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post WWII, 50's & 60's US Air Force uniform photos


Bob Hudson
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Top pin, for comparison, is just the standard USAF rank badge that’s been in use for decades – although I’m not sure when they were first introduced. But below is a much earlier example. I'm wondering if it was theater made (Korea?) as it is very crudely manufactured: it has a pin back welded/soldered to what looks like stamped sheet metal. Measures just over 1½ inches across. Any ideas on this one?

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From large rank pins to small. I believe this M/Sgt metal tie-tack dates from the early ‘60s. The colors in the pic are correct: the chevrons are a light blue enamel. As well as silver-tone, as pictured, these also came in gold-tone finish……… Authorized wear??

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...Top pin, for comparison, is just the standard USAF rank badge that's been in use for decades – although I'm not sure when they were first introduced. But below is a much earlier example. I'm wondering if it was theater made (Korea?) as it is very crudely manufactured: it has a pin back welded/soldered to what looks like stamped sheet metal. Measures just over 1½ inches across. Any ideas on this one?

Made-in-Korea Army and Marine Corps chevrons of similar style and quality as your Air Force three-striper have been posted on the Forum (good luck finding them).

 

The smaller enameled version of USAF chevron pin has been around since the mid-1960s at least. Link here to see some being worn by SAC crew members.

 

Here is another transitional oddity: An Air Force NCO wearing a crudely made Army style Staff Sergeant pin on his fatigue cap in Korea ca. 1951.

post-1963-1323160181.jpg

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But below is a much earlier example. I'm wondering if it was theater made (Korea?) as it is very crudely manufactured: it has a pin back welded/soldered to what looks like stamped sheet metal. Measures just over 1½ inches across. Any ideas on this one?[/b]

 

Same here. Stamped metal... 1 1/2 inches across. I've had this one forever.

 

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I have noticed that there are very few photos online of the US Air Force personnel and uniforms from the early days of the service. There's lots of Army Air Force and a fair amount of modern USAF but not much of the early days. If we can get enough photos we might break them out into categories but for now let's see what we can come up with and provide create a reference source for early USAF uniforms.

 

I'll start with a 1949 USAF jacket:

 

afike.jpgafikelabel.jpg

 

Airmen Will Stockdale Basic training 1957 as permanent latrine orderly :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Helen Ann Lambeck, c.1955-56. Airman Lambeck's hat is a different style from the one seen in post #247 (above) -- although the pictures were taken right in the same period. I guess both types were in use at same time?

post-7471-1323995930.jpg

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...Airman Lambeck's hat is a different style from the one seen in post #247 (above) -- although the pictures were taken right in the same period. I guess both types were in use at same time?

 

post-1963-1324074342.jpg post-1963-1324074320.jpg

 

You are correct that both styles were in use at the same time in the 1950s. Airman Lambeck is wearing the Service and Dress Hat, which consisted of a frame with interchangeable seasonal hat covers ( a ) a wool cover for winter wear (gray shade 167) and ( b ) a cotton corded cover for summer wear (blue, white, and black stripe shade 166). There was also an optional white cover to be worn with the WAF dress white uniform.

 

The second WAF is wearing the Flight Cap which came in blue only (shade 84).

 

This information appears in The Air Officer's Guide 5th Edition (1951) and 10th Edition (1957) and possibly in editions before and after these.

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post-1963-1324074342.jpg post-1963-1324074320.jpg

 

You are correct that both styles were in use at the same time in the 1950s. Airman Lambeck is wearing the Service and Dress Hat, which consisted of a frame with interchangeable seasonal hat covers ( a ) a wool cover for winter wear (gray shade 167) and ( b ) a cotton corded cover for summer wear (blue, white, and black stripe shade 166). There was also an optional white cover to be worn with the WAF dress white uniform.

 

The second WAF is wearing the Flight Cap which came in blue only (shade 84).

 

This information appears in The Air Officer's Guide 5th Edition (1951) and 10th Edition (1957) and possibly in editions before and after these.

@Wailuna -- Thanks for the heads-up (pun intended) on the hats.......

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This information appears in The Air Officer's Guide 5th Edition (1951) and 10th Edition (1957) and possibly in editions before and after these.

The 1957 edition includes, too, a "Flight Cap" but I have no photo of it at the moment.

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The 1957 edition includes, too, a "Flight Cap" but I have no photo of it at the moment.

 

Photos... not mine, but in my "stash" of photos found online for reference.

 

The following are from Jackson Library, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Found here.

 

Portrait of Anna Kalar, circa 1952

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  • 3 weeks later...
Captainofthe7th

Here are a couple more recent acquisitions:

 

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This one is named to T/Sgt Grulke, he flew in the CBI in WWII and was stationed in Japan during Korea.

