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Location: /Squadron Patches/USN NAVY Squadrons

WWII Patch, USN, VT-31 Woody Woodpecker

WWII Patch, USN, VT-31  Woody Woodpecker

Product Information
WWII US Navy Squadron Patch
USN VT-31
Navy Torpedo Squadron 31
Woody Woodpecker
5.5 inches


Air Group 31 - Fighter Squadron 31 (VF-31) + Torpedo Squadron 31 (VT-31) - served the United States Navy from their creation on May 1, 1943 until the squadrons were dissolved on October 25, 1945. In the time they spend in active combat they served on two light Aircraft Carriers, shot down a total of 165 enemy aircraft, produced 15 aces, sank 26 ships, and damaged 22 other ships totaling over 150,000 tons of enemy shipping. Fighter Squadron 31 was the highest scoring CVL (light carrier) squadron and the 4th highest scoring squadron when including the fleet carriers (CVs which had 3 times the number of pilots in them).  They had the highest kill ratio per pilot of any squadron in the US Navy which is a record that stands today.


VT-31 1st Tour of Duty
Lt. Edward E. Wood - Commanding Officer VT-31 - Navy Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross, 
Lt.  G. Packenham - Distinguished Flying Cross
Lt. (jg) John Russell - Navy Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart

VT-31 December 1944 for 2nd Tour of Duty
Lt. Cmd John R. Bowens II - Commanding Officer VT-31
Lt. Carter L Wilson - Executive Officer VT-31 - Navy Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, Gold Star in Lieu of 2nd Air Medal, Gold Star in Lieu of 3rd Air Medal

see: Quartet Scores Heavily - Naval Aviation News - November 1944 Center column, bottom): VP History Thumbnail

Citation For Award of The Navy Cross
JONES, JAMES, JR.
Citation:  The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to James Jones, Jr., Lieutenant, Junior Grade [then Ensign], U.S. Navy (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Combat Plane in Air Group THIRTY-ONE (AG-31), embarked from the U.S.S. CABOT (CVL-28), during operations against enemy Japanese forces west of the Marianas Islands, on 20 June 1944. Pressing home a daring attack upon a major unit of the Japanese Fleet, Lieutenant Junior Grade Jones skillfully maneuvered his plane at perilously close range in the face of intense anti-aircraft fire and, striking vigorously at the enemy and succeeded in scoring a direct his upon an aircraft carrier. His marked ability, great personal courage, and unswerving devotion to duty at grave personal risk were important factors in the infliction of extensive damage upon the enemy and reflect the highest credit upon Lieutenant, Junior Grade, Jones and the Untied states Naval Service.
Born: October 4, 1922 at Wilson, North Carolina
Home Town: Bailey, North Carolina


Woody Woodpecker is an animated cartoon character, an anthropomorphic acorn woodpecker who appeared in theatrical short films produced by the Walter Lantz animation studio and distributed by Universal Pictures. Though not the first of the screwball characters that became popular in the 1940s, Woody is perhaps the most indicative of the type. Woody was created in 1940 by storyboard artist Ben "Bugs" Hardaway, who had previously laid the groundwork for two other screwball characters, Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, at the Warner Bros. cartoon studio in the late 1930s. Woody's character and design would evolve over the years, from an insane bird with an unusually garish design to a more refined looking and acting character in the vein of the later Chuck Jones version of Bugs Bunny. Woody was originally voiced by prolific voice actor Mel Blanc, who was succeeded by Ben Hardaway and later by Grace Stafford, wife of Walter Lantz.

Lantz produced theatrical cartoons longer than most of his contemporaries, and Woody Woodpecker remained a staple of Universal's release schedule until 1972, when Lantz finally closed down his studio. The character has been revived since then only for special productions and occasions, save for one new Saturday morning cartoon, The New Woody Woodpecker Show, for the Fox Network in the late 1990s/early 2000s.  Woody Woodpecker cartoons were first broadcast on television in 1957 under the title The Woody Woodpecker Show, which featured Lantz cartoons bookended by new footage of Woody and live-action footage of Lantz. Woody has a motion picture star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on 7000 Hollywood Boulevard. He also made a cameo alongside many other famous cartoon characters in the 1988 film Who Framed Roger Rabbit.


