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I believe there is a growing number of U.S. wing and insignia collectors who are interested in sharing images and information about badges worn by Civil Aeronautics Administration-War Training Service personnel, Civilian Pilot Training Program personnel and Contract Flight School personnel worthy of its own thread. These WWII era peripheral paramilitary organizations greatly aided the war effort by training thousands of needed pilots for all branches of the service.

 

These highly collectible wings, cap pieces and insignia varied widely in design from one flight school to another and can make for an interesting study. Fellow Forum members have posted nice examples of some of these rare wings in past threads, but unfortunately they soon get lost in the archive pages. If we can consolidate our efforts into one thread which encompasses all of these common organizations, we can establish a "pinned" source for easy reference. If Forum members like PFrost, DMD, Flyingfortress, and Got-Da-Penny would relist some of their previous CAA, WTS and CPT contributions in this thread, many of us would be most appreciative of your efforts. Please feel free to post any and all related wing badges here.

 

Lets start with a few gilt or gold pilot wings which were sometimes worn by civilian contract flight instructors training Army Air Corps Flying Cadets. They were also used as presentation wings...and as Cliff Presley pointed out in another thread, they may have been displayed on dress blue uniforms during formal functions in the 1930's. I've heard a number of collectors call these full size gilt wings sweetheart pieces, but believe that description should be reserved for the two inch and smaller gold wings.

 

A number of the early Army Contract Flight Schools, especially in the west, wore gilt cap pieces with their own Flight Academy design rather than wear the standard CAA/WTS wings and cap piece. It stands to reason that many civilian instructors would have preferred to wear a gilt wing that not only matched their gilt cap piece, but also closely resembled Army Air Corps issued pilot wings without being in violation of the rules of heraldry. Here's a few examples of early gilt wings and some of the matching flight school cap pieces.

 

This first image shows a standard unmarked gilt wing and two styles of gilt Amcraft hallmarked wings.

 

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Here's the 1930's style wing compared with a gilt "Irvine & Jachens" style 1920's wing. These are the type of wings which may have been worn on the dress uniform during formal functions between the wars.

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Here's 3 gilt presentation wings given by Major C.C. Moseley to Contract Flight Instructors. Major Moseley owned and operated Cal Aero Flight Academy, Polaris Flight Academy and Mira Loma Flight Academy.

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I'm not a 100% certain about this WWII era gilt cap piece. I've been told it was used at Terrell Flight School (Texas)...but another collector beleives it was worn at Thunderbird Flight School (Arizona).

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Simply OUTSTANDING Sir! As always I am envious!

 

John

 

I know he will be humble and deny it, but Russ is like a super-rock star of wing collectors.

 

Here is another wing in the vein of gilt-colored instructor wings from Cal Aero. The center rondel is the same as what is found on the cap badges, just added to a gilt observer wing.

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Russ, Thank you for sponsoring an amazing clinic with these beautiful examples. Do you have any idea what the occasion was that caused the Moseley presentation wings to be made?

 

PS

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I know he will be humble and deny it, but Russ is like a super-rock star of wing collectors.

 

Here is another wing in the vein of gilt-colored instructor wings from Cal Aero. The center rondel is the same as what is found on the cap badges, just added to a gilt observer wing.

 

 

Patrick, that's a terrific wing! Like the Army Air Corps Observer's wing, it was probably worn by a Cal Aero Instructor who no longer qualified for flight status and was relegated to instruct ground school. Who knows, maybe the original owner of those wings was an older WWI pilot and flew with his boss and buddy, Major C.C. Moseley?

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Russ, Thank you for sponsoring an amazing clinic with these beautiful examples. Do you have any idea what the occasion was that caused the Moseley presentation wings to be made?

 

PS

 

 

Paul,

The date inscribed on the back of each instructor's wing indicated the day of hire with the flight school. It is my understanding Moseley presented them upon the graduation of the first Flying Cadets under that instructor's charge.

 

The gilt pilot wings illustrated above and inscribed to "O.S. Davis" is one of two wings Moseley presented to that flight instructor. O.S. Davis was issued his first presentation wing (dated January 23, 1942) while teaching British cadets "basic" at Polaris Flight Academy. He was issued a second set of gold wings (dated February 24, 1944) after transferring to the Cal Aero Flight Academy and teaching American cadets "primary" flight. I'm fortunate enough to own both wings and his uniforms.

 

My Mother worked for C.C. Moseley as a secretary at Cal Aero in 1943-1944. She described him as a generous and well-to-do socialite. He took good care of his flight instructors and presented nice tokens of appreciation to graduates of all three of his academys. He gave inscribed school bracelets to all cadets who graduated from "basic". And he gave nicely inscribed wallets containing a personalized brass certificate of completion to all cadets graduating from "primary". I have several examples of the bracelets and wallets with brass certificates which I can post, if that's of interest to anyone.

 

Russ

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I have several examples of the bracelets and wallets with brass certificates which I can post, if that's of interest to anyone.

 

Please do sir! :twothumbup:

 

John

Always looking for Wings & Named Air Medals!

Motto: To Collect, Preserve, and Remember!

 

 

 

 

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