WW II Navy Hel­met Mark­ings?

Flight Journal - - EDITORIAL - Philippe Pi­nard

Con­grat­u­la­tions on your mag­a­zine, which I’ve been read­ing for many years. I’m a jour­nal­ist and am cur­rently writing a story about the war in the Pa­cific, es­pe­cially on the USS Lex­ing­ton and the VF-16 (from June 1944 in the Mar­i­ana Is­lands). I have a few ques­tions for which I have not found an an­swer in my read­ing on the sub­ject (for ex­am­ple, in mem­oirs of pi­lots like McCamp­bell).

When a U.S. Navy (USN) pi­lot be­came an ace with his five vic­to­ries, did the USN cel­e­brate the event (as the French Navy does), and how? I no­ticed on some pic­tures (taken in 1943) that Navy pi­lots were wear­ing patches on their hel­met, such as a black four-leaf clover or a red stripe (as well as red head­phones). Were these patches a sign of the squadron/group or only of the lead­ers, or were they per­sonal patches? And were there any other such patches in the Navy? The USN had no of­fi­cial ace des­ig­na­tion and I’ve never heard of it be­ing pub­li­cized (as in “En­sign Torquel­son got his fifth kill yes­ter­day.”). I don’t know about hel­met mark­ings but maybe there were some for divi­sion lead­ers?—Bar­rett Till­man

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