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WW1 Navy Wings?

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I've got one more example which might be of interest to some of you. In 1991, during the early days of the first Gulf War, the Elebash Jewelry Store in Pensacola, Florida, began receiving requests for high quality gold US Naval Aviator wings which could be presented to loved ones in the Navy as gifts. According to a store employee I spoke with, Elebash has been around since 1919 and had a history of providing fine gold and silver wings and insignia to flying personnel stationed locally.

 

When it was apparent there was a renewed market for quality aviator wings, Elebash approached the Robbins Company and ordered up a "limited quantity" of 10 Karat flight badges. Ironically, the Robbins Company produced the order of new wings using the same wing pattern depicted in Terry's original posting. Robbins hallmarked each wing with a small "r", then Elebash inscribed their own identifier into the back of the wings. So, apparently the original dies were still in the hands of the Robbins Co. in 1991. Here's a couple of pictures of an "Elebash" ordered NAP wing.

 

Russ

 

Hi Russ,

 

As some of us might say down here in Dixie, "Well shut my mouth and call me Bubba!" Almost 50 years after the fact and they still had the dies. I think that is a terrific story.

 

Thank you for sharing.

 

Cliff :-)


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The Elebash Jewelry Store employee I spoke with said the wing I have illustrated above, was most likely their floor sample nineteen years ago. The wings sold to customers did not have the "Pensacola, Florida" inscription because that space was normally reserved for the recipients name or personal inscription. Elebash still sells top quality full size NAP wings today, but they are made by the "Stang Company" and are "14 Karat" marked. They sell for $845.00 a piece. (Christmas is just around the corner!)


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Back of the "Elebash" ordered wing. Note the small "r" hallmark...and the extra long studs.

 

 

Here is a set of 1.5" 1920's-30's Robbins wings made for Elebash with an Elebash's hallmark. They were converted to a tie tack.

 

They are marked " Elebash's Pensacola , Sterling ".

 

 

 

 

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!!!! WANTED !!!!

WWII Prisoner of War items : Medals, Mail, Diaries, Photos, Documents, Scrapbooks + More

WWII Naval Aviation Groupings : Medals, Documents, Scrapbooks, Photos, Flight Logs, Flight Jackets + More

 


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MVC_012L.JPG

!!!! WANTED !!!!

WWII Prisoner of War items : Medals, Mail, Diaries, Photos, Documents, Scrapbooks + More

WWII Naval Aviation Groupings : Medals, Documents, Scrapbooks, Photos, Flight Logs, Flight Jackets + More

 


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I must disagree that NAPs ever wore silver wings. I was of the belief that

they did since Russ Huff's "Wings & Things" started coming out some years

ago. I live near P'cola and volunteer at NNAM. Over the years I have been

privilidged to meet quite a few of the Silver Eagles. I've attended their re-

unions and done oral histories with them. One of the questions I always ask

is about the silver wings. To a man they tell me there was never such a thing.

and I've asked well over 100. Some were winged in the '20s and 30s. Of

course these guys are no longer with us. I am convinced the NAP silver

wing is a myth that grew out of the silver dolphins for enlisted submariners

and reinforced by the name "Silver Eagles" for the NAP Association.

 

I would just add that quite a few young aviators that were recently winged

did so with Joe *************** replica wings. They chose the vaulted shield

design from the '30s. It was really cool to watch their wives pin them on

choker whites. Gave me goosebumps.

 

Wings & Things on Barrancus sells repro vintage navy wings cast by a fellow

on Gulf Breeze. A couple of years ago a whole class was winged with them.

I wasn't there for that.

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Hello Owen,

 

I think most of us will agree with you that NAP's never did wear silver wings. But there's strong evidence NAO's (Naval Aviator Observers) did wear silver wings for a short period from January 1927 thru October 1929.

 

Russ


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I must disagree that NAPs ever wore silver wings.
Hello Owen,

 

I think most of us will agree with you that NAP's never did wear silver wings. But there's strong evidence NAO's (Naval Aviator Observers) did wear silver wings for a short period from January 1927 thru October 1929.

 

Russ

 

Hello Owen,

 

Russ is correct and I'm fairly certain that no where in this thread did any one ever say that NAP's wore silver wings; however, to be more precise, what was said in Post 22 is that a 26 January 1927 change to the 1922 Uniform Regulations (Change Number 3) modified the Naval Aviation Observer (NAO) wing design and changed it to have the same duel wing insignia worn by NAP's except that it was to be in silver rather than gold.

 

That change stayed in effect until 19 October 1929 with the release of Bureau of Navigation Circular Letter 71-29 (Change Number 7 to the 1922 Uniform Regulations) in which it directed another change be made to NAO wings. That change said that the new design would have duel wings in gold, the same as for Naval Aviator wings, but that the center device would be a large "O" with an erect plain anchor inside the "O" and that both would be in silver.

 

Cliff

..........................Naval Aviation Observer (NAO) wing designs

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I may well have misinterpreted the text. And I completely

concur with observers wearing a silver version in the '20s.

I ha ve a couple in my collection.

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In October 1929 the Navy may have made an exception to allow the “old salts” who were qualified to wear silver NAP style, also called NAO 2nd style, wings prior to October 1929. Consequently, rather than make those men turn in or discard their original silver 2nd style wings, they allowed those men to continue wearing their original wings as long as they remained in the Navy. In considering of that, you can be sure that a number of those “old salts” did remain in the Navy throughout World War II, and during WWII if they ever wanted an up-to-date NAP style wing in silver they could get one from Robbins.

