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Air-Sea Rescue Wings


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I hope someone has some experience or knowledge about the wings I’ve posted below. Here is what I think I know about them and some questions I have.

 

1. I know that the top wing has been used by fire and rescue since the early 1950’s and is currently in use. I believe them to be worn primarily by ground personnel but have heard someone say that they were also worn by some Bright Light air/sea rescue members aboard helicopters during Vietnam. Does anyone know if that is true?

 

2. I recognize the second wing to be a WWII or perhaps just post WWII wing that I believe was not officially authorized by the AAF/USAF. I believe this wing was worn by crash rescue crews at the airbases, but know little about them than that.

 

3. The top wing is marked GEMSCO while the lower wing is marked AMICO with the device added on. Both are 3” wings. Does anyone have a picture showing an airman wearing them? Does anyone know something of the story of how they have been used over the years?

 

4. The lower wing is the same design that was used to make some LeVelle aircrew wings and perhaps a few others, even though it bears an incised AMICO mark.

 

 

Paul S.

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These Crash-Rescue wings have been around for years, but they were never authorized. The example you show on top are pretty common but I haven't seen an example like the bottom pair. Thanks for sharing these.

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  • 7 months later...

Thought I would refresh this question to see if any new readers have any information about these wings...perhaps a picture of them being worn. They seem to have been made by several known makers which would seem to suggest there was some demand for them somewhere.

 

Paul S

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The only demand for wings like these are as keepsakes maybe for firefighters. Never authorized and not worn on uniforms makes them all fantasy pieces and not considered "real" wings by members of the Air Force or collectors. In J. Duncan Campbells famous book on Army wings, he talks about fantasy pieces like these, but doesn't illustrate them because they were never made to be worn on uniforms and thereby not considered "real". These are in the same category as fakes and repos, but many of us have examples of wings like these just because they were made.

I can just about hear some First Sergeant catching some hapless Airman wearing a set of these phoney wings! pinch.gif

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In 1941-1942, the GHQAF/USAAF Firefighting School was at Mitchell Field, Long Island NY. I think later on there was more than one such school (do I recall Kirtland AAF, Albuquerque NM?) and the one at Mitchell was probably closed.

 

I recall seeing a class "yearbook" with such a wing printed on the cover and inside...I also think some of the instructors (Senior NCOs) were wearing it, as a badge, on their uniform jackets. I do not recall if the wings shown used the USAF shield shape or the round escutcheon.

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I recall seeing a class "yearbook" with such a wing printed on the cover and inside...I also think some of the instructors (Senior NCOs) were wearing it, as a badge, on their uniform jackets.

 

Thank you...that's a good clue to dig into. I have a gent well versed in Army firefighting asking around his community about the subject. That there appears to have been enough use of these badges to interest a number of makers to make them would indicate some kind of tradition somewhere. I've seen a Meyer wing with a 9M mark in the later design that would date to as late as 1965.

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From what I understand the top crash wing was approved an authorized but not as a wing. The authorization was to use the wing as a DI for some units in the UK. Someone may want to dig further.

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Lee,

Would you consider these badges in the same light?

I don't know what the official deal was on these crash boat badges. I've been told they were authorized and I've heard they were not. Best I remember tho, I've seen photos of these being worn.

Now the crashcrew wings may have been worn also, but not authorized. Remember that a wing badge was supposed to be for someone who had a flying job as primary duty in the Air Force. Firemen didn't fly... they were all ground troops. Crewmen who held a billet as an aircrewman on a rescue aircraft would already have had official wings such as Aircrew wings.

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The AAF Firefighters wing came about at the end of WWII. They were "Official - Unofficial" wings that became Official at the unit level and authorized to wear the wing while assigned to the unit. Many other such unit badges exist. This is also common in the USAF for example I belonged to the 2nd oldest continuous organization, Deputy for Engineering, in the Air Force started in 1917, yet since it is not a numbered unit it is not recognized officially. The organization has a patch etc, while not official yet worn by military members of the organization on BDU's. Don't let the Colonel catch one of his members not wearing it. Not a small organization with 1500 members.

 

This badge was awarded to those Firefighters who graduated as Airborne firefighters, and were assigned to PEDRO HH-43 Huskie Firefighting Units. The badge is still in use and I have enclosed a picture of both sizes. As far as I know it was made by Gemsco and Meyer. I do not know who is making them today, but new ones keep popping up.

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post-1465-1236795166.jpg

The AAF Firefighters wing came about at the end of WWII. They were "Official - Unofficial" wings that became Official at the unit level and authorized to wear the wing while assigned to the unit. Many other such unit badges exist. This is also common in the USAF for example I belonged to the 2nd oldest continuous organization, Deputy for Engineering, in the Air Force started in 1917, yet since it is not a numbered unit it is not recognized officially. The organization has a patch etc, while not official yet worn by military members of the organization on BDU's. Don't let the Colonel catch one of his members not wearing it. Not a small organization with 1500 members.

 

This badge was awarded to those Firefighters who graduated as Airborne firefighters, and were assigned to PEDRO HH-43 Huskie Firefighting Units. The badge is still in use and I have enclosed a picture of both sizes. As far as I know it was made by Gemsco and Meyer. I do not know who is making them today, but new ones keep popping up.

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/sty.../attach_add.png

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Thanks for the additional information. The reference to the HH-43 Huskie units and to the early Mitchell Field firefighting school are both useful in discovering this story. I had another gent suggest that certain members aboard Vietnam era SAR helicopters wore these wings, but haven't found any verification.

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