WW II Navy Helmet Markings?
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