Posted by: SJS | May 7, 2011

Disney’s Mosquito

Perhaps the most famous emblem of the Navy’s PT boats was that of a mosquito ferrying a torpedo over the waves.  An excellent article in the newsletter All Hands of PT Boats, Inc. by Don Shannon states that in 1942, Lieutenant E. S. Caldwell of Naval Operations wrote to Walt Disney to ask if he could create an insignia for the new fleet of PT boats.  The request was granted within a few days and Caldwell received a colorful depiction of a mosquito carrying a torpedo in the open sea.

Pt mosquito emblem

The famous Disney PT mosquito

The mosquito became the first of many new insignia created by the artists at Disney.  Soon, there were Disney-designed emblems on tanks and aircraft.  A special five-man crew of artists was formed by the Disney Studio just to meet the demand for the new military insignia. 

The cartoon character was both comical and heavy with symbolism.  The PTs were fragile, small, vulnerable boats which carried lethal power.  With the speed and maneuverability of their boats, the PT crews were comfortable with “David and Goliath” confrontations.   Like mosquitos, they welcomed the chance to be persistent, distracting pests.  The symbol of the brazen mosquito fit them well.  They embraced it with pride and good humor.

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