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Silver NAP Wings


drmessimer
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That silver Vanguard-made wing with unique piercing is a nice wing!

 

As worn by Keith Dennis in ww2 perhaps !!! :think:

Seriously is their any evidence to support the occasional waring of silver USN pilot wings in ww2.

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It means the wing is kind of "cupped" with the center being kind of higher in than the sides. From the side, the wings almost look like a bow. I'll try to get a picture of what I mean later.

 

This is what I meant by "vaulted". From the side, you can see that it has a very nice delicate curve to the wing. Other wings tend to be simply flat.

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As worn by Keith Dennis in ww2 perhaps !!! :think:

Seriously is their any evidence to support the occasional waring of silver USN pilot wings in ww2.

 

 

To date, I think the information Rich (RAL) shared in post #25 shows ernest evidence that silver USN aviator wings were indeed worn for a limited time in the late 1920's by at least some Naval Observers. So far we've confirmed that Vanguard, BB&B, and Robbins all produced silver versions of the wing. Has anyone seen a Meyer's, A.E.Co, or Gemsco example? Any images or information you might have would be greatly appreciated.

 

Russ

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As worn by Keith Dennis in ww2 perhaps !!! :think:

Seriously is their any evidence to support the occasional waring of silver USN pilot wings in ww2.

 

Hi Graham,

 

I ran this question by a few USN officers I know, and the consensus was that if an enlisted man was busted and taken off of flight duty the way Keith Dennis was (assuming that the story is mostly correct), then he faced some pretty serious ramifications. The Navy would not (and still doesn't) have looked lightly at this type of transgression, considering all the time and money they would have spent training aviators, plus the responsibility of flying around an airplane. Furthermore, it would seem almost beyond belief that he would have been further punished by being forced to wear a non-regulation rating (the silver pilot wing). More than likely, they both felt that his flying career in the Navy would have ended, and as such, he would no longer be allowed to were the aviator wings.

 

However, since we was likely still flying combat missions as a gunner, he would have been allowed to wear the combat air crewmans wings, which are in fact silver colored wings. I suspect that maybe some confusion lies in that overtime the gold USN wings and the silver combat air crewmans wings have become overlapped?

 

In fact, I once met a B-24 gunner who got busted out of flight school for a similar transgression (flying under a bridge), but who then ended up as a waist gunner in the 8th AAF.

 

Anyway, this is just my thoughts on this idea.

 

"I got caught and reported for flying under a bridge in Port Arthur, Texas, and was broken two ranks to corporal. was put back on TFO (tempory flight orders) after 30 days of grounding. I was not allowed to wear the gold pilot wings and instead I wore the silver pilot wing until the end of the war. In combat I was not allowed to fly except for occasional ferrying in rear areas. I flew as a rear seat gunner on combat missions as the wind up of the solomons and marianas campaigns and leyte in the Philipines in October 1944 with VMSB 244, 1st MAW. I was discharged in June 1946 as a S/SGT."

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My buddy Rustywings (who BTW is not Russ Huff!), mentioned that maybe some other people could post some other wings.

 

In relation to my previous post, here is a USN aircrew wing that was made into a bracelet. This man flew in the Atlantic. This is one of my favorite wings, because I like to think he actually wore it on his missions. Nice and salty! Still you can see how this wing would have been a real source of pride to the owner. What is interesting to me about this wing is that only 2 or the 3 stars are there. Each star was awarded for a specific type of action, like attacking a ship or engaging in air to air combat. Interestingly, I tend to find these wings with either no stars or with all the holes filled in with stars. Thus, I tend to like the wings with only one or two stars, because, at least in my mind, the wings are more "salty" and likely (in my mind) actually represent something that was worn at the time. Maybe I am being silly, but that is just the way I think about these wings.

 

The other is a post 1930's USN Observer wing. It is made up of 3 parts, with the wings attached to the center device. It hallmarked H&H. I wonder if this was some sort of early transition wing where they hadn't made the dies up, so were making observer wings out of "bits" from the aviator wings?

 

The last one is a little one inch observer wing made by Gemsco. Maybe worn on a cap or a sweetheart piece?

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Thanks Pfrost, your explanation re; Keith Dennis sounds the most plausable. My full size Vanguard wing must be a sweetheart type piece I suppose. And now you come to mention it, My USN aircrew wings have either 3 stars or none :think:

Thanks, Graham.

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Here is a Naval Officer wearing the USN Combat Aircrew Wings. He was a Radar officer attached to the USS Shangris La and flew a number of missions. I have his Bronze Star and Air Medal. In the documentation I have the letter awarding him the wings. The assumption by most people is only EM were awarded this wing.

