Pilot wings were described by the War Department as “The shield of the United States of America without stars in the shield at the center of the wings”.
Senior Pilot Wings
The Senior Pilot wings look the same as the Pilot wings but with a star over the shield. These wings were given to pilots who had given five years of service and at least 1,500 hours in flight
Women’s Air Service Pilot Wings
Also known as WASPs, the Women’s Air Service Pilot wings were issued to women who served as pilots in non-combat missions. Things wings have a small diamond shaped center and are considered to be highly rare.
Glider Pilot Wings
While being a pilot in WWII was a dangerous job, being a glider pilot was often considered even more so as the Glider Pilot flew unarmed aircraft of supplies and troops behind enemy lines. These wings are rare as there were only 6,000 glider pilots during the war and consist of “the letter G in clear relief against a horizontally lined background on the outline of the shield of the United States”.
Liaison Pilot Wings
The Liaison pilot acted as an observer and assisted in delivering medical aid, aircraft, and weaponry. This badge has an "L" in the center of the shield and the person who bore it often flew smaller aircraft such as Piper Cubs.
Air Crew Wings
This is a very common badge from the WWII era. It was issued after fifteen combat flight hours to those in a great variety of positions including aerial gunners, crew chiefs, radio operators and others who were a part of an aircraft’s flight crew. This badge consists of “the coat of arms of the United States in clear relief against horizontally lined back-ground on a disk with a raised rim”.
There are a great many more wings including Flight Surgeon wings, Aerial Gunner wings, and Air Transport Command wings, just to name a few. As a result of the many companies that manufactured wings during the war, there are slight variations in each: shield sizes will vary, as does the amount of detail on the feather of the wings.
Do you have any WWII era wings that need identifying? Post a comment below and I’ll do my best to determine what you have.