EXCEEDINGLY RARE US M1915 GOLD AND SILVER MILITARY AVIATOR BADGE
This Military Aviator Badge of the WWI era is of a pattern made by the Rock Island Arsenal in 1915 and has a 14-karat gold bar at the top that reads “MILITARY AVIATOR”. Suspended from the bar is a silver in-flight eagle grasping 2 Signal Corps flags. The left flag has a gold-plated center surrounded by silver, and the right flag has a silver center surrounded by gold plating. The reverse has a T-bar pin with an interesting wire cage-type clasp designed by Rock Island Arsenal.
The Military Aviator Badge of the WWI era was originally issued to 24 officers of the fledgling Army Air Corps. According to world-renowned expert, the late J. Duncan Campbell, author of the book “Aviation Badges and Insignia of the United States Army 1913-1946”, this badge is a 1915 variation produced by Rock Island Arsenal with revisions made to the original design, likely for ease of manufacturing. The original 1913 variation is made with inlaid silver sections on the Signal Corps flags. The 1915 variation utilizes gold plating on a silver eagle.
The badge was produced as a pattern, making it difficult to establish the exact number originally made. However, it must be considered as rare, if not rarer, than the 1913 variation. Early “MILITARY AVIATOR” badges seldom come to market, and the 1915 variation should be considered the rarest of the rare. This may be a once in a lifetime opportunity to add an unparalleled piece of aviation history to your collection.
SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS: included with this badge is a copy of the original work order from Rock Island Arsenal, dated Nov. 16, 1915, authorizing the production of this badge with revisions. There is even a sketch at the top of the unique clasp design for this badge by Rock Island Arsenal.