Air Force Life

WEDGE CAP

Pilot Officer (P/O) Donald Hollowell shows off the Second World War style of wearing the wedge cap.

The Air Force wears a unique headdress, the wedge cap, simply described in regulations as “worn on the right side of the head, centred front and back, with the front edge of the cap 2.5 centimetres (1 inch) above the right eyebrow”. It was adopted during the First World War, and was based on the Army’s field service cap

. This headdress was dubbed the wedge cap in 1941 and Second World War photos show it being worn at gravity-defying angles. It probably became popular because it was easily stuffed in a pocket when a helmet was donned for flying. With its jaunty appearance, it remains the preferred headdress of airmen and women to this day.

In August 2012, the commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) directed that the wedge, and no other headdress, will be worn on ceremonial occasions.

Wings

Airborne electronic sensor operator (AESOP) wings.

In the beginning, only pilots received wings, the badge that is sewn above the left-hand pocket of the tunic. Navigators and observers received half- wings. Today, navigators, now called air combat systems officers, receive full wings, as do flight engineers, loadmasters, and search and rescue technicians, with the symbol in the centre of the badge signifying the member’s occupation.

Personnel with other jobs in the Air Force wear badges on the right sides of their tunics that designate their occupation.

ZAPPERS

Zappers

Walk into any Air Force mess or office and you’ll find the evidence of “zapping”. Stickers on the walls, on the seats and tables, on file cabinets, and all over the bathroom that trumpet “14 Wing”, “407 Squadron” or just an all-encompassing roundel. These “zappers” are how transient Air Force air and groundcrew, whether passing through Winnipeg or Kabul, leave a bit of unit identification wherever they go.