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RARE & UNUSUAL HALF WING - WAMS Women's Airline Maintenance Squadron


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Recently obtained the half-wing depicted below. Would like to find out exactly what it is. Some have said it might be:


W ?? Air Mail Service


W ?? Air Mechanics School


Flight Engineer for an Airline.


It has a 'C" catch and is marked STERLING / MORTONSON / N.Y.C. / NEWARK


Any ideas out there.


Thanks for your help


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  • 3 years later...

Mystery solved. Not exactly what you thought Patrick, but your initial research led me to the actual ID.


I have had one of these wings in my "Unidentified" section on my web site for 20 years, so it was great to finally find a positive, and MILITARY ID. Read on...


Although the use by TWA of a 3 blade prop in their logo at the appropriate time did lend a lot of credence to the "Women in Airline Maintenance" theory, which more than 1 writer applied the "S" to in acronym to come up with "WAMS", the "official" "S" at the end of the acronym on the wing did not sit comfortably with me when I could find no mention of something like "Women in Airline Maintenance Service" or "Women's Airline Maintenance Service". So, I dug a little deeper.


Googling "Women's Aircraft Maintenance Service" led me to the obituary of Virginia Carolyn Molloy:




Where I found that Mrs. Molloy was a member of the WOMEN'S AIRCRAFT MAINTENANCE SQUADRON in WWII, which trained at the Women's Aircraft Maintenance School

in Springfield, Massachusetts.


Now, here I was on to something. But, was it the Squadron or the School that this wing was made for? And, having never heard of this unit or school in the last 30+ years of delving into military history, would I EVER know which it was for???


Being able to now search for the "Women's Aircraft Maintenance Squadron", ironically, having just moved from there, I found a GREAT article in the 30 April 1943 Portsmouth (New Hampshire) Herald on Newspapers.com. This explained not only how the women of the unit trained, but also that they were posted to either Westover, Bradley, or Grenier Army Air Field after graduation. And most importantly, it describes their insignia, mentioned as a sleeve patch, with a matching overseas cap.


Until we find photographs of the wing in wear, we won't know if it is a breast wing, or more probably, a hat wing, but in any event, it is MILITARY, and related to WWII Women's Service, and is Aviation!




Full Article:




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Wow! Great work! A mystery finally solved and super obscure. Thanks to John, Patrick and Ron for sharing, digging and solving!

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