Brazilian Air Force - Pilot

Click on the images to see a larger version and the back of the wing/badge
Military aviation began in Brazil with the founding of an army air school in 1914. The army air service was established in 1918. This was supported by a French air mission in 1920. Separate army and navy aviation sub-units continued to evolve slowly. Aviation featured prominently in the communist-led rebellion of 1932 when aviation units on both sides fought each other. In 1941, and with active US support, the army and navy aviation units were combined into one independent service branch, Forca Aerea Brasileira (FAB).

During WWII, Brazil played the most active and signicant role of any country in the southern americas. Due to their extensive coast facing a very active Atlantic theater of operations, the US developed military, trade and political partnerships early to defend allied shipping from the German navy. This included Catalina patrol units that hunted U-boats, famously sinking the U-199.

Brazil sent an expeditionary aviation unit to fight with the Allies in the Italian theater. The 1 Grupo de Aviacao de Caca, consisting of 350 men and 43 pilots, trained and became operational in P-47s, landing in Italy in October 1944. They flew a total of 445 missions and 2,550 individual sorties. Their mascot was an Ostrich with the battle cry "Senta a Pua".

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Tod Rathbone - www.rathbonemuseum.com
8/26/2001
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7/29/2002
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Tod Rathbone Collection
6/16/2020
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Tod Rathbone Collection
6/16/2020
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Tod Rathbone Collection
6/16/2020
Lieut Comdr W. H. Williamson Jr en Set. 15 1944 Hallmark: PRATA Wing awarded to Lt Cdr William Holt Williamson, Jr. Williamson was a prominent Charlotte, NC businessman who loved to fly and was active in the CAP. When war became imminent, he joined the US Navy as a naval aviator on a reserve commission and was posted to Brazil as a liaison with the Brazilian military. He sadly died of a heart attack in Brazil in March 1945.
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Aviation Wings and Badges of the World Wars