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WW1 American Pilot Tunic

Article about: Hi Gents, I found a WW1 US tunic that seems to have been a pilots. There is a propellor on the left hand side collar disc and what seems to be a bullion patch with a propellor on one of the

  1. #1
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    Default WW1 American Pilot Tunic

    Hi Gents,
    I found a WW1 US tunic that seems to have been a pilots. There is a propellor on the left hand side collar disc and what seems to be a bullion patch with a propellor on one of the shoulders. I almost snatched it up, and now it's haunting me. Based on this vague description can anyone tell me if it was indeed worn by a pilot in WW1? Would the propellor insignia have meant anything else? I should be able to try and get pics later this week, but can anyone say anything based on this?
    Thanks,
    Eddie
    Here are some pics of similar tunics:
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  2. #2

    Default Re: WW1 American Pilot Tunic

    If the tunic is the same as this, as an enlisted man he wouldn't have been a pilot.

    I cannot help on the insignia sorry.

    See the aviation forum as there are many pics of WW1 US pilots items.

    Cheers, Ade.
    Had good advice? Saved money? Why not become a Gold Club Member, just hit the green "Join WRF Club" tab at the top of the page and help support the forum!

  3. #3

    Default Re: WW1 American Pilot Tunic

    US WWI 84th Aero Squadron enlisted man's tunic. No sign that it ever carried Pilot's insignia or badge. William

    And, yes, there were, indeed enlisted pilots in the US WWI military, but, unfortunately, this tunic is not, apparently, from a Pilot.
    William

    "Much that once was, is lost. For none now live who remember it."

  4. #4
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    Default Re: WW1 American Pilot Tunic

    Thanks fellas, as always, you guys point me in the right direction! What would a man in an Aero squadron do if not fly airplanes? Mechanic? Here are some photos of the tunic in question.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  5. #5
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    Default Re: WW1 American Pilot Tunic

    Doomtown great jacket how much are they asking for it? Gary

  6. #6

    Default Re: WW1 American Pilot Tunic

    By the end of the war the US Air Service included 185 aero squadrons, of which 45 were deployed to the front in France and 39 actually saw combat. The 84th was never activated.(sent to Europe for combat). As for what position the owner of this tunic could have held, it is impossible to say. Anything from a cook,mechanic,gunner, who knows? They couldn't All be aviators, of course. It could have been anything! It's still an excellent tunic with great insignia. William

    What is the second tunic you picture? The one from the 419th?
    William

    "Much that once was, is lost. For none now live who remember it."

  7. #7

    Default Re: WW1 American Pilot Tunic

    One duty that Aviation units did was to guard the spruce forests in the US, as spruce was what the airframes were made of. Many were issued Winchester M1894 rifles, and they turn up from time to time with unit marks.
    Best
    Gsu

  8. #8
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    Default Re: WW1 American Pilot Tunic

    Gary: They're asking $120 for it. Eh?
    William: Oh, the second tunic( the 419th) is the one that I was thinking of buying, had a chance to snap some pics yesterday. Yeah, it's a pretty one, a bit of mothing, but still very nice.
    Gsu: Huh, that's really interesting, I've never heard of that!

  9. #9

    Default Re: WW1 American Pilot Tunic

    The 419th Aero Squadron was never activated either, but it's still a dead-on original WWI Aero Squadron tunic with excellent insignia. For 120 bucks? Offer him a hundred bucks even(point heavily at the mothing damage)-if he says nope-Grab it anyway! Hey...it's almost a 100 years old! William
    William

    "Much that once was, is lost. For none now live who remember it."

  10. #10

    Default Re: WW1 American Pilot Tunic

    Quote by Wagriff View Post
    The 84th was never activated.(sent to Europe for combat).
    You need to be careful about terminology and words of art. Activated does not mean sent to Europe. Some units exist on paper only and they are never "activated", whereas a unit that has been activated is one that has been designated as a standing military formation with men and equipment assigned for that purpose. Most of the US Army units that were activated did not go overseas. If the 84th and 419th were never activated, that would mean no men would have been assigned, meaning the tunics pictured in this thread would be built up fakes.

    Having said that, though, activation and deactivation can be confusing. While activation normally indicates a unit did actually exist with men assigned to it, there are some occassions in which that existence is extremely shortlived and is largely on paper. Units can be activated, men assigned and enroute to it, and the unit then deactivated and the men re-routed to other units before they even arrived at the now deactivated unit. For instance, during WW2 the 101st Airborne was "activated" in 1942 at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana. It was assigned men and equipment and began training for combat. It was an activated unit even though it did not go to Europe for more than another year. It was then "deactivated" in 1945 in place in Germany and its men and officers were all reassigned to other commands. It was then reactivated in 1948, deactivated, reactivated again in 1950, again deactivated, and then reactivated again in 1954, ever since which time it has been a standing unit. My father was with the 11th Airborne in 1950 when he was re-assigned to assist in the reactivation of the 101st. He was assigned to an infantry training unit alongside other 11th AB officers and NCO's and they referred to their unit, at the time, as the 101 AB, even though formal histories show no such designation yet existed. The goal, as my father explains it, was to create a new 101 AB around the selected former 11th AB officers and NCO's (the cadre) by using the structure and personnel of the training unit. In 1954, however, following the conclusion of the Korean War, the Army had apparently decided it did not need three standing AB divisions (82nd, 11th, and 101st), so they closed down the training unit and, rather than creating a new 101 AB out of that unit, they simply "deactivated" the 11th AB and simultaneously renamed it and reactivated it as the 101 AB. Why didn't they just stick with the 11th and cancel the reactivation of the 101st? Who knows?

    Of course, the term activated is also used to refer to when a National Guard or Reserve unit is brought to active duty. In that instance, the unit is technically deactivated as a guard or reserve unit and simultaneously reactivated as an active duty unit, but that is a whole different issue.

    The gist is, though, that by saying the 84th or 419th were never "activated", what you are saying is that they were never created and that the uniforms are fake. That really is not what you meant and that is clear from the context of your comments. At the same time, readers need to understand that some words have definite meanings that can have significant implications.

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