Original U.S. WWII Army Air Forces USAAF Liaison Pilot Wings by Meyer - Sterling Silver

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very good condition U.S. WWII Army Air Forces "Liaison Pilot" Flight Badge, usually called "Wings". There were a multitude of different manufactures of the various flight badges, and many did not mark the badges made. These however have the maker mark of MEYER on the back of the right wing, with STERLING in the center. The large L on a shield in the middle of the badge indicates that it is for a "Liaison Pilot", which were enlisted pilots, mainly of small single engine "Liaison" aircraft for various uses. These measure approximately 3" x 7/8".

Included were many enlisted aviation students who washed out of pilot training after having soloed and were given the opportunity to become liaison pilots. Flight training consisted of about 60 hours of flying time and stressed such procedures as short field landings and takeoffs over obstacles, low altitude navigation, first aid, day and night reconnaissance, aerial photography, and aircraft maintenance. Unarmored and unarmed—except perhaps for a .45 pistol or .30 carbine—these men in 28 different squadrons flew low and slow with wheels, skis, or floats. They flew varied and often hazardous missions in nearly every theater—medical evacuation from forward areas; delivering munitions, blood plasma, mail, and other supplies to front lines; ferrying personnel; flying photographic or intelligence missions; serving as air observers for fighters or bombers; and other critical yet often unpublicized missions.

During the campaign to recapture the Philippines, pilots of the 25th Liaison Squadron flew a dozen Stinson L-5 Sentinel aircraft in short 30-minute flights (December 10–25, 1944) delivering supplies (including a 300-bed hospital) to the 6,000 men of the 11th Airborne Division isolated in the mountains of Leyte. In another mission, an Army officer wounded in the chest in New Guinea was evacuated in a liaison aircraft as the pilot pumped a portable respirator with one hand while he flew the aircraft with the other. In the northwestern U.S., some liaison pilots flew forest patrols (Project Firefly) watching for fires ignited by incendiary bombs carried across the Pacific beneath unmanned Japanese high altitude balloons.

These wings are in great shape, and still mostly bright, with all the original detail. Ready to display!

Nothing symbolizes a flying person more than his or her pair of wings, whether the wing be constructed from cloth, plastic or metal. A wing identifies a person as a individual trained in airmanship to a specific level of expertise, and is usually awarded to the trainee pilot on successful completion of their exams and first solo flight.

Most individuals awarded a pair of wings cherish them as they represent an accomplishment or milestone in the person's life. It's this human involvement and sense of accomplishment, encapsulating: adventure, excitement and romance that creates a portal into the golden years of aviation, that sparks an interest to collect aviation wings.

Aviator wings are symbolic of a specific job performed by an individual; the style of wing indicating which job. The US Army Airforce (USAAF or AAF) during the Second World War required wings to be produced for several standard aircrew functions: pilot, engineer, air gunner, navigator, bombardier and observer. Sub variants of these wings were also produced to be issued to: glider pilots, balloon pilots, liaison pilots, technical observers, flight nurses and flight surgeons.

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