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Glider Pilot Wings

Glider pilots were a rare breed. They had to undergo similar flight training as regular pilots who were entrusted with powered aircraft, but these guys were towed by other aircraft and then released. Afterwards, they were trusted to safely glide their aircraft to a soft-landing spot so the troops onboard could safely depart and get to work. The brave souls willing to take on this death-defying act were granted these wings. The Glider Pilot Wings badge is a military decoration of the United States Army awarded to those pilots who have completed training in glider flying. The badge was first authorized by the War Department on October 12, 1942. The Glider Pilot Wings badge is considered to be one of the most prestigious and coveted badges in the Army. It is often compared to the Navy’s Aviation Pilot wings and the Air Force’s Pilot wings. To obtain the Glider Pilot Wings badge, a soldier must successfully complete a series of training flights in a glider aircraft. The soldiers must also demonstrate their ability to safely land a glider under various conditions. Upon successful completion of training, the soldier will be awarded the Glider Pilot Wings badge. The badge is worn on the left breast pocket of the uniform. The Glider Pilot Wings badge is a symbol of a soldier’s skill, courage, and dedication to duty. It is an honorable badge that is highly respected by fellow soldiers and the general public. Glider pilots saw action in several areas during WWII, but their biggest operation was most certainly during Operation Overlord. Better known to most of the world as D-Day, the allied invasion of the Normandy, France coastline. Glider pilots were expected to bring troops and equipment in behind enemy lines in conjunction with airborne drops. If things went smoothly, then the Germans holding the coast would’ve been cutoff from supplies and reinforcements, and forced to fight on two fronts. Instead, the airborne units ended up having misdrops so most of them were scattered and the glider pilots had to deal with flooded fields and other tricks set up by the German defenders. Many glider pilots would lose their lives during Operation Overlord. So if you see an older veteran with these wings on his chest, just know that he absolutely earned them! Due to the advent of modern stealth technology, and the ever-increasing cargo capacity of transport aircraft, gliders don’t get the attention and use that they got in WWII and shortly thereafter. However, this does not take away from the fact that glider pilots were some of the bravest servicemembers that out nation has ever produced! Hang this badge high to show your support for someone who earned it. Or, use it to show off the pride you have for being an exceptional member of the rarer group known as glider pilots!
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