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Gentleman's Military Interest Club
Weixiang Liu

Need help identifying a pair of USAF shoulder boards

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I recently got my hands on a pair of USAF shoulder boards, but the design is really intriguing and I need a bit of help identifying the history behind this pair.

Its a standard USN gold shoulder board, however with the USAF insignia on it. The manufacturer is Hilborn-Hamburger Inc. of Passaic, a major New Jersey military insignia supplier.

Would greatly appreciate if someone could provide some information on it!

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Damn! I think that you have something really special or maybe a prototype? I have never seen anything like it. In fact, the Air Force colors are Silver and Blue. Most of their bullion work is in a silver color. This is really interesting. I look forward to seeing what folks have to say about this set.

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Yea the person whom I bought it from could only tell me that it was made around 1947-49. I'm guessing it was more likely a prototype that was made during the transition to an independent entity from the US Army.

The only thing that I find weird is that the insignia was made on a USN shoulder board. I would have thought that it would make better sense if the prototype was made to resemble the US Army rank insignia.

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The Air Force has waivered back and forth over the use of shoulder boards for their senior enlisted and officers. Also, the Air Force wanted to develop a completely different uniform from that of the Army. Perhaps this was just a rough prototype used for brain storming during the uniform development phase? Either way, still a really cool and unique set of insignia. Most likely, one of a kind.

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It looks similar to this "badge " that was worn on Dress uniforms,

image004.jpg

Figure 1: usafflagrank.com

The gold USAF button authorized for use on the

Air Force Formal Evening Dress uniform. The gold button

was no longer used on Formal Evening Dress after 1959.

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