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U.S.A.F. Astronaut wings.


rustywings
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In 2002, I was invited to set-up and display my aviation collection at the "Aerospace Walk of Honor" event in Lancaster, California. Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman helped fund the event which payed tribute to pilots and aviators from the four local flight test centers of NASA Plant 42, Edwards Air Force Base, China Lake Naval Air Station and Mojave Spaceport.

 

During the event, Colonel William "Pete" Knight stopped at my display table and spent considerable time closely inspecting my wing collection. After several minutes, he looked at me and said, "Nice collection, but you're missing one...I don't see an Astronaut's wing?" After fumbling for an answer, I was fortunate enough to spend the next 20 minutes or so discussing wings and insignia with this icon of a man.

 

Now I wish I could dazzle you with a tale about receiving Pete Knight's personal Astronaut wings from his historic exploits during the X-15 program, but that didn't happen. However, a week after the event, I returned from lunch to find an envelope sitting on my desk containing a wonderful pair of sterling Command Astronaut wings which Pete had somehow procured from a friend...

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William "Pete" Knight flew 253 combat sorties in a F-100 over Southeast Asia. On October 3, 1967, he set the world speed record of 4,520 MPH (mach 6.72) in an X-15A-2...a record which still stands today.

He was a Combat Pilot...a Test Pilot...and an Astronaut. He became my Mayor in 1988...he was my State Assemblyman in 1992...my State Senator in 1996...and my personal friend in 2002. We lost Pete to cancer in May, 2004.

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I've been able to pick-up a few other USAF Astronaut wings over the past 10 years. I believe this may be a 1960's era Command Astronaut wing with early Meyer hallmark.

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Meyer hallmark. There appears to be light brush marks on the tips of both wings and the back of the star and wreath

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Comparison shot of both badges...note the wings are very similar, but the shooting star design is slightly different.

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Great collection Rustywings, I really like them very much! :)

 

These are two Astronaut Wings from my little collection, both hallmarked L22 (Lordship) and maybe from 1970s or 1980s.

 

USAF Astronaut Wings

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US Army Astronaut Wings

 

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Here's an image of Colonel Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, Jr. wearing his Command Astronaut wings. Buzz Aldrin flew 66

combat missions in Korea and was credited with downing two MiG-15's while flying F-86 Sabres. He flew in the Gemini 12 and Apollo 11 missions...and was the famed second man to walk on the moon.

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Great stuff. Is that a "Pocket Rocket" on Aldrin's uniform?!

 

Yes, I think your right Ian...with star and wreath!

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