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CliffP

One of the more interesting wings I've found in years

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"provenance Smiled on Me"

 

Several years ago while attending a local chapter meeting of the 8th Air Force Historical Society, I met a fine old Southern gentleman named Hubert S. Whitlock. Hubert had been a B-24 bombardier between 13 November 1943 and 6 July 1944 with the 389th bomb Group in England, and our meeting lead to an immediate, long lasting friendship.

 

Later in 2006, Hubert finished writing a delightful 200 page biography called, "provenance Smiled on Me - A Life Story," in which he wrote about some of his experiences during the war. While reading the book I was able to learn that Hubert had received his bombardier training in 1943 at Kirkland AFB near Albuquerque, NM. When he graduated, his girl friend while in Albuquerque (named Betty Mae) pinned to his uniform a set of custom made bombardier wings fashioned by one of the Native American Indian craftsmen that Albuquerque is still well known for - and in the book he added, "I think she was hoping I would propose to her," but it never happened. This is all documented in the book, along with a very nice photo of Hubert wearing the wings which he continued to wear throughout the war. . . and they remain with his family to this day.

 

Hubert A. Whitlock passed away on 19 February 2014, exactly two months shy of this 95th birthday.

 

"Farewell good friend on your final flight to be with the Lord."

 

I should add here that until getting Hubert's book I had never seen another set of wings like these - until two months go when Russ Wilson sent me a photo of a set he owns.

 

Well, perhaps as fate would have it, two weeks ago I saw a third set like them on eBay and while I thought they were very pricey, I could not resist getting them and I am very grateful to be able to share them with you today.

 

Cliff

 

Note: For some reason while entering this thread the system will not allow me to correctly spell the word provenance or capitalize the letter p in that word.

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One of the most interesting wings I've found in years - Provenance Smiled on Me

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Thanks for posting...That is a real "Hot Dog" set of wings...I enjoyed getting a chance to look at them and reading the story.Robert


Always Buying...Medals...Patches...Wings... Singles or Groups...Top Cash Paid!!!

My Website...http://www.purpleheartsnorthcarolina.com/

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Those are beautiful wings! Thanks for posting the story and the wings.

 

...Kat


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The amazing detail appears to be hand carved ?

 

And is that a flaw on the back behind the disk ?

 

Never seen anything like them.


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Touching story and beautifully handcrafted wings. Thanks for showing. Bob


- Dedicated to my Uncle Ches -

General Ferdinand Joseph Chesarek

United States Army
Feb. 18, 1914 to Nov. 20, 1993

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Great wing. Always nice to add something new and special. Congrats! Bobgee


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"I have only two men out of my company and 20 out of some other company. We need support, but it is almost suicide to try to get it here as we are swept by machine gun fire and constant barrage is on us. I have no one on my left and only a few on my right. I will hold." (Message sent by 1st Lt. Clifton B. Cates. USMC, 96th Co., Soissons, 19 July 1918 - later 19th Commandant of the Marine Corps 1948-1952)

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Very nice tribute Cliff, and a beautiful wing! To bad the maker did not add his mark, maybe I could have tracked him/her down.

 

 

Actually the base is IN Albuquerque, a stones throw from where I sit, and the AF shares the runway with the civilian flights as the primary Airport. The old bombing range is still used, for other things.. I had the privileged of going out there with a retired AF EOD friend of mine on a little field trip and even set off some C4.

 

I actually have an original copy of the first Kirtland AFB yearbook. When I get back to TX I will dig it out.