 

Rob

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just picked up one of these on eBay for only a few bucks. I know what it is. But when? Pretty early -- but how early? And how long were these issued? And what about a photo of an Airman wearing one?!

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This one was leather, from the C.E. Daniels collection:

 

@ Bluehawk: I have never seen one of these leather face protectors before now. Thanks for posting.

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  • 2 months later...

More evidence of the Air Force's fatigue cap identity crisis late in the transitional era: A TM-61 Matador missile crew of 310th Tactical Missile Squadron at Osan Air Base, Korea, ca. 1960. (Some Air Force missile trivia: The Martin Matador started its service life as the YB-61, a "pilotless bomber" which deployed to Germany in mid-1950s as the B-61A Matador, operated by 1st Pilotless Bomber Squadron (among others) and targeting you-know-who. Once operational, the "pilotless bomber" slander was quickly scrapped in favor of "tactical missile" — perhaps Gen. Lemay was not amused by the suggestion of bombers without pilots.)

 

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I just cannot recall where on earth I got this picture file, but found it in my computer today. If I snagged it from somebody's collection, I apologize, and will have it taken down or give full credit.

********** Anyway, pretty self-explanatory: Gen. Jimmy Stewart at the gate with an Air Policeman during the ‘50s. But the photo looks staged, so I guess this was a production shot from the movie “Strategic Air Command”?

Couple of questions: What would be the significance, if any, of the stripe on this AP’s helmet? And although not pictured here, wondering on what occasions did Air Policemen wear white lacings in their boots? And how long did that practice survive?

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  • 2 months later...

1950's postcard: Parade in San Antonio, TX. Note the natural looking color photography!

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  • 4 weeks later...

This USAF S/Sgt. is getting a "grip-and-grin" birthday greeting from his boss at Bolling A.F.B., Washington, D.C., August 28, 1949. His wife sent the cake from Hawaii (note open parcel under the unit billboard). The unit arc over the sergeant's SSI is illegible in this photo but 4203rd P.T.S. was associated with the Strategic Air Command and that is a likely W.A.G. for his tab.

 

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Link here to see the Life Magazine article mentioned in this inscription on the back of the photo (go to pages 70-71):

 

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@Wailuna:

 

Thanks for another interesting post. We see he's still got the early cutout prop/wing collar insignia, along with an Army tan tie, but has the S/Sgt moved to wearing an AF blue belt?

 

It was well worth checking out the "Life" link too. Apart from the fascinating period advertising, I noticed there's an article by 'Hap' Arnold starting at page 120 (dispersed over another approx 15 pages) taken from his autobiography, along with a full page picture of him with Omar Bradley, and various other smaller photographs connected to his life (including ones showing Spaatz and Mitchell).

 

That issue of Life was good one!

 

Mark

 

 

This USAF S/Sgt. is getting a "grip-and-grin" birthday greeting from his boss at Bolling A.F.B., Washington, D.C., August 28, 1949. His wife sent the cake from Hawaii (note open parcel under the unit billboard). The unit arc over the sergeant's SSI is illegible in this photo but 4203rd P.T.S. was associated with the Strategic Air Command and that is a likely W.A.G. for his tab.

 

post-1963-1343614825.jpg

 

Link here to see the Life Magazine article mentioned in this inscription on the back of the photo (go to pages 70-71):

 

post-1963-1343616436.jpg

 

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....he's still got the early cutout prop/wing collar insignia, along with an Army tan tie, but has the S/Sgt moved to wearing an AF blue belt?

Yes, he was a man in transition alright and, as we see, just about anything goes (or went) in 1949. Not only a blue belt with khaki tie but it is interesting that he had switched to the new chevrons before he needed to. The other picture (in the goody box) shows him in an identical uniform except for Army pattern staff sergeant chevrons (and wearing a cap). He was bidding farewell to his wife and daughter in Hawaii as he boarded a ship to the Mainland. We will never know why he was an early adapter of the new USAF stripes as his rank did not change between the taking of these two pictures but this is surely among the earliest date-verified sightings the new stripes being worn that we have seen on the Forum. Can you tell if your dad was wearing USAF stripes the picture at post #229.

 

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I don't know if my Dad was wearing Army or AF rank when that picture (post 229) was taken in July of 1949, but I do know that in a photo of him in his khakis at the around the same time/place (Celle, Germany) he is the only one of a bunch of airman wearing a blue chevron. I may have posted this picture before, but can't remember where the hell it's sitting -- it may even be on this thread somewhere! Anyway, if I post a duplicate here, I trust it's no problem.

post-7471-1343697122.jpg

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