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ebay auction just ended for almost $1300 AVG collar insignia

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Seller hit the jackpot on insignia right there. Looks like same seller has another listing with more AVG insignia. I cannot comment on authenticity, I do have one question though, did the insignia all belong to one vet or is it just a lot?


I am an amateur collector of US military items of the 20th century.


Looking for items related to:

-The Aleutian Island Campaign of WW2, Alaskan Theater, Alaska Defense Command, and more specifically the Battle of Attu

-Items related to the 50th Combat Engineer Regiment/Battalion

-Items related to Wheelus Air Force Base Libya, particularly from 1957-1960

-WW2 items belonging to service members from Northern Virginia

-WW2 Uniforms (all branches and services)

-Cheap/Throwaway WW2 named uniforms

-Smaller WW2 Groupings

-7th Infantry Division Items

-WW2 Photos and Letters (all branches, theaters, services, etc)


^^ PM ME!!


Instagram: @surplus_central https://instagram.com/surplus_central/

eBay: http://www.ebay.com/usr/giovachm

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I was waiting for someone to point that out.


Those shown in the group are North African made for the Douglas Aircraft Tech Reps, they are not American Volunteer Group Indian made collar insignia.


"A militaria show is a social event for anti-socials" - A.T. 2008

ASMIC Executive President





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4 minutes ago, manayunkman said:

So the tech reps are known as the American Volunteer Guard?




yes. I remembered bob has had this patch for sale for a while now. I saw it at my first and only ASMIC. I was wondering why all of those 9th af patches were in there. Makes sense.


someone paid a lot of money for that group.






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Now we know why he did not say it was for the Flying tigers. Great info Bob and never knew about this civilian group. Another example where knowledge is king and like the old saying goes about ASSUME.




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  • 1 month later...




This is a rare and  AUTHENTIC North African hand embroidered secret "Project 19" American Volunteer Guard patch on a shirt. Finding one on a shirt is especially interesting as explained later. Once in a great while this patch surfaces, but few know the story behind it. After Germany invaded Poland, etc., England became a target for Germany. Desperately in need of material of all types, (and the U.S. being still neutral)  the Lend Lease program was created. This included supplying England with a variety of military aircraft. North Africa was an area of intense interest for Britain as well as for Italy and Germany. Britrain managed to capture an Italian base (airfield) in Gura, Italian Eritrea. At this time, things were pretty dire for England in North Africa. They became heavily reliant on lend lease aircraft from America, like P-40s, C-47s, and others. In partnership with the U.S, The British established a secret program called "Project 19". This involved the expansion of the Gura military airfield to create a local air depot that specialized in the maintenance and battle repair of  U.S. aircraft in British service. Having no expertise in American war planes, this base was staffed wirh volunteer U.S. aircraft corporration technical specialists. Douglas Aircraft was cgarged with administering the project, but workers came from Douglas, Curtis Wright, and other companies. The workers - all volunteers- were offered 7500 per year, and were draft exempt, etc. Basically, secret air war mercenaries. Some 2500 men, from 48 states, partcipated. They assembled shipped aircraft, fixed battle damaged planes, did routine maintainance, custom adaptations, worked with gun sights and bomb sights, and so on. They later also worked on B-17s and B-24s. But, due to a critical shortage of British military personnel, it became apparent that the Project 19  personnel needed to organize their own military defense force. Therefore, volunteers from the Project 19 staff formed a base defense group. They adopted the "American Volunteer Guard" title. These men received military training, military weapons, etc. They had patches and collar insignia made locally (Their locally made "AVG" collar insignia is often, incorrectly, thought to be Flying Tiger -American Volunteer Group" collar insignia). They were intended to defend the base against Axis attacks, but also against local hostile natives, animal ptedators, etc. When the North African campaign closed, so did Project 19. This is an original American Volunteer Guard patch. It is a locally made (Eritrea area) hand embroidered patch. The best part is that it is on the uniform shirt. Although, sadly, they have been removed, you can see where a single chevron once was on both sleeves. The thread remnants show that the chevrons were inverted (in British style), which is exactly what you want to see. The man who wore this joined the Army Air Force after Project 19 folded. He eventually wound up at the military base in Chickamauga, Georgia. This shirt was found in one of the old officers' quarters houses there, within sight of the Civil War battlefield. This is an exceptional patch with the original shirt adding an extra dimension. The AVG members from Project 19 were granted American Legion membership because the Legion recognized their service as wartime military personnel. Many joined the U.S. military when the project was abandoned. The secrecy surrounding Project 19, the very small size of this unit, and the very short unit duration, makes this a very rare patch. Not to mention, very few expert collectors even know this group existed. You can find snip-its of info about this patch on the ASMIC US Militaria Forum site, and also on the internet using these key words "WWII Douglas Aircraft Project 19 American Volunteer Guard". There is even a book about Project 19 ,(check Amazon). This is a great piece and very rarely encountered. If more collectors knew about this patch, it would be a "most wanted" WWII insignia! For those few familiar with it, It IS a most wanted patch! Condition is Used, but very good. GUARANTEED original and backed with our no-questions-asked full refund return option. The chance to own of these only comes around once in a blue moon! Shipped with USPS Priority Mail.

