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The Original US Military Aviators - Reference Thread


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I have had the distinct pleasure of holding in my hand three 1913 original wings. Hap Arnolds, Capt Paul Becks and the third belonged to 1Lt. Hollis LeRoy Muller.

 

A Las Vegas, NV collector has the Paul Beck wing. Hap Arnolds wing was at the Air Force Museum for a while on load from the family. I guess the family now has it. I made a mold of Hap’s wing and my reproduction is directly made from his wing. Lt. Muller’s wing is also at the Air Force Museum currently in storage.

 

But if I remember correctly 26 or 27 of the wings were awarded. Somewhere I have a list form my old Air Force Days. I will have to do a lot of digging to find the list maybe someone else has it?

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In truth the Las Vegas, NV collector owns a Military Aviator badge variant manufactured by the V. H. Blackinton Company of Attleboro, MA attributed to Captain Paul W. Beck.

 

Unless removed recently which is doubtful, the original 1913 Military Aviator badge made by the Ordnance Department at the Rock Island Arsenal that was owned by Captain Beck has been on public display at The National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, OH in the Early Years Gallery for well over twenty-five years. It is to the left of the main throughway just pass the Wright Brothers exhibit.

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Here is an interesting and historic gathering of early eagles. A 1954 meeting in Montgomery, AL of Foulois, Milling, Lahm, and Carl Spaatz. General Spaatz was the junior aviator at this table; the others had made their first flights about 40-years before this picture was taken.

 

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This is an interesting picture from Hap Arnold's 1947 book, "Global Mission" and presumably one of his personal favorites. Shown are Arnold and Milling, two of the first Military Aviators, "Spud" Ellyson the first Navy Aviator, and the goofy looking guy was Grover Loening, who was the first man to hold a degree in Aeronautical Engineering and went on to become a noted aircraft designer, manufacturer, and member of the Aviation Hall of Fame.

 

The picture was taken in 1911 at Coney Island and clearly shows 4 young men having a bit of recreational time off from their work...a nice, personal look at perhaps 4 of the most notable figures in United States aviation.

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:unsure:

Paul,

 

I found these pictures taken in 1914 that were taken from an old photo album several years ago. The quality isn't great so they may not be much help to you but they do show each officer wearing his original 1913 Military Aviator badge.

 

Cliff

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I have actually seen a lot of the original paperwork from Carberry. It is in the collection of a friend of my dad's and he sent me scans of them a few years ago, but I lost them when one of my computers crashed.

 

Patrick

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I have actually seen a lot of the original paperwork from Carberry. It is in the collection of a friend of my dad's and he sent me scans of them a few years ago, but I lost them when one of my computers crashed.

 

Patrick

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From an avid collector’s standpoint that type of information would be worth checking out again. At the time of his death on 17 November 1961, Lt. Colonel Carberry was living at 104 Palm Drive, Arcadia, CA.

 

None of his material has ever shown up; therefore, while it is only a hunch, someone out must have inherited his 1913 Military Aviator badge and certificate in addition to other memorabilia. You really should look into it Patrick. All it takes is one or two good leads (clues) and you might just hit pay dirt.

 

Cliff

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Cliff,

Thanks for posting the additional pictures of the men wearing their badges...I'll try to clean them up if possible. That brings the tally to 12 of the original 25 for which we have a picture of them wearing their badge.

 

Patrick,

I have found very little about Joseph Carberry, despite his having lived a relatively long life (74) into the sixties. He retired in 1924 and had lived in CA since 1933, so he likely had a second career that occupied him during the latter half of his working life. He is interred at Ft. Rosecrans in San Diego.

 

I'm not sure what might have drawn him to Arcadia if he remained involved in the aviation industry...Lockheed or a predecessor, perhaps? I think I dated a girl out that way many years ago...that's when I discovered the meaning of geographically undesirable--it was a whole tank of gas away from Redondo Beach!

 

Paul S

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  • 3 weeks later...

A wondeful and fascinating historical thread. Thank you.

Bob

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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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Cliff, thanks for posting that Blackinton badge.

 

Here are a couple of isolated pictures from Hap Arnold's wedding picture (post #61) that appear to show some other young men in army uniforms...do they look familiar to anyone but me?

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Fascinating thread, and I think I may have to add to our early Guard aviation text in the museum. See, Charles Winder was the first rated Military Aviator in the Guard, but he was not the first pilot in the Guard. That distinction goes to PFC Beckwith Havens, who flew his Curtiss airplane in the joint Army/National Guard maneuvers in Connecticut during 1912. He was the first Guard pilot to fly while on Federal status.

Havens was in the New York National Guard and worked for Curtiss Aircraft starting in 1910. "Becky" Havens took his flight test for his F.A.I. Pilot's Certificate #127 on June 1, 1912, on a Curtiss plane at Bridgeport, Conn. He became a member of the Aero Club of America on Feb 14

 

http://www.earlyaviators.com/ehavens.htm

http://home.earthlink.net/~ralphcooper/biohaven.htm

 

Definitely going to look into Winder's history a lot more! Thanks guys!

 

Jon

In memory of 1LT Julius C. Goldman, XO of F/330th, 83rd Infantry Division 1944-45.

 

Looking for P-47 and Tactical Reconnaissance Unit photographs and any items associated with WWII Jewish fighter pilots.

 

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  • 1 month later...