Early years: According to Walter Lantz's press agent, the idea for Woody came during the producer's honeymoon  with his wife, Gracie, in Sherwood Lake, California. A noisy woodpecker  outside their cabin kept the couple awake at night, and when a heavy rain started, they learned that the bird had bored holes in their cabin's roof. As both Walter and Gracie told Dallas attorney Rod Phelps during a visit, Walter wanted to shoot the thing, but Gracie suggested that her husband make a cartoon about the bird, and thus Woody was born. The story is questionable, however, since the Lantzes were not married until after Woody made his screen debut. Also, their story that the bird's cry inspired Woody's trademark "Ha-ha-ha-HAA-ha!" is also questionable, as Mel Blanc had already used a similar laugh in earlier Warner Bros. cartoons such as Elmer's Candid Camera.


Woody Woodpecker first appeared in the film Knock Knock on November 25, 1940. The cartoon ostensibly stars Andy Panda and his father, Papa Panda, but it is Woody who steals the show. The woodpecker constantly pesters the two pandas, apparently just for the fun of it. Andy, meanwhile, tries to sprinkle salt on Woody's tail in the belief that this will somehow capture the bird. To Woody's surprise, Andy's attempts prevail, and Woody is taken away to the funny farm — but not before his captors prove to be crazier than he is.


The Woody of Knock Knock was designed by animator Alex Lovy. Woody's original voice actor, Mel Blanc, would stop performing the character after the first four cartoons to work exclusively for Leon Schlesinger Productions (Later renamed Warner Bros. Cartoons) , producer of Warner Bros.' Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies. At Schlesinger's, Blanc had already established the voices of two other famous "screwball" characters who preceded Woody, Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny. Ironically, Blanc's characterization of the Woody Woodpecker laugh had originally been applied to a Bugs Bunny prototype, in shorts such as the aforementioned Elmer's Candid Camera, and was later transferred to Woody. Blanc's regular speaking voice for Woody was much like the early Daffy Duck, minus the lisp. Once Warner Bros. signed Blanc up to an exclusive contract, Woody's voice-over work was taken over by Ben Hardaway, who would voice the woodpecker for the rest of the decade. To complete the connection full circle, Hardaway, who had also worked under Schlesinger at Warner Bros., was the designer of the Bugs Bunny prototype that Blanc supplied the aforementioned laugh for. Haradaway's nickname around Termite Terrace (the ramshackle building where the Looney Tunes were originally produced) was "Bugs," and the bunny prototype's first model sheet was labeled "Bugs' Bunny"--the apostrophe was later dropped.


Audiences reacted well to Knock Knock, and Lantz realized he had finally hit upon a star to replace the waning Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Woody would go on to star in a number of films. With his innate chutzpah and brash demeanor, the character was a natural hit during World War II. His image appeared on US aircraft and mess halls, and audiences on the homefront watched Woody cope with familiar problems such as food shortages. The 1943 Woody cartoon The Dizzy Acrobat was nominated for the 1944 Academy Award for Best Short Subject (Cartoons), which it lost to the MGM Tom and Jerry cartoon The Yankee Doodle Mouse.

Woody Woodpecker and his captive client in The Barber of Seville (1944), directed by Shamus Culhane.

Animator Emery Hawkins and layout artist Art Heinemann streamlined Woody's appearance for the 1944 film The Barber of Seville, directed by Shamus Culhane. The bird became rounder, cuter, and less demented. He also sported a simplified color scheme and a brighter smile, making him much more like his counterparts at Warner Bros. and MGM. Nevertheless, Culhane continued to use Woody as an aggressive lunatic, not a domesticated straight man or defensive homebody, as many other studios' characters had become. The follow-up to The Barber of Seville, The Beach Nut, introduced Woody's chief nemesis Wally Walrus.

The post-war woodpecker
Woody's wild days were numbered, however. In 1946, Lantz hired Disney veteran Dick Lundy to take over the direction chores for Woody's cartoons. Lundy rejected Culhane's take on the series and made Woody more defensive; no longer did the bird go insane without a legitimate reason. Lundy also paid more attention to the animation, making Woody's new films more Disney-esque in their design style, animation, and timing. Lundy's last film for Disney was the Donald Duck short Flying Jalopy. This cartoon is played much like a Woody Woodpecker short, right down to the laugh in the end. It also features a bad guy named "Ben Buzzard" who bears a strong resemblance to Buzz Buzzard, a Lantz character introduced in the 1948 short Wet Blanket Policy who would eventually succeed Wally Walrus as Woody's primary antagonist. From Wikipedia

Price: $195.00 $165.00


Product Code: PatchUSN.031.VT31
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