The use of Air Balloons (Dirigibles, etc.) was a common device in many World Armies prior to and including World War I. The flying and crewing of such by The Military spawned various ''Flight Schools'' and as such – Qualifications Badges awards to those who graduated from such. In The US Military The Us Balloon Pilot Badge was issued to those who attended such.
They were also known as ''Aeronaut Badges'' and were first issued around 1918. Such Military Balloons (while have limited defensive capabilities), were used primarily for Observation deployment. The badges were issued to The US Army Air Service (and also to the later, US Army Air Corps.).
The Badge was continued with issue (now to include The US Navy) into World War II. There were (3) variations to The Badge. In it's final form, The Balloon Badge was a pair of Silver Wings with a 19th Century Balloon and Platform. Subsequent versions to denote different levels of ''Mastery'' were denoted by the use of a Single Silver Star (perched above The Balloon Device itself). They were worn on the left side of a Qualifiers Dress Uniform.
With Aircraft advancements, the need for Observational Balloons and their Crews quickly ceased (although The Navy still used Weather Balloon Platforms well into the 1960s). As a separate Branch, The Army discontinued their issue in the late 1940s – with The Air Force following suit in the 1950s. However, a version is still issue to The US Civil Air Patrol.