Make that 3 of the original rated Military Aviators. Humphreys was one of the first 3 Army men detailed to the Wright Brothers for training and the first Army pilot to solo, but he didn't complete all requirements for the rating before he was pulled back to his home Division by the Engineers.

 

Actually, this is an amazing picture of "firsts"...the first 3 Army pilots detailed by the Army to lean how to fly (Lahm, Humphreys, and Foulois); the first Chief of the Aeronautical Division, U.S. Signal Corps (Chandler); the first aviation mechanic (Taylor); and the first man to fly a powered aircraft (Wright).

 

Paul S

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  • 2 weeks later...

A number of the 1909-1914 vintage pictures showing the original Military Aviators depict them wearing some kind of beehive style flying helmet. This Life magazine photo taken in 1939 provides a close look at what those old helmets looked like.

 

Learning about some of the development of early safety gear is interesting too. Arnold writes in his memoir that he introduced the first goggles when he kept getting bugs in his eyes while landing. Milling, I think, came up with the first notion that a lap belt might be useful for keeping him securely in his seat; and I think it might have Beck or Goodier who were a bit more prolific crashers who thought up this idea for a helmet after being dumped on his noggin' a few times.

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Gee, just after I posted the 1939 reproduction helmet, I found a great c. 1912 picture of one of the originals. The man in the picture wasn't named, but he sure looks like the future Gen. Thos. Milling...anyone have another thought? wink2.gif

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Right you are...I had that but overlooked it in the reply. Have found a decent picture of Brereton in WWII uniform and should be able to find a better one...alas, no badge.

 

Here is a picture that shows 4 officers with Glenn Curtiss as their flight instructor, one of the 4 is Paul Beck. Will someone with some sharp eyes and a deeper knowledge than mine take a look at his badge and offer an opinion as to whether he is wearing one of the originals, or was there something else commonly worn at the time that looks like this? It appears to have some characteristics of the Aviator Badge, but there looks to be some other material above and below it:

 

That's his expert shooter's badge. He was wearing the same badge in 1911 at the San Francisco International Air Meet, 7-26 January 1911. At the time he was flying with Phillip Parmalee to test a radio that Earl Ennis had built. The photo of Beck with Walker and Kelly was taken on 10 March 1911 in San Diego. He was awarded his MA rating on 22 July 1912, after he had been relieved of aviation under the Manchu Law. Judge Jean P. Day shot and killed Beck in Oklahoma City on the night of 6-7 April 1922. Several years ago I met a man who operates a military museum in Las Vegas. At the time, he showed me a set of apparently genuine Military Aviator's badge that he said belonged to Paul Beck. I don't recall his name, but if I locate it in what is left of that research file, I'll post it. I hope this information helps you. drmessimer

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I hope this information helps you. drmessimer

 

Thanks for your input. I found a later picture of Capt. Beck wearing his MA badge, but it is not too sharp. Any clear portraits of him would be appreciated. The badge you mention is something I've heard about, but haven't seen.

 

Paul S :)

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  • 3 weeks later...
Picture of (then) Col. Thomas Dewitt Milling taken in (late) 1942 wearing his 1913 issue MA badge.

 

What a beautiful portrait of Col. Milling, Cliff. I wouldn't have recognized him from his earlier pictures.

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Unfortunately for General Milling he contracted tuberculosis in 1930 and was unable to return to full time active service until July 1932. His health faltered again which forced him to retire in 1933. In 1940 he was promoted to Brigadier General (ret). He was called back to active military service as a Major on 30 March 1942. I suspect in part due to his long association and friendship with General Hap Arnold he was promoted twice during the following six months and later received a citation for the Legion of Merit and made an honorary officer, Order of the British Empire. He retired from active duty again on 24 July 1946. He stayed in Washington, DC after retirement but continued to be plagued with recurrent illness until his death on 26 November 1960, age 73.

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Unfortunately for General Milling he contracted tuberculosis in 1930 and was unable to return to full time active service until July 1932. His health faltered again which forced him to retire in 1933. In 1940 he was promoted to Brigadier General (ret). He was called back to active military service as a Major on 30 March 1942. I suspect in part due to his long association and friendship with General Hap Arnold he was promoted twice during the following six months and later received a citation for the Legion of Merit and made an honorary officer, Order of the British Empire. He retired from active duty again on 24 July 1946. He stayed in Washington, DC after retirement but continued to be plagued with recurrent illness until his death on 26 November 1960, age 73.

 

 

Super photo... now there is a historical uniform group to die for.

 

John

Always looking for Wings & Named Air Medals!

Motto: To Collect, Preserve, and Remember!

 

 

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

Picture taken in September 1909 of a luncheon for Glenn Curtiss hosted by the Aero Club, NYC. The first Military Aviators would not qualify for their badges for another 3-4 years. It is believed that Curtiss is seated just in front of the large mantle, beneath the small, black arrow at the top of the picture.

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Hard to believe that it has been 40-years since these airmen went to the moon! Only Carleton Chapman lived to see it. Everyone has seen the picture posted below; but, you may not have seen a copy of it like the one found here: Apollo XI

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Thanks Cliff - this must have been his time on the General Staff since the sorrounding officers are from various branches.

 

John

Always looking for Wings & Named Air Medals!

Motto: To Collect, Preserve, and Remember!

 

 

 

 

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