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WW1 Wing Opinions


Marc Garlasco

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Great discussion, but just so there is no mis-information out there,

there is no such thing as an Airship wing in the Navy.

Airship Pilots worn standard Naval Aviator wings of gold.

A half wing in the USN was a Balloon Pilot.

 

John

 

 

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

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Copy that. Thank you John.

 

I guess Willis and Carmichael's book "U.S. Navy Wings of Gold" will need some revisions as well...

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I believe that the 1/2 wings were also used for early aviation cadets and seaplane crews, as well as for observation balloons. They don't think that they were worn by airship pilots. In fact, I think a general rule of thumb is if the aircraft was capable of independent powered flight (ie not tied to anything) then the pilot flying the craft wore full naval aviator wings.

 

I suspect a lot of "balloon observer wings" may actually have been worn by cadets or seaplane crews.

 

Willis and Charmichael's book is a nice reference, but I believe that it doesn't have near the quality of the Silver Wings volumes for accuracy and information.

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I wanted to add this page from the 1918 Army and Navy Store Co. Catalog:

 

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The Army and Navy Store Co. 245 West 42nd Street, New York

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Great discussion, but just so there is no mis-information out there,

there is no such thing as an Airship wing in the Navy.

Airship Pilots worn standard Naval Aviator wings of gold.

A half wing in the USN was a Balloon Pilot.

 

John

 

Yes, according to Bureau of Navigation Circular Letters 25-21 and 30-21, both dated 19 September 1921, Naval Aviator Pilots qualified as Airship (Dirigible) Pilots wore standard duel-wing Naval Aviator wings in gold.

 

Balloon Pilots (both free and kite balloons) wore half-wing gold insignia.

________________________________________________________

 

Adding to this discussion by quoting an entry in the Army and Navy Register dated 30 August 1919, page 287:

 

NEW AVIATOR DEVICE

 

The Navy Department has approved the change of naval aviator device as follows:

 

The present gold (metal) pin with double wings based on the shield and anchor will be worn ONLY on wash summer uniforms.

 

The winter uniforms will carry a similar device of gold EMBROIDERY.

 

Provision has been made by the new regulation with designates STUDENT NAVAL AVIATORS and FLYING MECHANICIANS:

 

The student wears a pin similar to that of the graduate aviator, with the exception that one wing is removed, leaving a device similar to that worn by observers abroad.

 

Regular members of seaplane flight crews among the ENLISTED men will wear a pin similar to that of the student naval aviator, except that it shall be SILVER.

 

This change is made with the belief that there should be a distinctive insignia for the graduate and student naval aviator, and further that the flying mechanician should also be entitled to wear some mark of distinction.

 

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