609th Fighter Wing Uniforms & Insignia (2)

16.08.2009

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Junior Officer’s Dress Cap

This cap belonged to Ensign Sebastian Fontein of the 266th Fighter Squadron. Fontein was one of the Squadron’s first casualties, being brought down by an Ork Fighta on the first day of counter-invasion operations whilst pressing home an attack run against one of the enemy Roks descending on Armageddon. His sacrifice was not in vain, his final attack severing a number of fuel lines and causing the Rok to fall out of control to its destruction. For his actions Fontein was awarded the Cross of Armageddon (3rd class) and mentioned in Admiral Parol’s dispatches to the High Lords of Terra.

Note the brass Teyrn Dragon emblem of the Squadron in place of the standard Aquila. An unthinkable practice in most of the Imperial Navy such changes are tolerated within the Aviation Branch as part of its unique esprit-de-corps and as a sign of the relative independence of the branch.

Navigator’s Dress Tunic

This dress tunic belonged to Navigator Roboute Gorgo of the 463rd Bomber Flight, 609th Fighter Wing. Gorgo was Navigator aboard Marauder ‘JO-D’ when it went down early in the war due to lack of maintenance as a result of the racketeering of the 609th’s pre-war commander, Silas Wertheimer.

Non-pilot aviators typically hold rank as Warrant Officers, this gives them a status between that of a commissioned officer and a senior non-commissioned officer. Gunners are an exception to this rule and may rank anywhere between Rating and the senior NCO ranks depending on their experience. As such the uniforms and accoutrements of non-pilot aircrew are simpler and plainer than those of the commissioned counterparts.

1. Rank Insignia

The simple insignia of a Second Warrant Officer (2WO), the most junior warrant rank. It consists of a small patch in Navy black bordered in silver with a single silver bar across the patch. Also just visible are the two silver cuff buttons of a Warrant Officer. This compares to three gold buttons for officers, one silver button for NCOs and a plain black plastic button for other ranks.

2. Trouser Stripes

Stripes running down the outside of the trouser legs indicate the wearer’s branch, in this case light blue for Aviation.

3. Navigator’s Wing and Ribbon Bar

Aircrew are identified by the half wing and letter borne on the right breast, in this case a stylised ‘N’ identifies the wearer as a Navigator. A variety of other designations also exist including :

  • B - Bombardier
  • G - Gunner
  • E - Flight Engineer
  • V - Vox Operator
  • C - Cargo Master

Unusually Gorgo’s tunic also bears the green, white and purple ribbon of the Valoris Aeronautica, awarded during the 609th’s actions on Brant shortly before the outbreak of the Third War. Most Imperial decorations go to pilots in the Aviation branch, their position as commissioned officers as well as their role as captain of a bomber crew or, as fighter pilots, ¬†gallant knights of the air mean that the lion’s share of recognition goes to them.

4. Epaulettes and Collar Insignia

Note the simple epaulettes and collar insignia of non-pilot aircrew, compare this to the intricate regalia of their commissioned counterparts.

5. Tunic Pockets, Belt & Material

Unlike the closely fitted, high quality dress tunics worn by officers non-pilot aircrew wear a simple dark blue version of the standard Navy utility tunic. Note the pockets and belt absent from the officers’ version as well as the plain buttons and lower quality cloth of the tunic in general. Unlike officers, who must outfit themselves from their own funds, non-pilot aircrew are issued their dress tunic and most are happy enough to wear the simpler tunic in exchange for more spending money in their rare periods of leave.

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