Prop and wing collar insignia were worn by officer and enlisted men in the U.S. Army Air Force. Enlisted men’s insignia were either mounted on a solid disk or surrounded by an open circle. This pair of officer insignia is still mounted on its original card.
Joseph J. (JJ) Mike was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on 19 March 1918. He was ordered to active duty in December 1942. Aviation Cadet Mike attended Advanced Flying School at the No. 1 British Flying Training School in Terrell, Texas. He was graduated in October 1943, received his pilot rating, and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant. He was assigned to the Air Transport Command (ATC) Ferrying Division in March 1944 and ferried aircraft to Kunming, China; Karachi, India; and Shanghai, China. In February 1945, he was reassigned to ATC’s India-China Division. As a Hump pilot, JJ flew C-109, C-54, B-25, C-47, and C-49 aircraft in many hazardous missions throughout the China Burma India (CBI) Theater. He was promoted to Captain in January 1946 and was relieved from active duty in February. Captain Mike returned to his home in Wilkes-Barre. Because of his many successful missions as a pilot flying the hazardous Hump route, Lt. Mike was awarded two Air Medals. Following is the citation for his second Air Medal (Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster) awarded in December 1945:
With an accumulation of 502 hours and 15 minutes combat flight time to his credit, 1st Lt Mike, in his capacity as first pilot, accomplished many successful missions over enemy-held territory, where enemy action was probable and expected. Flying by night and by day, over the hazardous mountain terrain that comprise the China Burma India Theatre of operations which is known as the worst flying terrain in the world, and with the unpredictable weather conditions often compelling flight by instrument control, at heights requiring the use of oxygen equipment, Lt Mike’s display of expert ability, keen judgment and high devotion to duty has earned for him the commendation and respect of his superior officers in the Army Air Corps. His conduct in the performance of his duty, has reflected much credit upon himself.