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I'm watching the complete series collection and I got curious about Roger Healey. No one seems to know the reason Healey is in the Army when there weren't any Army astronauts until 1976, eleven years after the show started its run and six after it ended production. And while Healey wears aviator's wings, he also wears the badges for the Army Corps of Engineers (castles on his lapels) instead of the Aviator's badge, a winged-propeller.

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On 12/11/2018 at 7:32 PM, Tom Sewell said:

I'm watching the complete series collection and I got curious about Roger Healey. No one seems to know the reason Healey is in the Army when there weren't any Army astronauts until 1976, eleven years after the show started its run and six after it ended production. And while Healey wears aviator's wings, he also wears the badges for the Army Corps of Engineers (castles on his lapels) instead of the Aviator's badge, a winged-propeller.

I think the face value answer to the first part is that not all trained astronauts get to fly, there is always a reserve. If I recall correctly, there was a trained army astronauts in the mercury program that did not get to fly. I believe finding the names and services of the ones that didn't get to fly is just much more difficult; on lists, they tend to get overlooked. That said, they have fewer astronauts than the other services, and the United States Army Astronaut Badge is among the rarest US military badges, if not the rarest. Actually, it looks like the Coast Guard has fewer astronauts than the Army (but they use the Navy badge, so it's not rare.)

I seriously would fact check what I'm saying. I looked it up, oh, within the last year or two, but I'm not finding much now, and I'm not sure of the facts.

I'd also be curious if Roger Healey's aviator badge in the show is an astronaut badge. His publicity photo from the show does not show that badge clearly enough to tell.

Tangentially related, this might interest you. It was news to me just now, and I'm wondering why it isn't more widely known.

The second question, the badges; being an aviator is a requirement for becoming an astronaut (but not for becoming a payload specialist). The split off of the Army Air Corps into the Air Force happened in 1947; Roger Healey is a relatively young officer in the show, so he's never been in the Army Air Corps. His aviator badge is from flying an Army air frame. So he most likely either flew a helicopter or a small observation plane.

The Corp of Engineers badge seems incongruous, but not impossible. I'm guessing that if they fleshed out his bio, he had a first tour with the Corp of Engineers, then applied for aviator training and was selected. It is not unusual to change fields within a branch for a career broadening assignment, so that you have a broader overview later and are considered to be more promotable.

His actor, Bill Daily, was actually in the Army. It my have been actor preference why Roger Healey was an Army aviator.

Meta reasons, US films and shows are prohibited from having fully accurate US military uniforms. They have to introduce errors. So, whatever you see, YMMV. Also, without an advisor, (which I don't know they didn't have, but in any event not someone who was intimately familiar with the astronaut program), Hollywood tends to get details wrong.

 

 

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