Title: US Naval Flight Surgeon and Astronaut Insignia
Accession #: NHHC 2007-5-120
Size: 0.75 x 1.75"
Location: Headquarters Artifact Collection, Naval History and Heritage Command
The US Naval Flight Surgeon and Astronaut insignia is a combination of the naval flight surgeon insignia and the astronaut badge. The gold insignia is a winged oval disc with an oak leaf and acorn below a star shooting through a halo. This pin was awarded to Captain David M. Brown after qualifying to be an astronaut.
After receiving his doctorate in medicine, Brown joined the US Navy and qualified as a naval flight surgeon. He was later selected for pilot training, becoming the first flight surgeon in ten years to be selected, and finished at the top of his class. In 1996 NASA selected Brown for astronaut training as part of Astronaut Group 16. After two years of training, he was eligible for flight assignment as a mission specialist.
This pin signifies Brown’s unique qualification as both a naval flight surgeon and astronaut. This breast insignia would have been worn on the left breast of all service and dress coats and khaki shirts. It is worth noting that in Brown’s official NASA photograph, the name badge on his flight suit bears the insignia for a Naval Astronaut.
Captain Brown’s first space flight was as a mission specialist on STS-107 aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia. The entire crew of seven perished when Space Shuttle Columbia exploded during re-entry on 1 February 2003. Brown was one of two Navy physicians killed in the explosion. Captain Laurel Blair Salton Clark was also aboard the space shuttle.