 

Notice his ribbon bars are backwards. For those of you who assume a uniform is fake because the ribbons are not in the right order...... take note.

 

Kurt

 

 

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In an earlier post, Patrick remarked that the number of Naval Aviation Observers (NAO) who wore the full size, silver wing must have been very low. He is certainly right, and the question is; how many NAOs were there during the time that the wings were authorized, January 1927 to October 1929? And was the NAO rating authorized only for officers or were qualified enlisted men also eligible?

According to United States Naval Aviation, 1910-1970 (2nd edition) the number of non-pilot officers on aviation duty during that period ranged from 177 to 207. During the same period, the number of officer pilots on duty ranged from 472 to 520 and at the same time the number of enlisted pilots (NAP) went from 108 to 173.

If only non-pilot officers were eligible to be NAOs, then the number of wings issued was very low because only a few of those 177 to 207 officers was in a slot that would qualify him for the rating. However, if enlisted men were also eligible, the number could be higher. From 1920 to 1929, the Navy bought 1,190 non-fighter, combat, aircraft that carried crews of two to six. The breakdown is 815 two-place aircraft, 365 three-place aircraft, and ten six-place aircraft.

From January 1927 to October 1929, the number of combat aircraft on hand ranged from 599 to 664, but approximately 54% of those aircraft were single seat fighters with no room for an observer. That means that from January 1927 to October 1929 there were approximately 275 to 305 multi-seat, combat, aircraft that might have carried an observer (NAO).

Assuming that only officers were eligible to be NAOs, I am guessing that the three-place and six-place aircraft, which comprised approximately 32% of all the multi-place aircraft, were the types that most probably carried an observer, which means that from January 1927 to October 1929 there were approximately 89 to 98 aircraft that might have carried an observer. However, if enlisted men were also eligible for the NAO rating, then the two-place aircraft that comprised 68% of the non-fighter combat inventory might provide an additional 187 NAO slots.

I have asked the Naval History and Heritage Command for a copy of the regulation governing the functions and qualifications for a Naval Aviation Observer, which will aid in more closely estimating the probable number of NAOs for the period 1927-29. In the meantime, these rough figures offer a means to develop an estimate of the number of NAO wings that might have been issued from January 1927 to October 1929. Dwight

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  • 3 years later...

I thought I would bump this thread back to the top, as it is one of those great threads

that gets lost in time.

This is an often asked question, and I think it is a great discussion on the subject.

 

Best, John

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Here is a pair of Meyer silver colored USN wings. I think these are re-striked but still they are an interesting variation. Any opinions on these wings??

 

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  • 2 years later...

Here is another interesting wing. I believe this fellow is from the late 1920's, early 1930's. Just something about it and its construction gives me that feel.

 

It is finely feathered and rather than gold plated, it seems to be painted.

 

It is pierced, but lacks the kind of vaulting that other wings, such as BB&B or Robbins, have.

 

Patrick

Not sure of the date, but this is a beautiful Gemsco wing.

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  • 4 years later...

My question concerns a set of silver Naval Aviator wings that I have had for over twenty years. They are the old style without the berries in the wing shoulders. At the time they were given to me, I was told they were worn by enlisted pilots who in the Navy are designated Naval Aviation Pilot (NAP). I have written two books in which NAPs played a major role but I never came across any silver wings being worn. Over the years I have searched through Navy uniform specifications and regulations and have been unable to find anything describing silver Naval Aviator wings for enlisted pilots (NAP). Does anyone out there know what the truth is about these wings? If they were authorized for NAPs, can someone cite the specification and/or regulation governing the design and wear?

This is a photo of the wings in question. They are mounted under glass and it would be necessary to destroy the frame in order to polish them and see the reverse side. I have no information about any hallmark that might be present, but I don’t think that’s important since all I want to know id whether or not they were an authorized wing.

Thank you. drmessimer

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I have a beautiful sterling silver set of wings (with berries, no less) and wore them in the fleet during the time 1962 and 1968, I suspected that they were not authorized to wear. They just seemed more at home with the khaki working uniform. No one ever remarked about or questioned them. I originally purchased them at a small Navy Exchange uniform store at the Navy Weapons Plant in Washington, DC.

The most reasonable explanation (in my opinion) was provided earlier. They may have been Observer’s wings worn in the late twenties. BUT….if this is true, where did the berries appear from? I don’t think they existed then. Quandry. October 5, 2019.

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