U.S. NAVY NAVAL AVIATION OBSERVER BADGE
In May, 1969, the Chief of Naval Operations approved the wear of the Naval Aviation Observer insignia by Flight Meteorologists and any officers who previously had qualified as Naval Flight Officers but were not selected for appropriate billets.
Today, the Naval Aviation Observer breast insignia is authorized for wear by Flight Meteorologists and Special Evaluators. Flight Observer is not a designation or rating, but instead a term applied to Meteorology and Oceanography officers (180X and 646X) and Aerographer’s Mates who have earned NEC 7412 who have been assigned to flight duty as a crewmember performing environmental reconnaissance.
Special Evaluators, on the other hand, are Information Warfare officers from the Navy or Marine Corps assigned to flight duty with either Fleet Air Reconnaissance or Maritime Patrol squadrons, which qualifies them as Naval Aviation Observers. Special Evaluators fly as crewmembers in EP-3 OR P-3 aircraft.
Others who are eligible for the Naval Aviation Observer designation include officers who have been assigned as crewmembers aboard airborne command posts, Limited Duty Officers (632X), CWOs Operations Technicians (732X) assigned to billets where their duties involve flying. Lastly, officers who are non-aeronautically designated but who have been assigned to billets with Duty Involving Flying as a Technical Observer (DIFTECH) may also wear this badge.
To qualify as Naval Aviation Observer, candidates have to qualify by NATOPS (Naval Air Training and Operating Procedures Standardization) standards, indicating they have knowledge of aircraft safety procedures and systems. They also must complete any courses of instruction required by a Type Commander or conforming to a Job Qualification Requirement that are associated with their flying duties. Their assignment to flying duty must last at least six months, and they also must acquire a minimum of 200 hours of mission and/or training flight time that is directly related to their assignment.