Original U.S. WWII US Army 20th Air Force, 506th Fighter Group Iwo Jima Veteran Grouping, Featuring RARE 1944 Special Air and Gunnery Target Map of Iwo Jima and Service Records With Photos
Original Items: Only One Grouping Available. When one hears the name of that volcanic island, Iwo Jima, your first thought is the Marines and Corpsman who fought like hell to take that rock, not the flyboys. Air superiority is a necessity in combat, once you control the sky, you’ll control the ground. This grouping is for Captain Charles W. Wallace (O-874113), who was a meteorologist with the 506th Fighter Group and is a veteran of the Air Offensive of Japan and the Battle of Iwo Jima. One of the lesser known duties of the Air Forces are the Weather Squadrons who provide weather support for air operations. Without these Weather Officers, paratroopers wouldn’t jump, aircraft wouldn't be able to properly engage and Naval gun fire would be firing in the blind. A lot goes into effect when large scale military invasions are being planned, and weather is one of the biggest ones!
The absolute best feature of this grouping is the near pristine “SPECIAL MAP” of IWO JIMA and is dated November 1944. A special-purpose map is a type of graphics that describes the physical or social geography of an area. If you look closely at the map, you will see THREE different airfields that were added by hand more than likely by Captain Wallace. The airfields are labeled as “NORTH AIRFIELD” and “EXTRA AIRFIELD”. They are used to display information about a particular region, and sometimes they are created as an aid for navigation. The map, although labeled on the top as being a “Special Map”, is a “SPECIAL AIR AND GUNNERY TARGET MAP”, and has a beautiful legend located on the lower right corner and lists all the symbols used to identify known enemy locations such as radio stations, radar stations, searchlights, Coastal Defenses and various other positions. The knowledge and locations of these fortifications was important for the guys on the ground as well as the air. In order to conduct a ground assault the air and Naval forces would soften up these targets and destroy them so they would not impede ground movement and make objective completion a failure.
The map itself measures approximately 22 ½” x 22” and is in great condition but does appears to have been stapled at some point.
The 506th was constituted as the 506th Fighter Group on 5 Oct 1944 and activated on 21 Oct. Equipped with P-51 aircraft. Moved to the Asiatic-Pacific Theater, Feb-Apr 1945, the air echelon, flying patrols from Tinian before joining the rest of the group on Iwo Jima. The group, assigned to Twentieth AF, flew its first mission from Iwo on 18 May when it bombed and strafed an airfield in the Bonin Islands. Afterward attacked airfields, anti aircraft emplacements, shipping, barracks, radio and radar stations, railway cars, and other targets in the Bonin Islands or Japan. Also provided air defense for Iwo and escorted B-29's during bombardment missions from the Marianas to Japan.
This is a rather extensive grouping in regards to being document heavy. There is a lovely Officer’s Class A uniform jacket and trousers that belonged to Captain Wallace, but this is overhadowed by the service records and other documents that are present in this grouping. The leather bound folders are nearly filled to the point where they do not close anymore! The documents included are an immeasurable amount of orders and other official military documents as well as his personal service records, certificates, discharge / enlistment papers and more. Other uniform items include his peaked visor and two overseas caps.
Some of the most interesting documents and photos are those that relate to Iwo Jima. Being a Weather Officer, aerial reconnaissance and photography was among some of his biggest concerns besides taking pressure readings. The grouping contains various photos of post-invasion Iwo Jima and shows images of the temporary cemetery they set up at the base of Mount Suribachi.
Weather Officers during WWII played a massive, almost unknown role in the countless Allied successes on every front of the war. If it wasn’t for Captain Wallace and his counterparts, many operations would have been foiled and gone on unsupported without the knowledge of poor weather conditions. A prime example would be the one scene in the HBO classic, Band of Brothers and the infamous line of “No Jump Tonight” due to weather conditions and lack of sight on the drop zones. Without a meteorologist in the sky, the Airborne would have jumped blindly into hot landing zones and the same meant for the Marines making beachhead assaults.
A lovely grouping that comes more than ready for further research and display!
Collar to shoulder: 10.5"
Shoulder to sleeve: 26”
Shoulder to shoulder: 16”
Chest width: 18”
Waist width: 16"
Hip width: 17.5”
Front length: "34.5
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