Coast Guard Flight Officer Badge
A Naval Aviation Observer insignia for Coast Guard personnel was first created in 1920 as a means of recognizing Coast Guard co-pilots and aircraft in-flight support personnel. The badge was the equivalent of the Naval Aviation Observer insignia for USN and USMC personnel. During the Second World War, issuance of the Coast Guard Aviation Observer insignia reached its peak, and the decoration was awarded throughout the Korean War. In the late 1960s, the Coast Guard Aviation Observer insignia began to be phased out due to a change in the structure of aviation training and the elimination of the title of Coast Guard Aviation Observers from approved aviation billets.
In the mid-1980s, the Coast Guard Flight Officer insignia was briefly reinstated in the Coast Guard when the service took temporary custody of two E-2C Hawkeye aircraft from the U.S. Navy. This was part of an initiative to stand up a larger complement of Coast Guard E-2C aircraft, primarily in the counternarcotics and drug interdiction roles, augmented by Coast Guard HC-130s that would also be equipped with similar radar systems. The Coast Guard Flight Officer insignia is similar to the Naval Flight Officer insignia, minus the crossed sea anchors. The service recruited E-2C NFOs from the Navy, recommisioning them in the Coast Guard, as well as selecting a number of serving Coast Guard officers for NFO training.
A fatal Coast Guard E-2C aircraft mishap in the early 1990s spelled the end of the Coast Guard E-2C and enhanced HC-130 programs and the service transferred the remaining E-2C aircraft back to the Navy.
The Coast Guard Flight Officer Badge became obsolete in 1991, although it is still authorized for wear on Coast Guard uniforms.
- U.S. Coast Guard Air Station, St. Augustine, Florida (Disestablished), former home of the USCG's E-2C program
- U.S. Coast Guard COMDTINST M1020.6G[permanent dead link]