Jump to content
pfrost

1919-1941 vintage pilot wings

Recommended Posts

Dear Cliff and Paul,

 

Excellent information on this wing. Still it is interesting in that I had always assumed that this was a very early, pre-War pattern wing--maybe even dating back to the 1920's, may actually be incorrect. As it seems we have a pretty solid number of pictures showing it being worn during the war, this does argue that it may not have been made that much earlier. Of course, it is always hard to project back, but it does seem that Cliff has the truth of it that this wing may not date to earlier than the mid to late 1930's. Remember, that up until about 1941, the USAAC was training only about 500 pilots a year. It is really around 1941-1942 when the big jump in flight training occurred, and I think a reasonable hypothesis would be that this would also correspond with the jump in wing manufacturing.

 

Patrick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don’t know if this adds anything or not, but while I had the files pulled up I made a collage of the wings worn by the Group commanders, down to Squadron CO’s. I’ve thought for some time that it was interesting to note that few of them seemed to be wearing the more common WWII wings with which we are familiar.

 

The commanders pretty much stayed with the Group for the duration, rotating flight Lead assignments between them such that they flew much less frequently than the combat crews. I could easily be persuaded that since those commanders were not much older than the younger combat pilots constantly moving through the base, that with their choice of wings they sought to differentiate themselves even more than by their rank insignia.

 

And you can’t discount the effect of simple fads. For instance, when my father returned to England for a voluntary second tour, he was suddenly a “senior” man and assigned to a Lead Crew. He subsequently ordered two jackets from a London tailor and had all his insignia, ribbons, and wings made of bullion and sewn on…it had apparently become a fashion amongst the veterans like himself.

 

Newbies would have shown up with their graduation wings and perhaps a couple more purchased enroute, then found themselves thrown into an intense flight schedule allowing little time off to address such fashion.

 

I highlighted the West Point graduate to show that he had adopted the fashion in wings even though he was probably younger than the average combat pilot from the Cadet program. He graduated in 1943 as a 2Lt. and by late 1944 was a Lt. Col., finishing the war as Air Exec of the Group. Even though he was one of the original supply of line pilots with the Group, he was flying as a mission command pilot nearly from the start in late 1943.

post-3515-1246106967.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Patrick, Paul, & Cliff this is an intersting post and the photos add much to the discussion. I have been busy but wanted to share a photo I have which may lead to some more debate for some of the uniform & insignia details it contains.

 

The one thing that is not to clear in the posted photo is the fact that the Lt. is wearing a Sam Browne belt. (when did they stop wearing them?)

 

BTW forgive me but I was playing with photo shop ;)

 

@ Patrick - I was told by a few folks that the wing in question from above was made by Orber although I do not think I have seen one so marked.

 

Enjoy

John

 

1930s.jpg


Always looking for Wings & Named Air Medals!

Motto: To Collect, Preserve, and Remember!

 

 

 

 

donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gif

donation2011.gifdonation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The one thing that is not to clear in the posted photo is the fact that the Lt. is wearing a Sam Browne belt. (when did they stop wearing them?)

 

 

John, after we got off of the phone, I did a little searching, and it looks lik the old memory didn't fail me this time...the date was 1942. Hope this helps somewhat in dating the uniform in the photo.

 

In the book "US Army Uniforms of World War II" by Shelby L. Stanton, he states the following...

 

"During 1942, the officer's coat was restyled to add a cloth self-belt at the coat's waistline fitted with a toungless bar buckle..."

 

"...By the end of 1942, officers no longer had the choice of wearing M1921 officer's belt over the cloth self belt."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Steve,

 

Thanks for that update and the quote from the book. I took your advice and communicated with Gil (who suggested that book) and he said that based on the shirt and tie combination which we discussed he put this photo at 1939-40 +\-

 

 

Now the following is a wing I suspect is very early war and maybe pre-war :think: I loosely base this on the massive thinkness and the brass pin. As for who made it..? :dunno:

 

Thoughts?

 

John

 

pilot5.jpg


Always looking for Wings & Named Air Medals!

Motto: To Collect, Preserve, and Remember!

 

 

 

 

donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gif

donation2011.gifdonation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi John,

 

I would agree, that this wing seems to be an early to mid war wing. The thing is, it is not an especially rare wing and I do encounter them on a regular basis, that makes me think that they are to common for the earlier, pre-war, time frame. On the other hand their size and construction makes me think the wings are more than likely early WWII time period.

 

 

Patrick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I missed picking these up this weekend. Thought they might be pre-WWII...any others with a thought about them?

post-3515-1260205634.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Paul sorry you missed these. It would have been nice to see good photos. I wonder if the pin assembly is a replacement? The catch appears to be of a pre-ww2 type or should I say that I have see that catch on earlier era wings.

 

Cheers

John


Always looking for Wings & Named Air Medals!

Motto: To Collect, Preserve, and Remember!

