U.S. Army Air Corps - Between The Wars

Click on the images to see a larger version and the back of the wing/badge
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Cliff Presley Collection
10/15/2004
Do not confuse this with a "Military Airplane Pilot" wing badge approved in 1937 (see wing below). While similar in style, it is a "Military Aviator" badge made between 1926-1937 and worn by a post-WW1 career officer. The MA rating was not awarded after January 25, 1919 and in order to be qualifed to wear one a pilot had to have 3-years flight experience or be awarded the rating through an Act of Congress for wartime achievement.
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Dieges & Clust, STERLING
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Cliff Presley Collection
9/19/2010
This is not a WWII Senior Pilot badge, it is a 1937 Military Airplane Pilot badge made in 1938 by Dieges & Clust.

To quote Duncan Campbell from his book, "On 23 December 1937, the War Department awarded this rating to 63 veteran aviators, who had held the rating of pilot for at least 12 years and had flown more than 2000 hours" (War Department Circular #62).

It may not be immediately noticeable but this badge is cast... and I must add that it is very good casting. So why was it cast? With only 63 men qualified to wear one in 1938 it was not cost effective for Dieges & Clust to make a die since they probably would not sell many.

Special note: The Military Airplane Pilot rating did not last long. War Department Circular 21, dated 20 February 1940, changed the designation to Senior Pilot.

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N. S. MEYER, NYC hallmark
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Cliff Presley Collection
9/21/2010
1937 Military Airplane Pilot (12 years plus 2000 hours) worn by Colonel Charles W. Steinmetz - 011002
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From Offical Die, Sterling
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Cliff Presley Collection
9/19/2010
1919 Style badge
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From Offical Die, Sterling, S.N. Meyer, Washington DC (no, that's not a typo)
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Cliff Presley Collection
9/19/2010
This wing was worn by Lt. Paul C. Wienge, who was an Observer with the 91st Aero Squadron during WW1. After the Armistice he was able to get his pilot rating while still overseas.
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Cliff Presley Collection
9/24/2010
This (sterling with no backmark or hallmark) badge has an interesting history. Originally it was owned by Brigadier General Caleb V. Haynes - 011055, who later gave it to Colonel Charles W. Steinmetz - 011002
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Kinney Co
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Cliff Presley Collection
9/24/2010
Pilot badge made by the Kinney Company, Providence, RI.
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Sterling
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Cliff Presley Collection
9/24/2010
This is another 1919 pattern pilot badge. Note the drop-in catch.
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Sterling
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Cliff Presley Collection
9/24/2010
Pilot badge made by Wm. Link Company
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Snowflake Pattern
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Cliff Presley Collection
9/24/2010
Graduation wing badge awarded to Colonel Charles A. Polansky on 30 August 1940: Class 1940-E, Gulf Coast Air Corps Training Center, Air Corps Advanced Flying School, Kelly Field, Texas
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Cliff Presley Collection
9/24/2010
1938 Graduation wing badge awarded to Colonel Barry B. Townsend
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Gemsco, Sterling
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Cliff Presley Collection
9/25/2010
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Sterling
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Cliff Presley Collection
9/25/2010
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Pin
Cliff Presley Collection
12/9/2012
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Gemsco, Sterling
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Cliff Presley Collection
12/28/2012
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Pin
Michael Harner Collection
7/7/2014
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Amico
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Courtesy of "TheWingKing"
7/8/2014
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Pin
Courtesy of "TheWingKing"
7/8/2014 (Moved to BTW on 7/11/14)
This badge is made by A. H. Hankins.
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3 1/8"
3/4"

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2/12/2005 (Moved to BTW on 7/11/14)
These wings were made prior to WW2 in Panama.
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Cliff Presley Collection
10/15/2004
Pilot wing badge. Circa 1932-1935
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Cliff Presley Collection
9/21/2010
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Cliff Presley Collection
10/15/2004
Pilot wing badge. Circa 1925-1935
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Cliff Presley Collection
9/21/2010
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Cliff Presley Collection
9/21/2010
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Cliff Presley Collection
9/24/2010
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Cliff Presley Collection
9/24/2010
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Cliff Presley Collection
9/25/2010
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Cliff Presley Collection
1/7/2012
This is a bit of an anomaly. It is a full size embroidered wing badge with a design that closely resembles that of a WW1 pilot badge; however, since the letters "US" were not added to the center shield it is reasonable to assume that it is an immediate post-1918 era pilot badge.
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Cliff Presley Collection
1/8/2012
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1 1/2"

