Story by Anne Owens and LT Michelle Tucker on 05/31/2019The day a Navy or Marine Corps aviator receives their Wings of Gold is a day they will never forget. It's the culmination of months of rigorous training. From their very first solo flight, to water survival training, and all the way through advanced training those wings are truly earned.
A single fouled anchor, surmounted by a shield with 13 stripes, centered on a pair of wings. Those distinctive Wings of Gold represent proficiency and professionalism. They personify Naval Aviation, and that's why they, along with various other symbols, are protected by the Naval Aviation Trademark Program (NATP).
The NATP was established in 2011. It seeks to protect and control the use of Naval Aviation's unique marks including naval aviator insignia, naval flight officer insignia, naval aircrewman insignia, squadron logos, the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron "Blue Angels" crest and script, and even the iconic blue-and-gold paint scheme of the Blue Angels jets.
"It's important to note the trademark and licensing program covers all squadrons across the fleet," said Joel Bouv, associate counsel for Chief of Naval Air Training and program coordinator for the NATP. "This includes the Navy Fighter Weapons School in Fallon, Nevada, commonly known as "TOPGUN," and even the star and stripes that appear on every aircraft in the Navy's inventory, known as the U.S. military aircraft national insignia."
The NATP allows commercial vendors to apply for an official license to sell merchandise or products that feature Navy trademarks. Through the licensing process, the NATP ensures that the proposed use is consistent with Navy values, upholds quality workmanship, and ensures compliance with U.S. Department of Labor requirements. Funds generated from royalty collection help pay for the operation of the Navy's program, as well as supplementing the Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) program to support Sailors and Marines, and their families.
"The majority of our licensees have stated having official licensing has increased the legitimacy of their products, which has led to increased sales" Bouv said. "The licenses help safeguard that officially licensed products with our marks represent the Navy in an appropriate way."
Product lines that feature Navy trademarks run the gamut from apparel and books to chocolate and coffee. In 2016, a video game called "Ready, Break!" was released under the program. The game gives players firsthand experience flying a virtual Blue Angels jet. Last year, the NATP issued its first food licenses to DeLuna Coffee International and The San Francisco Chocolate Factory. In fact, these were the first licenses of their kind to be issued for the Navy Trademark and Licensing Program. In addition, Revell, a model airplane company, also released products featuring Navy trademarks in conjunction with the premier of the movie "Welcome to Marwen" starring Steve Carell. Other licenses include toys, jewelry, watches, glassware, luggage, and even Blue Angels cologne.
In all, program managers have issued more than 300 licenses, of which more than 100 are specific to Naval Aviation. The program's reach extends beyond merchandising it serves as a recruiting tool for those considering a career in the Naval Aviation community, both active duty and Navy Reserve. In 2011, the Indianapolis 500 Motor Speedway race celebrated the Centennial of Naval Aviation (CoNA), prominently placing the CoNA logo on its race cars, reaching a massive audience and bringing Naval Aviation to the heart of America. During the 2017 Army-Navy football game, players from the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, donned helmets that featured the Blue Angels' signature delta formation, in addition to uniforms and footwear with the Blue Angels crest. That same year, St. Louis Blues' goalie Jake Allen paid homage to the Blue Angels with a custom-painted mask featuring their iconic blue and yellow Hornets. He wore it during a game against the Arizona Coyotes, which received NHL Network and ESPN coverage. This year the State of Florida is set to offer a license plate that honors the Blue Angels in their home state.
CNATRA, headquartered in Corpus Christi, trains the world's finest combat quality aviation professionals, delivering them at the right time, in the right numbers, and at the right cost to a naval force where it matters, when it matters.