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WWII Patch, CAP Minnesota Wing Civil Air Patrol SQ Gremlin Sprite

WWII Patch, CAP Minnesota Wing Civil Air Patrol SQ  Gremlin Sprite

Product Information
WWII US AAF / CAP Squadron Patch
USAAF / Civil Air Patrol
MN Squadron
US CAP Minnesota Wing
Cadet SQ.
Walt Disney Design - Gremlin Sprite
4.5 inches

The St Cloud Daily Times - March 31, 1943Origin of the Gremlin...
In 1942, America's commitment to the war across the Pacific was total, and everyone back home in the states was expected to make sacrifices and do their part. Members of the fledgling Civil Air Patrol were beginning to find themselves in a major role of homeland support of America's war efforts. Meanwhile over in Europe, a young British aviator in the Royal Air Force began writing down stories being told by his fellow pilots. One of the stories that Flight Lieutenant Roald Dahl was writing, was about Gremlins - small, mischievous, fanciful creatures that RAF pilots swore would cause havoc on their warplanes, bringing about all kinds of problems for them and the Allied Forces in the sky. The story recounted the adventures of a wounded fighter pilot who befriends a Gremlin named Gus, and convinces him to recruit his fellow gremlins to join the RAF in their fight against the Axis powers. 
Minnesota Wing adopts an orphan... The St Cloud Daily Times - March 31, 1943

In a major show of patriotism, Walt Disney Productions had been creating hundreds of emblems for the American military during World War II. Shortly after Civil Air Patrol came under control and direction of the Army Air Forces, Minnesota Wing submitted a request to Disney for permission to use one of their Gremlins in an emblem. It was announced in March 1943 that the folks at the Disney studios had agreed to get behind Minnesota Wing's request and design an emblem featuring a Gremlin.  Walt Disney himself assigned the job of creating military insignia to Hank Porter, staff artist of the Disney Publicity Art Department. In return, he was responsible for creating many of Civil Air Patrol's WWII-era emblems. When Hank Porter became overcome with insignia design requests, he called on fellow artists George Goepper, Van Kauffman, Ed Parks, Roy Williams, and Bill Justice to assist him. Although not confirmed, it is probable that Bill Justice designed Minnesota Wing's shoulder patch.  Also during this time, the Women Airforce Service Pilots asked permission to use another image from the project as their official mascot. Disney granted the WASPs the rights to a female Gremlin, named Fifinella. As soon as 1944, members in the wing had already started making their own unofficial Gremlin patches and wearing them on the right shoulder of their flight suits, the national patch still being worn on the left. Some hand-painted leather or canvas flight jacket patches were also very likely to have been made. <Link to Minn. CAP website with details>

During World War II, CAP was seen as a way to use America's civilian aviation resources to aid the war effort instead of grounding them. The organization assumed many missions including anti-submarine patrol and warfare, border patrols, and courier services. CAP pilots sighted 173 enemy U-boats and sank two, dropping a total of 83 bombs and depth charges throughout the conflict.  An organization of volunteer civilian pilots and support personnel, the Civil Air Patrol (often called the CAP) was formed just days before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. In the aftermath of the attack, the federal government prohibited all civilian flights except airline flights. Some of the first planes allowed back into the sky a few days later were those of the CAP. In a short time, the CAP was helping fight the enemy that lurked just off America’s shores. President Roosevelt founded the Civil Air Patrol by executive order on December 1, 1941. It was placed under the authority of the director of the Office of Civilian Defense and the CAP was organized into wings, with one wing per state. Though composed primarily of civilian volunteers, the CAP was an auxiliary of the Army Air Corps and was organized along military lines. The volunteers wore uniforms identical to army uniforms, except that their epaulettes and shoulder braid were red. While CAP is sponsored by the USAF, it is not an operating reserve component under the Air Force or the federal government. Since CAP is not a reserve component of a uniformed service of the military and its membership is made up of volunteer civilians, CAP members are not subject to the laws governed by the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Ranks up to Lieutenant Colonel  reflect progression in training and organizational seniority, rather than command authority. Because of this, it is not uncommon for senior members commanding groups and squadrons to have members of superior grades serving under them. Current, retired and former members of the United States Armed Forces  may be promoted directly to the CAP grade equivalent to their military grade, although some choose to follow the same standards as non-prior-service members. Except for a few exceptional cases, senior members are only promoted to the grade of CAP Colonel upon appointment as Wing Commander, responsible for the administration of CAP units across an entire state.  Although CAP retains the title "United States Air Force Auxiliary", 10 U.S.C. § 9442  clarifies that this Auxiliary status is only applicable when CAP members and resources are on an Air Force-assigned mission with an Air Force-assigned mission number. When CAP resources are engaged in an Air Force mission they are reimbursed by the Air Force for communications expenses, fuel and oil, and a share of aircraft maintenance expenses. In addition, CAP members are covered by the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA) in the event of injury while participating in the mission.  At all other times, such as when aiding civilian authorities, the CAP remains and acts as a private, non-profit corporation. 