Kinney & Company, Sterling
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Cliff Presley Collection
1/8/2012
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Cliff Presley Collection
9/24/2010
1919 Observer half-wing. This half-wing was also approved for Balloon observers, Aerial gunners and bombers.
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From Official Die, Sterling
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Cliff Presley Collection
9/24/2010
1920 Observer qualified as an airplane pilot with letters US within the circle.
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3"

Sterling
Pin Back
John Vargas Collection

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Cliff Presley Collection
10/6/2010
Embroidered 1919 duel-wing Observer badge with letters "US" on the shield that belonged to Colonel William D. Walter.
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3 1/8" (wing) 4" (cloth)
7/8" (wing) 1 3/4" (cloth)


R. & J. Quetel Collection

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Sterling
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Cliff Presley Collection
9/24/2010
1921 Observer wing badge
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Cliff Presley Collection
1/7/2012
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Clutch
Cliff Presley Collection
9/24/2010
A unique padded embroidered Observer wing with clutch back fasteners
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Cliff Presley Collection
9/24/2010
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Cliff Presley Collection
9/24/2010
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Cliff Presley Collection
1/7/2012
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1 1/2"

F. H. Noble & Co, Sterling
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Cliff Presley Collection
1/8/2012
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Cliff Presley Collection
9/22/2010
This is the Aerial Nurse Corps cap badge. Visionary Lauretta M. Schimmoler, registered nurse and pilot, created the Aerial Nurse Corps of America in 1936, a paramilitary nursing organization that proved a need for military evacuation of wounded troops by air. Although the organization struggled for years and never gained official recognition by the military, they proved the concept and early in WW II, the military flight nurse specialty was established and training provided by the Army Air Corps. Today the Aerial Nurse Corps of America are recognized as the original flight nurses, and the model for the USAF Flight Nurse Corps
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Cliff Presley Collection
9/22/2010
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1 3/8 "
7/16 "
B,B & B, 14 K, 2nd Lt. Joseph J. Ladd, Air Corps, 1932
Pin Back
Cliff Presley Collection
12/2/2004
The Distinguished Aerial Gunner -and- Distinguished Aerial Bomber badges are two of the great treasures of American military aviation history. These unique 14k solid gold badges were awarded to the highest scorers at the annual gunnery and bombing matches held at Langley Field, VA from 1926 to 1932. Only officers were permitted to compete and they all had to be pilot qualified.

Distinguished Aerial Gunner badges were awarded to the winners of each of the following three matches: Pursuit Pilot, Observation & Attack Pilot, and Observer. It should be noted that one officer won the Observation & Attack Pilot match three years in a row, 1926, 1927 and 1928 but he was only allowed to keep one badge, for 1926.

Two Distinguished Aerial Bomber badges were also awarded each year, one for the pilot of the winning airplane and one to its bombardier; however, an exception was made in 1926 when a bombing match was held for airship pilots.

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1 2/8"
7/16 "
14 K
Pin Back
Cliff Presley Collection
10/2/2010
This version of the badge was made at Rock Island Arsenal, IL.
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1 3/8 "
7/16 "
B,B & B, 14 K, 2nd Lt. Winslow C. Morse, Air Corps, 1932
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Cliff Presley Collection
12/2/2004
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1 2/8"
7/16 "
14 K
Pin Back
Cliff Presley Collection
10/2/2010
This version of the badge was made at Rock Island Arsenal, IL.
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Rolled Gold
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Cliff Presley Collection
10/7/2010
This is a flight instructor wing made by Blackinton
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Cliff Presley Collection
10/7/2010
This is a flight instructor wing
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Pin
John Ferguson Collection
1/5/2011
This badge was made by Irvine & Jachens for flight instructors.
All electronic scans remain the copyright of Bob Schwartz or the specific contributors and cannot be reproduced by either digital, electronic, electrostatic or lithographic or by any other means without expressed permission from the originator of the web site or its contributors.

Aviation Wings and Badges of World War II