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During the Second World War, customer service took on an entirely new level of meaning -- as illustrated by the Douglas and Boeing machinists who took part in the top-secret mission referred to as "Project 19."

By the summer of 1941, the British were facing disaster in North Africa. German Field Marshall Rommel's armored divisions were besieging Tobruk, threatening to gain control of the Suez Canal. A battle-damaged Royal Air Force urgently needed a repair base in the region. Desperate for aid, Britain called upon America -- who, as yet, had not entered the war.

By Presidential directive, a secret meeting was convened with representatives of the nation's top planemakers. The upshot: a top-secret repair base, designated "Project 19," would be established at Gura in the Eritrean hills, 60 miles from the Red Sea port of Massawa. High on the mountain plateau lay an abandoned Italian airplane plant, complete with luxury barracks, well-equipped machine shops, and new hangars.

Recruitment and management were assigned to Douglas Aircraft. Under an oath of strictest secrecy, volunteers were drawn from the principal U.S. airplane manufacturing centers -- Seattle, the Midwest, and Southern California.

The Boeing and Douglas men who rode the first trucks from Massawa, winding up hundreds of curves to Gura, saw a mile-high desert valley that reminded Californians of the upper Mojave. They also saw a pitted airstrip, surrounded by a rubble of bombed-out barracks and shop buildings -- the remains of the Italian plant, blasted by Allied bombers months earlier.

Awaiting them was a field littered with ruined aircraft, along with crates of battered wings, fuselages, empennages, and engines. The Americans regarded them with dismay. Their task was to make these aircraft battleworthy. But how, they asked themselves. And with what tools? Bereft of even the barest necessities, they responded with the only resource available to them -- Yankee ingenuity.

Tools were improvised and salvaged from ship cargoes. Barrack walls and roofs were patched, bomb craters filled in. There were forests of propellers to be straightened, but no hydraulic press to do the job. The machinists contrived a simple vice to hold the bent props, then proceeded to unbend them manually with the longest available two-by-four.

They made a crude but accurate level steel table and a homemade protractor to check the pitch and curve of the blades. They improvised a balancing stand and pit. From junk steel, aluminum, and rubber, they built a working bench to test the flow of oil through pitch controls.

One day on the docks of Massawa, the Americans discovered a new German milling machine, crated and bound for Japan. With part of the group creating a suitable diversion, the milling machine was gleefully liberated, then trucked over the hills to Gura. As the days went by, proper machine tools arrived, one by one, to replace the original makeshifts.

Soon, the members of Project 19 were fixing every kind of American plane that limped or was hauled in from nearby North African fighting fronts. They serviced and assembled P-40s, C-47 Skytrains, C-54 Skymasters, B-24 Liberators, B-17 Flying Fortresses, Havocs, Hudsons, and a host of others. Those that couldn't be repaired were dismantled for spare parts.

On October 23, 1942, the third and final battle of El Alamein commenced with continuous attacks from RAF aircraft. Many of the Allied planes had been patched together by Project 19. By November 4, the Axis forces in the Western Desert were in full retreat. No fuel had succeeded in reaching Rommel's forces for six weeks. Air interdiction -- made possible by Project 19's field maintenance and repair -- had tipped the balance in the Allies favor.

On March 9, 1943, a group hanging around the wireless heard the news first: Rommel had abandoned North Africa. Soon after, in groups large and small, the exodus back to the U.S. began -- some by airplane, some aboard ship by way of Australia. One day in late 1943, a small group of machinists -- the last remnant of 2,500 civilians and 500 soldiers -- nailed the final crate, heaved it on the bed of the last truck, and rode the six-wheeler down the escarpment road to the Red Sea.

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