WWII History
Early in WWII as shipping losses increased, the government sanctioned the CAP to patrol the coast for a 90-day trial period. The oil companies chipped in $25,000 toward the effort, and the CAP established three coastal bases: Base 1 in Atlantic City, New Jersey; Base 2 in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware; and Base 3 in Lantana, Florida. The trial succeeded, and 18 additional bases were established along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. The bases were so effective that the trial was concluded early and 21 Coastal Patrol bases were set up “From Maine to Mexico.”   Each plane had two people on board, a pilot and an observer (who was also usually a pilot). The observer handled the radio, and both men searched for submarines. For added safety, two planes flew on each mission. Despite all the steps taken to ensure safety, coastal patrol missions were hazardous. During the 18 months the CAP flew coast missions, it lost 90 planes in the sea. Most of the crew members were rescued, but 26 men died from drowning or exposure.  The airplane is the natural enemy of the submarine (a stealthy vehicle to surface ships) because a sub can be seen at shallow depths from above. The mere presence of an aircraft (or CAP’s unarmed dives at attacking subs) was enough to cause U-boats to cut and run. Besides hunting for submarines, another key mission was to report sinkings and help coordinate rescue of survivors. CAP’s mission here was so critical that some tanker crewman refused to go back to sea until receiving assurances that CAP would be there to help in case of attack. Single engine planes were flown up to 50 miles off-shore. The multi-engine amphibians flew up to 200 miles at sea. Engine failures were common back then. Some 90 CAP aircraft were ditched. Among some 59 CAP pilots killed in WWII, 26 were lost at sea. Each base had a rescue amphibian to recover lucky pilots. A CAP rescue of one of its downed fliers earned the first Air Medals of WWII presented personally by the President.  CAP takes pride that the first to receive air medals personally from the President in WWII were not Army fliers, not Navy fliers, but CAP pilots.  In Florida, a Nazi sub foundered for 45 minutes on a sand bar near Jupiter Inlet while helpless CAP planes circled overhead. The sub got away, and a frustrated AAF General Hap Arnold issued the order to arm CAP. Low-horsepower single-engine aircraft carried a 100-pound bomb, while larger aircraft carried a 325-pound depth charge. While USAAF supplied bomb shackles and training, CAP pilots devised their own homemade bombsights. The CAP is officially credited with sinking or damaging two of the German submarines it attacked. When the coastal patrol mission ended in the summer of 1943, CAP pilots flew other missions, including towing targets for aerial gunnery practice, border patrol, and search-and-rescue operations.  CAP planes flew as targets for trainee anti-aircraft gunners and searchlight operators. Towing a target sleeve behind them for gunners to shoot at, CAP pilots flew 20,593 towing and tracking missions totaling 46,725 boring (but sometimes terrifying) flight hours. CAP flew more than 3.5 million pounds of urgent cargo, mail and spare parts to air bases and defense plants during WWII. CAP got into the civil defense business guarding airports, flying the coasts and borders looking for infiltrators (there were some!) and patrolling power lines, forests and other strategic assets. Infiltration of spies and saboteurs was a constant worry. Subs had landed saboteurs on Long Island and Jacksonville, Florida, beaches. Because of German overtures to Mexico, CAP’s Southern Border Patrol watched over the Southwest. Called on to locate missing training or ferry flights in the U.S., WWII CAP began the search and rescue operations that are its hallmark today. Nevada CAP even organized a cavalry of mounted desert/ mountain rescue personnel, using 24 mounts from the quickly obsolete U.S. Cavalry at Ft. Riley, Kansas. One-third of the 1,600 civilian airports kept open during WWII were only maintained because of CAP operations or CAP security. CAP itself operated 215 airports, improved 108 and built 81 from scratch. CAP flew 24 million over-water miles, spotted 173 subs, attacked 57, damaged 17 and sank one, possibly two. CAP also located the survivors of 363 ships, reported 91 vessels in distress and found 17 floating mines.  Altogether, CAP personnel spent $1,000,000 of their own money to fight WWII on the home front.  By war’s end, women constituted 20% of the Civil Air Patrol. Half of Army Air Forces WASPS (Women Air Force Service Pilots) had previously been CAP fliers.

Every Coastal Patrol base had a rescue amphibian like this
Sikorsky, since unreliable early engines often failed far from shore –
initiating their crews into CAP’s “Duck Club” of ditching veterans.
Anything and everything was drafted into WWII CAP service

Price: $75.00

Product Code: PatchX.CAP.MinnesotaCivilAirPatrolSQ
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