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Original U.S. WWII Named Glider Pilot Photo Album and Insignia Grouping

Item Description

Original Items: One-of-a-kind. Ellis Keever was a Glider Pilot assigned to the 435th Troop Carrier Group during World War Two. The 435th Troop Carrier Group (USAAF) took part in the D-Day landings, the invasion of the south of France, Operation Market Garden and the crossing of the Rhine. Keever received a purple Heart Medal for wounds received in action which can be verified on the The National World War II Glider Pilots Association website at this link. https://www.ww2gp.org/bio-file/PH.php

Included in this group are the following items:

- Incredible photo album with over 100 original photos held in by original corner stays, the photos are the most comprehensive Glider troop photos we've ever seen. The are dozens of gliders and other aircraft but not only on the airfield of England but in occupied Europe, post combat photos with fallen German soldiers, American soldiers at rest and posting for the camera in full combat gear, vehicles, locations, civilians, and so much more a true slice of life of a combat glider pilot during WW2!

- Sterling Silver 3" Glider Pilot wings with pin back by AMCRAFT of Attleboro Mass.

- Sterling Silver 1 1/2" Glider Pilot wings with pin back by Coro.

- Sterling with Enamel AAF Troop Carrier Distinctive Unit Insignia Pin Set one marked Le Velle & Co. Washington D.C. the other marked only Sterling.

- Airborne Troop Carrier embroidered uniform patch.

The 435th Troop Carrier Group (USAAF) took part in the D-Day landings, the invasion of the south of France, Operation Market Garden and the crossing of the Rhine.

The group was activated in the US on 25 February 1943. The 435th Troop Carrier Group was amongst the second group of units attached to the newly formed Ninth Air Force late in 1943, becoming the third transport group to join the Ninth.

On D-Day the group dropped troops from the 101st Airborne Division near Cherbourg. Later in the day and on 7 July it towed gliders to the same area to bring reinforcements to the paratroops. The group was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for its role in Normandy.

After the invasion the group operated as a transport unit, flying supplies into the beachhead and then to the advancing troops. It also flew the wounded back from the front.

The group also took part in three further airborne operations. First came Operation Dragoon, the invasion of the south of France. A detachment from the group was sent to Italy before the invasion, and dropped paratroops over the south of France on 15 August. Later on the same day the group towed gliders to France. It flew a further resupply mission to France on 16 August and then spent the rest of the month operating in Italy.

In September 1944 the group operated with the 82nd and 101st Airborne, dropping paratroops during Operation Market Garden. Later in the battle it towed gliders to the battlefield with reinforcements.

In February 1945 the group moved to France. During the crossing of the Rhine on 24 March each aircraft in the group towed two gliders to the eastern side of the river. During the advance into Germany the group flew supplies to the advancing troops.

After the end of the war the group was used to fly supplies to the occupation forces and evacuate liberated POWs. The group returned to the US in August and was inactivated on 15 November 1945.

The success of German glider-borne forces early in World War II catapulted the Air Corps into a glider program in February 1941. Glider pilots were unique in that they had no parachutes, no motors and no second chances. In December 1941, plans called for training 1,000 AAF glider pilots, but eventually about 5,500 received their wings. Most glider pilots came from enlisted ranks -- all were volunteers. Upon graduation, enlisted men would be promoted to staff sergeant (or would retain present grade if higher) while officers would train in grade. But after Nov. 21, 1942, all enlisted graduates were appointed as flight officers upon completing advanced glider training.

Training time varied but consisted of daylight flying in light aircraft practicing unpowered gliding and "dead stick" landings; day and night flying in training gliders, unpowered light aircraft or sailplanes; advanced training in CG-4A combat gliders; and finally tactical training. Most graduates then were given overseas assignments with troop carrier units. By late 1944, the AAF restricted glider instruction to pilots to powered aircraft since there were enough pilots available who could serve a dual purpose in troop carrier units.

During the March 1945 airborne crossing of Germany's Rhine River, about 40 pilots from the 435th Troop Carrier Group defended a crossroad against several hundred infantrymen and two tanks in what was called "The Battle of Burp Gun Corner." Glider pilots had the reputation of being cocky and tough and weren't bashful about letting people know that the "G" on their pilot wings stood for "guts." USAAF glider pilots, in concert with U.S. and Allied airborne forces, spearheaded major invasions in Sicily, Europe, the Philippines and the China-Burma-India Theater and delivered about 30,000 American airborne troops into combat.

Glider pilots suffered heavy combat losses as did the pilots of tow planes and the airborne troops which the gliders carried. They were towed in flimsy, noisy, unarmed, fabric-covered gliders at about 130 mph at the end of a 300-foot, 1-inch nylon rope in air made turbulent by the tow planes. They sometimes crash-landed at night in small fields behind enemy lines, carrying troops and/or cargo including jeeps and artillery. Glider pilots received training in infantry combat tactics since after landing they sometimes fought as infantry.
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