 

 

 

 

donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gif

donation2011.gifdonation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The attached two uniforms belonged to Lt. William Van Dusen. The first is his 1919 transition tunic with standing collar and gold US and Wing and prop, he did not change out the buttons so I am assuming this was worn between 1919 and the early 1920's. The second tunic worn in the 1926 to mid 1930's time frame. Both wings are identical 3" tip to tip with pins that only open 3/4 of the way. Both unmarked except for word sterling. Lt. Van Dusen was killed in a bomber crash on maneuvers in Mexico around 1939.

post-6022-1260316420.jpg

post-6022-1260316481.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Terry,

 

Nice additions to this thread! Your photos represent some interesting transitions in both the uniform and insignia.

 

Thanks

John


Always looking for Wings & Named Air Medals!

Motto: To Collect, Preserve, and Remember!

 

 

 

 

donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gif

donation2011.gifdonation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Terry, thanks for your fine postings of Lt. Van Dusen's uniform. The wings, though not identical, are very close...the one I missed was not marked sterling. If I am understanding correctly, quite a lot of the between wars wings were not sterling.

 

Paul S

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Terry,

 

Nice additions to this thread! Your photos represent some interesting transitions in both the uniform and insignia.

 

Thanks

John

 

John,

As requested here is the back of the Van Dusen wing. Only markings are "sterling". Measures 3" tip to tip as opposed to the later 3 1/8" wings.

post-6022-1260405354.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Terry, thanks for your fine postings of Lt. Van Dusen's uniform. The wings, though not identical, are very close...the one I missed was not marked sterling. If I am understanding correctly, quite a lot of the between wars wings were not sterling.

 

Paul S

 

Paul,

I think you are correct in that a number of between the wars wings were plated not sterling. Attached is a picture of Lt. Wesley Zellner's 1919 wing. Lt. Zellner was a WW1 RMA and served until 1923. Notice the fine feathering. Wing is 3" tip to tip, pin only opens 90 degrees. Not marked "sterling".

 

Terry

post-6022-1260406005.jpg

post-6022-1260406020.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A beautiful wing! It appears to be an unmarked Kinney Company made wing similar to the one Patrick posted earlier in the thread.


post-2-0-10415400-1477335312.jpg



donation2015.gifdonation2016.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
John,

As requested here is the back of the Van Dusen wing. Only markings are "sterling". Measures 3" tip to tip as opposed to the later 3 1/8" wings.

 

 

Thank you Sir! So this must have been the higher cost version compared to a brass wing that was silver plated. I know form looking at a 1930 dated Meyer catalog they offered the option. Oh if they could only be bought at those proces today!

 

Regards

John


Always looking for Wings & Named Air Medals!

Motto: To Collect, Preserve, and Remember!

 

 

 

 

donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gif

donation2011.gifdonation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BTW, do you know what the store is behind the marking "From official dies"? Where these Government issued wings from Government owned dies?

 

Patrick

Patrick,

 

I do not have an answer for you but I will offer my best guess.

 

I think that the Air Service wanted to standardize the insignia. Whatever company made them may have been required to mark them as such or simply put that on there as proof that it was the "approved" design.

 

Now as for the design itself we may never know all the details but the those in charge of the Air Service must have submitted something to the General Staff for approval which eventually took the form of what we now know as the "Adam's" design which was pictured in National Geographic and Col. Wyllie's book from 1919.

Hi Patrick,

 

If a wing badge is backmarked "From Official Die" that means it came from the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, PA, not an independent manufacturer.

 

Cliff :thumbsup:

post-4542-1261537147.jpg


donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

donation2019.gif

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi Patrick,

 

If a wing badge is backmarked "From Official Die" that means it came from the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, PA, not an independent manufacturer.

 

Cliff :thumbsup:

 

Thansk for the info Cliff!

 

Have a Merry Christmas.

 

P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is another contribution to this thread that supports the time period of 1940 for one of the infrequently seen wings we've discussed earlier. The 3 wings shown represent those found from an estate of a pilot who was first rated in late 1939 or early 1940 and flew in the ATC during WWII.

post-3515-1266780402.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

:bye1:

 

Hi ya Paul,

 

Not meaning to split hairs :blush: but this badge actually dates back a little earlier to 1939.

 

Cliff

post-4542-1266781658.jpg


donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

donation2019.gif

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
:bye1:

 

Hi ya Paul,

 

Not meaning to split hairs :blush: but this badge actually dates back a little earlier to 1939.

 

Cliff

 

Hi Cliff, I probably should clarify...the years I noted on the picture are the years this particular pilot could have worn the wing. Perhaps the better approach would be to pin the date of the incised Meyer wing...would it have been an earlier wing, or concurrent with the (I've seen it called a White wing) White wing? I've been of the opinion that that the incised Meyer wing is older since those incised marks are also found on the 1919 government wings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really like this thread so I wanted to bring it back to the top with some new additions that I think belong in this time period. The overall construction seems to me to fall within the late 30's to early 40's type but I would like other opinions.

 

Cheers

John

 

post-227-1275777651.jpg


Always looking for Wings & Named Air Medals!

Motto: To Collect, Preserve, and Remember!

 

 

 

 

donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gif

donation2011.gifdonation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is an additional detail shot of the shoulders and the shield.

 

John

 

post-227-1275777901.jpg


Always looking for Wings & Named Air Medals!

Motto: To Collect, Preserve, and Remember!

 

 

 

 

donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gif

donation2011.gifdonation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.