 

Certainly sounds plausible, but I still get the feeling the silver NA-style should be less common, if that's all they were made for. As many here know, the aviation observer program in the late '20s was used largely to get senior officers qualified after legislation of 1927 specified that only naval aviators or aviation observers could take command of aviation units. The overwhelming emphasis of naval air training at that point was to crank out pilots.

 

Looking through the Navy Registers of 1928 and '29, I can find less than two dozen officers listed as qualified NAOs:

 

RADMs

Henry V. Butler

William A. Moffett

Joseph M. Reeves

Frank B. Upham

Harry E. Yarnell

 

CAPTs

Frank D. Berrien

Stafford H. R. Doyle

Walter R. Gherardi

John Halligan

Frederick J. Horne

Edward S. Jackson

 

CDRs

Sydney M. Kraus

Raymond G. Thomas

 

LCDRs

Robert M. Griffen

Charles G. McCord

Zeno W. Wicks

 

LTs

Herbert C. Behner

John G. Jones

Timothy J. O'Brien

 

I may have missed a few, and there may have been some enlisted, but there are also photo examples of officers who were NAO-qualified in '27-'29 wearing the 3rd style NAO wings later on. Admirals Moffett, Horne and Butler, for example. The replacement of the Type 2 NAO wings with the Type 3 after such a short time seems to me like a conscious effort was made to make the insignia more visually distinct from the NA/NAP wings, and I wouldn't be surprised if wearers were "encouraged" to get the new model.

 

I can't help but wonder if many of the WW2-period silver NA-style wings are just one of those examples we sometimes encounter of a manufacturer making a non-regulation item for reasons that are now obscure. I will try and research this subject further. Thanks to all the above for an informative thread,

 

Justin B.


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I thought I would add this wing to the thread.

It seems to me to be in the spirit of the original wing in post #1.

I picked it up a few months ago on ebay.

The Meyer Metal mark caught my eye in the listing. I couldn't figure why a WWII looking wing would have that hm,

as in my experiance, it is generally only seen on 1920's-1930's era Meyer pieces.

Well, once I got the wing in hand, I realized that it has the same small feathers that Cliff discussed earlier.(Couldn't see them in the poor quality pic on ebay). Also, the wing sports the reverse, raised meyer shield which I have on a number of pieces.

I think this may be a seldom seen pattern by Meyer that must have been produced in very small numbers right

after the reg's changed, as Cliff mentioned, and before the Meyer wings with "berries" were produced.

 

Best, John

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Back

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Here is the wing with a standard WWII Meyer wing with "berries".

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Pictured below is a photograph of the first ten USN enlisted pilot trainees who were selected to begin 18-months training at Pensacola, FL beginning on January 1, 1916. These ten were from the crew of the USS North Carolina. The picture was taken on March 21, 1917. Unfortunately, the name of these ten men have never been confirmed. The second class entered pilot training in June, 1917.

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Hi Cliff,

I think this picture is in the book by Ron Willis and Tom Carmichael on Navy Wings. I am at work now, so I don't have my copy handy, but I thought the picture had names with it. I wonder if the info in the book regarding these Aviators is possibly not accurate? Thanks for posting that great picture!!

 

Chris


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Pictured below is a photograph of the first ten USN enlisted pilot trainees who were selected to begin 18-months training at Pensacola, FL beginning on January 1, 1916. These ten were from the crew of the USS North Carolina. The picture was taken on March 21, 1917. Unfortunately, the name of these ten men have never been confirmed. The second class entered pilot training in June, 1917.

 

The book "United States Navy Wings of Gold" has these aviators named.

 

Here is the list;

 

"Standing left to right: Charles L. Allen, Naval Aviator #110-1/2; Walter D. Bonner, Naval Aviator #50; George Enos, Naval Aviator #61; Augustus A. Bressman, Naval Aviator #44; Oliver P. Kilmer, Naval Aviator #70; Alfred Hayes, Naval Aviator #69.

 

Seated left to right: Thomas H. Murphy, Naval Aviator #51; John T. Sunderman, Naval Aviator #55-1/2; Guy Mclaughlin, Naval Aviator #90; Giochino Varini, Naval Aviator #62.

 

Courtesy of the U.S. Naval Historical Center Washington, D.C. "


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Hi Chris,

 

While doing some research yesterday for B-17GUY (John Ferguson), I found the picture in the Fall 1988 edition of Naval Aviation Museum FOUNDATION magazine, Volume 2, Number 9.

 

Thank you for the update.

 

Cliff


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I have a set, identical to Pfrosts that are also Robbins marked.


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Always looking for 78th Division patch variations, medal groups & uniforms from WWI or WWII.

 

307th Field Artillery - "The poor, unfortunate grunt needs to actually see his target. All we need is a zip code"...

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I wish that I had a set of wings to share, but I can share pictures of one of the wearers. In the list of NAOs above, LCDR Charles G. McCord was my grandfather. There are two pictures of him taken in late '26 and early '27 at Pensacola NAS. The final picture is on board USS Wright (AV-1), the first seaplane tender. He started as an engineer and was promoted to Air Exec some time in '28.

 

 

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