the war, reunited with his family, Pappy re-started his airline. In the late 40's, he went as he should have. A mountain rose up through the mists and smote him down.

 

Anyhow, to get back to the original topic, how about a flight certificate issued to a Naval Aviation Pilot?

 

Tom thumbsup.gif

**PLEASE NOTE: THIS COMMUNITY MEMBER HAS SADLY PASSED AWAY**

 

 

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Gunn was a heck of a guy and a WWII legend for sure! I have not been fortunate enough to find one of these documents to an NAP!

 

 

Here is one I should have posted yesterday as it does fill a hole for 1943.

 

SECOND DESIGN

 

This example is from Corpus Christi and is dated June 1943 . The name is enscribed by machine.

 

The recipient of this document was a pilot with VT-13 on the USS Franklin and earned the Navy Cross and lost his life on 10/24/44 during the Battle of Leyte Gulf .

 

for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Torpedo Plane in Torpedo Squadron THIRTEEN (VT-13), embarked from the U.S.S. FRANKLIN (CV-13), in action against twenty-three units of the Japanese Fleet in the Sibuyan Area, during the Second Battle of the Philippine Sea, on 24 October 1944. An aggressive and intrepid airman, experienced in combat flying, he immediately made a daring run on his target in bold defiance of the intense withering barrages of anti-aircraft fire from all warships in the force and, pressing home his determined, relentless attack at perilously low altitude, scored a direct hit on an enemy battleship. By his superb flying ability, his indomitable fighting spirit and cool courage, maintained at great personal risk, he contributed immeasurably to the extensive and costly damage inflicted on the Japanese during this and numerous other brilliantly executed strikes against Japanese shipping and shore installations in the Pacific War Area. His valiant devotion to duty throughout was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

 

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Kurt, here are a couple that I have. First is from NAS Jacksonville and is from Jack Porter who flew PBY's and PB4Y's with VP-91 and VB-106. It is the second style you show, Mark

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This one is from NAS Pensacola and is the third style you show. Jack G. Miller was designated on 28 July, 1944. If any one has info on Ens. JACK G. MILLER, I would appreciate it. Mark.

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  • 4 months later...

Here is an update to this thread.

 

I recently found this example of another Type I certificate from June 1941 . It is the latest example I have seen.

It shows that the Type I and II designs were being used at the same time in 1941.

 

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How about from the days when flying jets was a little unusual.

These were given by McDonnell Aircraft to those early propellerless aviators . . .

For being the 27th to qualify in the FH-1 Phantom


For being the 39th to qualify in the F2H-1 Banshee


Rich

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  • 6 months later...

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