Military History/Expert Profile

John Vargas

On Vacation
returns 12/30/2016

I can answer both specific and general questions about U.S. Army, and Naval Aviation from 1913 to 1946, and WWII U.S. Airborne, to include key personalities, units, commands, and doctrines. My specialty is U.S. Aviation Badges (all Branches of the Service, from WWI to the Present), U.S. Airborne Badges and Insignia (from WWII to the Present) as well as Aviation Badges Insignia and Issued Flight Gear (flight uniforms, helmets, sunglasses, etc…), Airborne, and Infantry Badges and Insignia (from WWI to the Present), both authorized and unauthorized, of the period. I have access to a vast personal library of text (as well as text from others...such as museums), as well as all the actual original badges, insignia and most of the flight gear that are specific to this period of history.

Experience in the area

I have over 20 year’s experience in collecting and cataloging WWI, and WWI U.S. Army Aviation, WWI, and WWII U.S. Naval Aviation, WWI and WWII U.S. Issue Aviation Flight Gear, and U.S. Airborne Badges, Insignia and Airborne Equipment. I was the former assistant curator at the Gen. Wm. C. Lee Airborne Museum, when I lived in NC. I have written histories of Wing Badges and Aviation Insignia for several manufacturing companies to include The Robbins Company, Bailey Banks and Biddle, and I am working on the histories for several other companies at the moment such as Bausch and Lomb Tiffany, Herff Jones and several others. I am a consultant on regular basis to many museums (including the U.S.A.F., U.S. Army, Private and Public Museums, the Institute of Heraldry as well as the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces), and I am regularly called upon to authenticate U.S. Aviation Badges, Insignia and Flight Gear (all Branches of the Service) for Fine Auctions Houses such as Bonham’s and Butterfields, and Sunglass manufactures such as Including Bausch & Lomb and Luxottica (vintage verification)...and many others.


Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association (VHPA-FL) Historian - I am not a Vietnam Veteran, or a Vietnam Era Helicopter Pilot, I was not old enough to serve in Vietnam, unless the U.S. needed a one-year-old, then I would have Proudly Served.


I am perusing an advanced degree in history (Ph.D.), with a concentration in WWI and WWII U.S. Aviation. I am a U.S. Army Paratrooper and I am a Qualified and Rated Aviator.

Awards and Honors

Kentucky Colonel, National Honor Society, President’s List, Campbell University, Distinguished Honor Graduate, Various “Who's Who”, from 1988 to Present, Numerous Special Recognition Awards, both Military and Civilian.

What do you like about this subject?

The era, the glamour, the danger, and the massive amounts of technical development in such a short period of time.

What do you still hope to achieve/learn in this field?

As much as I possibly can. I have learned that there is still much to learn…

Something interesting about this subject that others may not know:

Prior to WWI and during the early part of WW1, the Army Air Service was part of the Signal Corps Branch of the U.S. Army. They were officially classified as the Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps.

Something controversial or provocative about this subject

Contrary to popular belief, that there were only a handful of American Pilots in WWI, the reality is that the U.S. Army alone trained more than 17,000 Pilots (officially called Aviators) in the U.S. alone, this number does not include the other Aviation Ratings...officially called Aeronautical Ratings, or Pilot's trained in Combat Theater of Operations...prior to the Armistice of 11/11/18.

Average Ratings

Recent Reviews from Users

Read More Comments

    K = Knowledgeability    C = Clarity of Response    P = Politeness
Aline06/22/15101010Thank you again Mr. Vargas!
Aline06/20/15101010I am very impressed with your knowledge! .....
Sally01/20/15101010Thank you John, I am very impressed .....
Mike Semenock01/11/15101010First rate expert! John is incredibly helpful .....

Recent Answers from John Vargas

2015-01-10 US badge silver with 2 stars:

Hello Sally,    Congratulation on your first US Badge, you got a nice one!     This is called a Combat Infantryman's Badge Third Award (CIB Third Award), and only 325 Men in the history of the United States

2015-01-10 L-4 Liaison Planes:

Hello Mike,     Yes, the Liaison Plane in the photos is an L-4 Grasshopper, the militarized version of the J-3 Piper Cub.     Here is more information on the J-3 Piper Cub / L-4 Grasshopper.     http://www

2015-01-10 US badge silver with 2 stars:

Hello Sally,    Congratulation on your first US Badge, you got a nice one!      This is called a Combat Infantryman's Badge Third Award (CIB Third Award), and only 325 Men in the history of the United

2012-09-04 ladder bars, 250, 750, & 2000 hours:

Hello Jon,    These “Hour Bars” were awarded by the Army Air Force to those who were involved with the Aircraft Warning Service (AWS) part of the United States Observer Ground Corps (GOC).      The people

2012-03-07 Unknown Wing:

Hello Kit,    Since I can no see it, I cannot really tell you what it is worth, there are different styles and different makers, and each one has its own price range as some styles and some makes are more


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