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Vietnam Pararescue Badge Question


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USAF29thINFvet

How does one tell the date of issue for a Vietnam Era pararescue beret badge?

 

Thanks

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Im assuming as per most authorized insignas they wont be aked 1/20th silver filledlike many of the post vietnam era wings and badges

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My reference says that the pararescue badge was authorized in 1966 however they did not get over to South Vietnam until much later. I don't have an exact date when they were available for wear in Vietnam. The PJs were wearing a maroon beret with a paratrooper wing and some continued to wear it this way even after the pararescue badge was available for wear. So I don't think there is a way for certain to tell if a particular pararescue beret badge was worn in South Vietnam. Now there are sterling versions of the pararescue badge which my guess are earlier versions of this badge as the same company produced a non-sterling badge with a different hallmark. The only two sterling pararescue badges that I've come across were made by NS Meyer and Aug. C. Frank Co. So if you are looking for an example of a pararescue badge that was worn during the war I would be looking for a sterling example. I would avoid the shiny pararescue beret badges which are current and all post war as the Air Force made a switch (I don't have the date) from the antique finish or dull metal insignia to the shiny stuff way after the SVN War.

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Patchcollector

I have a solid Sterling Pararescue badge that is still sealed in the Meyers package.I've always felt that it was Vietnam war era.

The solid Sterling PJ badges are difficult to find which leads me to believe that they were not made for very long before the "filled" versions appeared.

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  • 2 weeks later...

In 1996 I visited the USAF Museum at Wright Patterson AFB in Dayton Ohio.

There was the beret of Pitsenbarger on display.

 

Michael

 

.

post-8324-0-00147800-1498234357_thumb.jpeg

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RustyCanteen

Regarding Pitsenbarger; there is a movie about his story in the works according to the Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0783640/?ref_=adv_li_tt

 

It seems that they have added a movie poster to the IMDB entry recently, although it shows a UH1 when I think Pitsenbarger's unit flew HH43's. But I am not sure what they were flying on his final mission.

 

I started a thread about the film here: http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/290448-the-last-full-measure/

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Solid sterling ns Meyer pararescue badges were still being sold in the Langley AFB exchange in the early 1990s

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  • 6 months later...

Here is a pararescue badge that looks like it is still sealed in N.S. Meyer packaging. What is puzzling about this piece is that the card is dated 1966 which is approximately the year the pararescue badge was introduced yet it has the later period shinny finish. I found the following information on the Internet (see link) which gives the exact year (1986) the Air Force began allowed the wearing of shinny metal insignia which became mandatory in 1991:

 

http://webs.lanset.com/aeolusaero/Articles/Of_Uniform_Concern_updated_Jan10.pdf

 

"Prior to 1986 all Air Force service dress uniform insignia were required by regulation to be of the dull silver or silver oxidised type. Beginning in 1986 regulations first permitted high gloss insignia to be used (this has come to be known as 'bright' or ‘mirror finish’). Whether the dull silver or high-gloss insignia were to be used, all insignia in use on a uniform had to match: mixing of the older dull and newer shiny types was not permitted. Both types of insignia were permitted concurrently, however, until about 1991 when the next major service dress uniform updating occurred (the so-called and highly controversial „McPeak Uniform‟) and from that date onwards, all uniform insignia was required to be of the mirror-finish type."

 

 

 

 

 

 

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post-1389-0-36956500-1514245381_thumb.jpg

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The date is a copyright for the design of the package , nothing to do with the date of the badge. Ordered two of the solid sterling antique finish badges from the LAFB clothing sales in the late 90s. Any badge could be ordered in sterling at an additional cost.

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The date is a copyright for the design of the package , nothing to do with the date of the badge. Ordered two of the solid sterling antique finish badges from the LAFB clothing sales in the late 90s. Any badge could be ordered in sterling at an additional cost.

I didn't know that many thanks for the explanation.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I suspect this is a more contemporary badge and not something dating from Vietnam. That's a copyright that you are looking at; not the manufacture date.

 

PJs and Combat Controllers of the Vietnam era wore their jump wings in their berets. PJ beret badges were oxidized silver finish through the 80s.

 

A couple of thoughts about this from my own experience.

 

First, there were still sterling silver insignia available following the Vietnam War and into the early 1980s. The catch was that it would still have a silver oxidized finish -- which was actually some sort of enameled finish that could be rubbed off with continued polishing. You had to look on the back of the insignia to be sure because it might not be marked on the package. That's how I luckily good a set of sterling silver tie tack and cuff links -- and still have them.

 

I always thought it was ironic that the issue Air Force Security Police Qualification Badge -- not the shield -- was 1/20 silver filled when the BX-purchased badge was plated oxidized silver. Plated badges were usually thrown out once the brass started showing or were turned in for re-issue. The 1/20 silver-filled badge, on the other hand, could be polished until the plating wore off and would continue to be worn because it was issued -- at least that's what I did and was never gigged for it -- and it stood out and looked sharper.

