Original U.S. WWII Navy Cross with Case and Gold Pilot Wings named to MIA-KIA Lieutenant Junior Grade William Maier

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Set Available. This set contains items that reportedly belonged to Original U.S. WWII Navy Cross with Case and Gold Pilot Wings named to Lieutenant Junior Grade William Maier USNR, who went missing in action and was officially declared KIA on January 13, 1946. A website about his service can be found at this link.

ASN O-240678
Sq VT-11, based on the USS Hornet

Bill was born to Gotthilf 'George' and Ida Maier in Denver, Colorado on November 19, 1920 and later moved to Richmond and then Berkeley California. He had two sisters, Frieda (Maier) Pekrul and Edith 'Edi' (Maier) Boles.

In 1938 he attended U.C. Berkeley where he was involved with the debate team and met his future wife Arline May Coe.

In 1941 Bill joined the Navy and trained to become a pilot and in 1943 he married his sweetheart, Arline. He was flying a TBM-1C Avenger torpedo bomber, and disappeared in the area of French Indochina on 12 January 1945. His remains have never been recovered.

TBM-1C Avenger BuNo. 73322 (T-133)
Missing in action from approximately 1520, 12 January 1945. Plane was seen to explode while recovering from a dive on an enemy ship. Searching planes could find no evidence of plane or crew. Lat 13-50N, Long 109-20E

Navy Cross Citation
The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Lieutenant, Junior Grade William Maier (NSN: 0-240678), United States Naval Reserve, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Torpedo Plane and Leader of a Torpedo Plane Division in Torpedo Squadron ELEVEN (VT-11), attached to the U.S.S. HORNET (CV-12), during operations against enemy Japanese forces in the Second Battle of the Philippine Sea, on 25 October 1944. Courageously leading his division on a hazardous strike against enemy surface vessels in this highly strategic area, Lieutenant, Junior Grade, Maier aggressively pressed home his own powerful, daring attacks despite the difficulties imposed by mechanical defects in his plane and, in the face of intense, accurate anti-aircraft fire, scored a direct bomb hit on a heavy cruiser. By his superb airmanship and indomitable fighting spirit under extremely perilous conditions, Lieutenant, Junior Grade, Maier contributed materially to the success of a vital mission and his valiant conduct throughout reflects the highest credit upon himself and the United States Naval Service.

He was awarded the following medals~
Navy Cross
Distinguished Flying Cross with Gold Star
Purple Heart

Included in this set are an excellent condition World War Two issue Navy Cross with ribbon bar in the original case. The medal is not engraved but the case has a typed old paper label identifying LTG Maier as the recipient.

Also included in the case, as we found it, is a set of 2.75" Wide Naval Aviator 10 karat Gold filled Pilot wings by BALFOUR, they are marked on the reverse:

1/20-10k GF

The Navy Cross is the United States military's second-highest decoration awarded for valor in combat. The Navy Cross is awarded primarily to a member of the United States Navy, Marine Corps, and the Coast Guard (when operating under the Department of the Navy) for extraordinary heroism.[3] The medal is equivalent to the Army Distinguished Service Cross, the Air Force Cross, and the Coast Guard Cross.

The Navy Cross is bestowed by the Secretary of the Navy and may also be awarded to members of the other armed services, and to foreign military personnel while serving with the U.S. naval services. The Navy Cross was established by Act of Congress (Public Law 65-253) and approved on February 4, 1919.


The Navy Cross may be awarded to any member of the U.S. Armed Forces while serving with the Navy, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard (when under the Department of the Navy) who distinguishes himself or herself in action by extraordinary heroism not justifying an award of the Medal of Honor. The action must take place under one of three circumstances:

- In combat action while engaged against an enemy of the United States; or,
- In combat action while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or,
- In combat action while serving with friendly foreign forces, who are engaged in armed conflict in which the United States is not a belligerent party.

The act(s) to be commended must be performed in the presence of great danger, or at great personal risk, and must be performed in such a manner as to render the individual's action(s) highly conspicuous among others of equal grade, rate, experience, or position of responsibility. An accumulation of minor acts of heroism does not justify an award of the Navy Cross. As originally authorized, the Navy Cross could be awarded for distinguished non-combat acts, but legislation of 7 August 1942 limited the award to acts of combat heroism.
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