During the First World War no real standard wings existed for the US Army Signal Corp Air Service. Many wings were cloth but many jewelers made metal wings during the war at the request of pilots. The real wings were based on Special Regulation #41 issued on 15 August 1917 and were to be made on cloth with embroidery. But right from the beginning Pilots had jewelers make the metal wings because the cloth ones did not hold up to washing uniforms. Because of this many designs existed, no one may ever know all the different wings that were made. Captain Eddie Richenbacker, top American ace with 26 kills wearing a Military Aviator Wing of that era.



Three types of Pilot wings came into being during WWI, Junior or Reserve, Pilot and Military Aviator Pilot.

Who were the enlisted pilots?

Very few of the Pursuit Pilots purchased these wings, the had the regular pilot wings and did not go to the expense of getting one of these, making them extremely rare.

Col Charles DeForest Chandler wearing his balloon wings.

The use of balloon started in the Civil War but they saw real action only in one war. WWI. Over 20,000 men were in the Balloon Corp in WWI and of these 685 became rated pilots or observers. In this section we show some of the Balloon Pilot Wings. The Observers did not differ in the wing design form those assigned to aircraft.

No standard wing existed for a Bombardier so the airmen had some made up and therefore the different deisgns and concepts.The concept was to just throw bombs out of the cocpkit. The actual "job" of bombardier did not come about until the next war.

The original observer wing was first approved on August 15, 1917 and it was the design of the pilot 1/2 wing. On October 27, 1917 the "O" wing was approved and remained the Observer wing until after the war was over.

Soldiers have always given the girl back home a keepsake to remember them by while off to war.