"Pilots, Man Your Planes!"   
                                         WWII U.S. Naval Aviation Collector's Guide                                                                              
Navy C.B.I. Patches
Above:  Aircrew from VPB-118, the "Old Crows", get their morning exercise by turning over the props on their PB4Y-2 Privateer prior to starting the engines.

Below:  Before their "exercise", they began the day with a hardy breakfast of canned beans and Spam. At least there appears to be plenty of coffee, strong and black, a Navy staple. Intermediate flight jackets ward off the morning chill.
Above: To counter the often cool and very wet spring weather on Okinawa, various combinations of clothing and outerwear were adopted. Intermediate flight jackets, summer flight suits, both khaki and HBT shirts and trousers,  two-piece Navy rain suits, a Navy rain slicker, an Army M-1943 field jacket, a wool sweater and even a civilian hunting jacket have been put to use. The intermediate flight jackets have all had a C.B.I. and a squadron patch applied. Their insignia, the "Old Crow" character, was derived from the logo of a popular whiskey of the era, with its top hat and cane replaced by a flight cap and bomb under its wing.

Below:  Close-ups of the patches. The red and black checkered jacket peaks out from under the flight suit of the man at right.
Above and below:  Three variations of the mass-produced, machine-made, fully-embroidered C.B.I. patch. The main difference here is the rendering of the blue ring (representing the moon) in the  Kuomintang Sun of China. To its right is the Star of India. The blue field and red and white stripes form a simplified United States shield.
Above:  Visiting Rear Admiral John Dale Price (seated, left), commander of Fleet Air Wing One, talks with VPB-118's CO, LCDR Arthur F. Farwell, Jr. (seated facing camera) and other squadron pilots in their Operations tent on Okinawa, July 4, 1945.

Below:  After the day's long patrols, its time for the pilots to relax and unwind with some "medicinal spirits" and a few songs. These five photos are part of an official Navy set titled "Life At A Navy Bomber Base, Okinawa".
Above:  An otherwise unremarkable M-422a intermediate flight jacket by Fried, Ostermann Co., contract number NXS-1405-A, but of interest to us because of its original embroidered C.B.I. patch. Due to the heavier thread needed for stitching the C.B.I. to leather, it appears the embroidered patch was preferred, as shown in the vintage photos on this page.

Below:  A beautiful example of an identified Gordon & Ferguson Co. M-422a with a variation of the embroidered C.B.I. patch, in this case with a light blue ring of the moon. The jacket is attributed to VBF-1 pilot, ENS. Bert G. Cox, flying Corsairs as part of Air Group One during their combat cruise from 7/10/45-8/15/45 aboard U.S.S. Bennington. Known as "The Royal Flushers", the squadron insignia is painted on waterproof canvas, of the type used for engine and canopy covers. Photos are courtesy of ebay seller spyder1954. Thank you Bob!
Below:  Identity, location and date are unknown, but this Navy LCDR, wears a tie, so we can guess that he has returned to the States from the POA, sometime in late 1945.

Bottom:  Our background image, uncropped. Unfortunately, this photo is also unidentified, but the Hellcat pilot's C.B.I. patch appears to have a khaki border and may be a hand-embroidered example. His parachute is the very-late-war Navy Quick-Fit Seat (QFS) type. Red or yellow painted rip-cord handles were a common safety feature on Navy chutes.
Below, left:  Previously unidentified, we now know that this is AMM3/c Louis Bresciano, a member of VPB-111, and was taken on Palawan, an island province of the Philippines. With the squadron from May 1944 until October 1945, he held their longevity record. Originally equipped with the PB4Y-1 Liberator, they finished the war flying PB4Y-2 Privateers. The information was uncovered by Greg Pons while researching his latest article "VPB-111 And The Hunt For 'Putt-Putt Maru'", published in the French magazine AERO JOURNAL, issue No. 45, February-March, 2015. http://www.aero-journal.com/abonnement.php Thank you Greg!

Below, right:  Another patrol plane flier, as of yet, unidentified.
Below:  Happy to be back aboard in one piece, an SB2C pilot and his radioman-gunner, congratulate each other upon their return. Flak has removed much of the fabric covering from the plane's rudder, calling on all the pilot's skills to wrestle the heavy Beast down for a safe carrier landing. In addition to his wide grin, the pilot appears to be wearing an embroidered C.B.I. patch, as evidenced by its dark boarder.