This is believed to be the original colors (guidon) ordered for the US 1st Aero Squadron in 1913. The guidon is constructed of heavy orange silk with hand embroidered white silk eagle, crossed signal flags with gold silk staff and white silk number 1. It measures 24 1/2" X 42". The mfg tag located in the staff section of the guidon reads" Ward Stilson Co. MFG of Society Goods, New London, Ohio.
On 4 May 1987 I called Mr. David Klein, Vice President, C.E. Ward Inc. New London, Ohio. He stated that the company was founded in 1895 by Mr. C.E. Ward. In 1905 Mr. Ward formed a partnership with a Mr. Stilson, manufactureing regalia for lodges, military etc. They remained in New London until 1913 at which time the company moved to Anderson, Indiana. Mr. Ward and Stilson broke up in the 1920's. Mr. Klein further stated that any item with the Ward Stilson, New London tag had to be made before or during 1913.
The squadron was created as the 1st Provisional Aero Squadron of the U.S. Army Signal Corps on March 5, 1913, when eight Curtiss JN2 and JN3 airplanes were brought together for the first time as a unit. Under the command of Captain Charles deForest Chandler (Chief of the Aeronautical Division, U.S. Signal Corps) and led in the field by 1st Lt. Thomas DeWitt Milling, the provisional unit was based in Texas City, Texas, to support the United States Army ground forces gathering as a response to a possible war with the revolutionary forces of General Victoriano Huerta in Mexico. The 1st Aero Squadron relocated to North Island, San Diego, California, as a flying training unit on November 28, 1913. Its primary training aircraft were the Wright Flyer III and Burgess Model H.