 

Second, when the chrome insignia came out around 1986 -- I had to covert everything because at that point I was wearing double knits with chromed insignia because I was a senior NCO beginning a second tour of active duty -- manufacturers took their existing stockpiles of insignia, "re-plated" them, and sold them under the new standard. So, I was able obtain my SP Qualification Badge chromed but with 1/20 silver filled in the markings on the back. This was well before the Air Force changed the uniforms and then implemented the whole collection of specialty badges that in some instances look pretty cheap.

 

You would have to open this package and look at the markings on the back.

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Patchcollector

As a general rule,Sterling badges were phased out during the mid 60's,IIRC.When I was in,if special ordered Sterling badges were available,I wasn't aware of it.My Sterling PJ badge is an older one,as I'm sure most are.

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  • 3 years later...
Boy Howdy

I picked this up recently.

Wing is 2 piece, back is dull, front is shiny.

Beret looks to be older Bancroft. "50 Years"

Any thoughts?

s-l1600.jpg

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  • 4 weeks later...
Tonomachi
On 1/12/2021 at 3:54 AM, Boy Howdy said:

I picked this up recently.

Wing is 2 piece, back is dull, front is shiny.

Beret looks to be older Bancroft. "50 Years"

Any thoughts?

s-l1600.jpg

If you could provide a close up photos of the front and back of the beret badge my guess is that this is a SVN made sand casting.  They were made of some sort of brass alloy and plated with a white metal that could be polished to a bright sheen.  They all had these crude nail like pins soldered to the back.  I believe these were unauthorized US Army Air Cavalry specific unauthorized insignia.  I've seen others pieces made the same way with a winged "G" for door gunners and worn on baseball caps and the like.  They were not authorized for wear but worn in the field so it was tolerated.  My guess is that even though the USAF Pararescue was the dedicated SAR unit during the Vietnam War the Army was utilizing their helicopters for things like medical evacuations type events all of the time and may have used them for their own ad hoc SAR type missions and someone came up with this SAR winged badge.   I know that the USN had a small helicopter (HC-7) Paramedic Rescue Team at USNAS Cubi Point, Philippine Island in the 1960s.  

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Boy Howdy

The beret and wings are currently with a buddy.

I also have these wings that sound more like what you are describing.

Please take a look and advise.

Thank you!

thumbnail_20210209_152648.jpg

thumbnail_20210209_152716.jpg

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Tonomachi
14 hours ago, Boy Howdy said:

The beret and wings are currently with a buddy.

I also have these wings that sound more like what you are describing.

Please take a look and advise.

Thank you!

thumbnail_20210209_152648.jpg

thumbnail_20210209_152716.jpg

Sorry but this one looks like the copies that came out in the 1980s where they lacked the silver plating and the pins weren't correct.

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Tonomachi
4 hours ago, Boy Howdy said:

Hmmmm,,,,

Got these from an ebay seller called "VIETNAMMILITARA"

Listed them as an original period item.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vietnam-War-original-U-S-Army-Search-and-Rescue-Badge/233692413605?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649

Is he a known fakester?

I have no idea what his reputation but I looked at the patches he is selling and I wouldn't want those in my collection as they look like copies as well.  At least you didn't spend a lot of money for this piece.  

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Boy Howdy

An unfortunate lesson learned.

Thank you very much for your input.

 

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vintageproductions

Run away as fast as you can from everything that seller lists.

 

All stuff bought in Vietnam within last 15 years and made to deceive.

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Boy Howdy

And he has pretty good feedback.

I don't get it.

He talks about serving in the Marine Corps.

Wonder if that's "faked" too?

 

"Proud eBay member for 20 plus year and even a Prouder Former U.S. Marine Corps Staff Non-Commissioned Officer and Author of a Historical type Order of Battle Book with a Color photo reference can be found in my book: E. Richard Wilson "Unit Insignia of the U. S. Marine Corps in Vietnam". My purpose was to document all the unofficial unit insignia made up in-country for the individual ground units. Service in Vietnam, Corrections Officer MCAS El Toro, CA, Recruiter, Tulsa, Oklahoma and Sergeant Instructor at OCS Quantico, Virginia both at Brown Field and the Company Gunnery Sergeant for the Debriefing of the Iranian Hostage Rescue Mission at Camp Upshur (1980). Semper Fi"

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Boy Howdy

Here are the wings that were on the scarlet beret.

thumbnail_72ED3B48-E994-47B5-9E37-CBA44DE89376.jpg

thumbnail_9490A2A3-2CAF-4A8B-9ECE-D661D67C0CE3.jpg

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