Door Gunner Wings

Door gunners are entrusted with a crucial job in helicopter and other aircraft operations. Without them, the aircraft is vulnerable to hostile ground fire while taking off, landing, and loading or unloading troops/supplies. Strenuous training must be undergone before one can be official called a door gunner. Life fire training, flight operation knowledge, and an overall understanding of the aircraft and battlefield are a must for those who boldly wear door gunner wings. The US Door Gunner wing badge was created in 1968 during the Vietnam War. It is awarded to door gunners who have completed a certain number of combat missions. The badge consists of a pair of wings with a grenade in between them. The grenade represents the door gunner’s weapon of choice, and the wings represent their ability to fly into combat. The badge is worn on the left breast pocket of the door gunner’s uniform. The US Door Gunner wing badge is a prestigious and highly sought-after badge, as it represents the courage and skill of the door gunner. Of all the duties a servicemember could be entrusted with, manning a door gun was a pretty big deal. Helicopters had been nothing more than glorified experimental aircraft with little to no recorded combat application prior to the Vietnam War. As fate would have it, the jungles and mountains of Vietnam provided the perfect landscape for helicopters to prove their worth. Unfortunately, due to the use of these aircraft to transport troops and equipment, they would often come under attack from enemy forces on the ground. Since most helicopters flew at relatively low altitudes compared to jet engine or turboprop fixed wing aircraft, this meant that it was possibly for the helicopters to be struck by enemy ground fire and even shot down at times. The US Army decided that something had to be done to protect the helicopters…and the door gunner was born. By attaching light or heavy machine guns to the side of the aircraft, gunners could provide covering fire while troops and supplies were loaded or unloaded. This still didn’t prevent a large number of them from being shot down, but it at least gave the aircrew a fighting chance when they were exposed to enemy troops. Door gunners were often the target of hostile fire and, unfortunately, many of them would not survive the harsh environment of Vietnam. Door gunners are still used today but in smaller roles than before due to the advent of modern technology and more advanced weapon systems available to the pilots. The servicemembers granted the privilege of wearing these badges represent some of our finest troops. They’re a hardy bunch, especially the older ones who’ve seen their fair share of combat operations. Those who have earned the right to wear the badge will likely do so with a sense of honor and pride. Grab this beautiful display for the door gunner in your life to show them that we owe them a debt that can never be repaid!  
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