United States Navy Aviator Insignia
Criteria: The Naval Aviator Insignia is a warfare qualification of the United States military that is awarded to those aviators of the United States Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard who have qualified as Naval Aviators. The Naval Aviator insignia is identical for all three branches. Naval Aviation Pilots were awarded the Naval Aviation Pilot badge which, while considered a separate award, was identical in design to the Naval Aviator badge. The all-gold badge was designed by John H. Towers c. 1917, and consists of a single fouled anchor, surmounted by a shield with 13 stripes, centered on a pair of wings.
To qualify for the Naval Aviator insignia, a service member must have completed flight training and be designated a qualified pilot of a military aircraft. Traditionally, Student Naval Aviators are awarded "soft wings" immediately after the completion of their final training flight. These soft wings are typically gold-leaf impressions on leather patches that Velcro to the flight suit. The official Naval Aviator insignia are later awarded at a "winging" ceremony.