WWI US Pilots Wing Badge Sterling w Gold Plate
When the first US Pilots arrived in England in WWI many had 1/2 wing Badges on their uniform. In the US a pilot in the Army Reserves wore a 1/2 wing. In Europe a non-pilot, such as a crew member wore a 1/2 wing. So the Brits made fun of the American’s, of course. he wing was period modified by cutting away everything but the shield and the wings (see Aviation Badges and Insignia of the United States Army 1913-1946, J. Duncan Campbell, 1991, page 97). In June of 1917 the War Department sent a group of officers, lead by Major Raynal C. Bolling, to gather intelligence on the aeronautical situation in Europe. The Junior Military Aviators of the group found themselves at a disadvantage in England and France, because the wing badge they wore had only one wing, which their European counterparts understood as "observer" not "aviator". This meant that US JMA`s were ignored by European aviators of the same rank. Their solution to this embarrassing dilemma was to, with proper American ingenuity, cut-down their cap insignia to create a "double" wing, which "immediately settled the delicate matter of rank" This is a museum quality sterling reproduction of that wing using a WWI hat badge design.