The Naval Aviation Observer Badge was first created in 1922, awarded to navigators and other support personnel on naval aircraft. The original badge was based on the design of the Naval Aviator badge, but with a single wing on the left, and with the anchor surmounted by an "O" rather than a shield. In 1927 this insignia was superseded by a new device, identical to the Naval Aviator's wings, but in silver rather than gold.
This in turn was replaced by a gold insignia with a center device of a silver anchor within a silver circle, used from 1929 to 1968.
Naval Aviation Observer/Flight Meteorologist Badge
For a brief period starting in 1945, the Secretary of the Navy approved distinct insignia for Naval Aviation Observers with Navigation, Radar, Tactical, and Aerology specializations. These were abolished in favor of the standardized gold insignia/silver anchor/silver circle design.
In 1966 a new insignia was instituted, and by 1968 the Naval Aviation Observer Badge was replaced by the Naval Flight Officer Badge. The Naval Aviation Observer insignia was then modified and granted to non-pilot/non-NFO aviation mission specialists such as in-flight Meteorologists. In this form the Naval Observer Badge is still in existence, but is rarely referred to by its original name and is more commonly known as the Flight Meteorologist Badge. In the Marine Corps the badge is awarded to in-flight aircraft support personnel under its original name as the Naval Aviation Observer Badge.
The Coast Guard authorized the Aviation Mission Specialist designation on August 26, 2003 in COMDTNOTE 1200 (ALCOAST 401/03). Aerial Ice Observers (from the International Ice Patrol) as well as Sensor System Operators, Tactical Systems Operators, Aviation Gunners and Aviation Medical Technicians are eligible for designation. Coast Guard Aviation Mission Specialist personnel wear the same uniform insignia as Naval Aviation Observers. Permanent designation is attained at 200 hours for rotary wing and 400 hours for fixed wing specialists.
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