 

Mark D


WANT TO BUY:



Titled case set "U.S. Typhus Commission";


Titled case "Medal for Merit";



ASMIC: 1677


OMSA: 6045



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That is a very interesting story and set of wings. Danny


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Forum Member #1691 since September 2007

Served in the US Army from 1960-80

First Sergeant (Retired)

Vietnam 1967 with 7-15th FA ~ [8"/175mm Gun] First Field Forces

Vietnam 1968 with 1-30th FA ~ [155mm] 1st Cavalry Division [AIRMOBILE]

President & Historian 30th FA Regiment Association ( WWW.HardChargers.Com )

Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the 30th Field Artillery Regiment in 2018

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Such a striking wing! Congrats Cliff! But even better is the story of Hubert Whitlock and I'm sorry to hear of the passing of your friend. For those who would like to read about this great man you can find his story on preservememories.net. It's well worth the read.

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Beautiful attributed wing Cliff!!

A stunner! You deserve it!!

Congrats!
Greg

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Beautiful wings! And a great story. Congrats for another great addition to your collection.


Always looking for items associated with the China Marines! Visit chinamarine.org

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Great wing Cliff! That is a real thing of beauty!

 

JD


AAF Collector...........
**Always Buying WW2 Aviation Related Items: Especially Operation Tidal Wave items (1st Ploesti Raid) ..... WW2 Fighter Ace Related Items.....Higher End A-2 Flight Jacket Groups....AAF Related Valor Medal Groups**

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Stunning wing. What is interesting is that Cliff really puts a solid provenance to a rather rare and unique wing pattern. I have seen this pattern pop up a few times over the years, and it is usually marketed as a "CBI" made piece (as are almost all the hand worked wings (and most cheap castings!)). But I had always wondered if these weren't a Mexican of Panamanian made wing, as they had that "feel" to me. But, it never occured to me that they would turn out to be a Native American product! When you think about it, I suspect that one of the local artisans in a very famous and important silver work/jewelry center of the US probably hand crafted only a small batch of these wings.

 

Sure, as much "fun" as it was to try to figure out who made graduation wings .... this is so much more interesting.

 

Thank Cliff, great wing.

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I think the beauty of these wings match the man that was proud to wear them.


WANT TO BUY:



Titled case set "U.S. Typhus Commission";


Titled case "Medal for Merit";



ASMIC: 1677


OMSA: 6045



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Cliff,

 

Thank you for sharing this eye-opening information. The provenance established with your studio photograph alone answers many questions. Then to add personal insight with a known recipient of this style badge adds a real "wow" factor to this fresh information!

 

I've seen and owned a few of these unique wings, but was never able to pinpoint with certainty who made them, or where? Due to your efforts, the riddle is now solved!

 

Because each Bombardier badge is hand-chased, no two are identical...but each does have a rather gruff appearing back and the same American-style pin and catch. At 3.25 inches, they are much wider than other typical American-made Bombardier badges. This is an important factor because someone made a few cast copies of this style and few years ago...and those reproductions are smaller at about 3.0 inches in width.

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Unlike most other Bombardier badges, this wing has a very pronounced three-dimensional center stabilizer fin on the bomb and two incised horizontal lines across the body of the bomb:

 

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Really great wing badge Cliff, wonderful pickup and history!

 

John


...and on the eighth day, God created the radial engine...

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A real beauty!


My Grandpa - Feldwebel Heinz Krull *1919 +1995

 

Close Combat Clasp in Silver

Iron Cross 1st Class

Iron Cross 2nd Class

Wound Badge in Silver

Infantry Assault Badge in Silver

Eastern Front Medal 1941/42

 

My Hero - You are not forgotten!

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Cliff, when we reference badge designs with names like Juarez, Dondero, Panama, Firmin, Link, and Robbins, each name conjures-up a specific wing pattern. You need to select a reference name for this newly confirmed and unique wing pattern.

 

You could name the pattern in honor of your friend who helped make the wing identification possible. Or a name which makes reference to the Albuquerque area from where they originated...or the Indian Tribe of the jeweler?

 

Until the name of the American Indian artisan who actually designed and made these wings is identified, this unique pattern needs some type of identifier.


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Cochisadiers? Dances with Liberators? Falls from Sky Buffalo?

 

Feel free to stop me any time, moderators....

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