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Unique engraved WW2 Pilot wings - from a KIA?


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I picked these wings up a couple weeks ago. They were just advertised as "WW2 Pilot Wings" with nothing else more said or noted about them, and the price was certainly right too.

 

They have a gold star affixed to the front, and the back of the wings has engraved on them H.A. SCHMIDT 8-5-42.

 

I have no doubt that these wings, the gold star on the front, and the engraving on the back are 100% WW2 period done. No doubt at all. There was nothing else related to Schmidt or military.

 

Since wings are not my typicaly area of collecting, I wanted to post these here and see what others thought of them / make of them.

 

I did search the National WW2 Memorial website and found a large number of H.A. Schmidt's, a small number of H.A. Schmidt's who were killed in WW2, but only one H.A. Schmidt who was an officer and was killed in WW2, Henry A. Schmidt, and he was from West New York, New Jersey, and he KIA on 7-12-1943 in the Pacific, while serving with the 69th Bomb Squadron of 42nd Bomb Group (Medium), which was a B-25 unit at the time he was killed. I did find a short web history for the 69th, which noted that he arrived at the 69th in late December 1942 as a replacement pilot. The date engraved on the back of the wings, 8-5-42, is I assume the date he received his wings.

 

I think these wings could have belonged to the Henry A. Schmidt I have noted above, and a loved one modified them with the gold star after he was killed.

 

Is this sort of wing like this common amongst wing collectors? Am I off the mark on some of my thoughts about these wings?

 

I'm curious for anyone's input. Thanks!

 

MW

 

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I think what you stated is possible. The date could be a graduation date when he earned the wings and then sent them to Mom, wife...

 

John

Always looking for Wings & Named Air Medals!

Motto: To Collect, Preserve, and Remember!

 

 

 

 

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Here is a similar wing that I have in my collection. Obviously a Juarez air crewman's wing made into a woman's bracelet based on the size of the chain. I have always thought it was also a gold star type tribute to a KIA.

 

Very nice wing.

 

Patrick

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Thanks for the input.

 

I will probably have to just write to the NPRC and see what they may have for records on him, for his casualty file too if the NPRC tells me his records were burned, which is a very strong possibility, and see if I can determine if that date corresponds to anything he did.

 

Anyone have any idea how many pilot training centers there were by that point, August of 1942?

 

MW

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MW,

 

I do not have a number for you but you can try www.armyairforces.com for that information. I do know that the civilian schools took up the slack to get the training moving.

 

John

Always looking for Wings & Named Air Medals!

Motto: To Collect, Preserve, and Remember!

 

 

 

 

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Thanks John! I will surf around that site.

 

I agree on the civilian schools and their springing up to get more pilots trained, but my impression / undertanding has always been that they were formed just to get the basics out of the way for prospective pilots. I had always assumed that the courses where a cadet would graduate from and actually get wings and the official Army Air Corps aviator or pilot designation, that those places were actually Army Air Corps training fields and training courses, not the civilian operated ones.

 

I guess I have some more research to do!

 

MW

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