Service ring, World War II era, airplane memorabilia, Earhart
This is a rare item from the 1940's. The company did not exist under this name for very long. It is not difficult to find the service pins, but very hard to find the rings. It looks like it is made of nickel with a great logo of a spread wing eagle in flight. This company was formed in 1943 and this ring is a two year service award, so it would have been presented in 1945. Headquarters in San Diego.
The ring is a size 10 on my ring sizer, but it fits more like a 9 or 9.5. The face of the ring is 5/8" north to south. It is in excellent condition.
Jerry Vultee made a significant contribution to the progress of American aviation.
A little history of the man, Gerard "Jerry" Freebairn Vultee (1900–1938)
Jerry Vultee was a native of California and he was one of the first graduates in aeronautical engineering in 1921 at the California Institute of Technology. Starting as a draftsman at the Lougheed Company, now Lockheed, he worked his way up to become chief engineer. It was under his direction that the first low-wing commercial planes with retractable landing gear were built in America.
Vultee was Lockheed's chief engineer and was a primary designer of the Vega model at Lockheed. The Vega was one of the most popular planes of its day; Wiley Post, Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh all flew and adored the aircraft. Jerry Vultee was the chief designer in the development of the Lockheed Orion and the speedy, far-ranging Lockheed Sirius (which Lindbergh used to scout routes for airlines) which brought him some notoriety. Vultee died In 1938, before he could see Vultee become an independent company,
The Vultee Aircraft Corporation became an independent company in 1939 in Los Angeles County, California. It had limited success before merging with the Consolidated Aircraft Corporation in 1943, to form the Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation − or Convair.
Jerry Vultee and his wife Sylvia Parker, the daughter of Twentieth Century Fox movie director Max Parker, died when the plane he was piloting crashed in a snowstorm near Sedona, Arizona. Donald P. Smith, Jerry Vultee's close friend and Vice President of Vultee Aircraft, wrote a letter to TIME magazine about Jerry's death:
''Gerard F. Vultee ("Jerry"), not Gerald, my close friend and business associate for many years, was killed when the cabin monoplane he was flying with Mrs. Vultee crashed on the flat top of Wilson Mountain [TIME, Feb. 7]. ... Caught in a local snow-storm and blizzard with no training in blind or instrument flying, he was unable to find his way out. The fire occurred after the crash, not before."
Jerry had not been a pilot for very long at the time, he and his wife were flying home to their 6 month old son. Their son was raised by the grandparents. The wreckage of the plane is still in place and there is a plaque on the Vultee Arch Trail near Sedona.