Item:
ONSV22WDM91

Original U.S. WWII US Army Air Forces Chinese Burma India Theater KIA Pilot Grouping - 21 Items

Item Description

Original Items: Only One Group Available. The sad reality is, war is human nature. “Men go off to fight while the women and children stay home” and that was the case for First Lieutenant James J. Owens Jr. He answered his country’s call in January of 1942 and made the ultimate sacrifice on February 27, 1945 in the Chinese Burma India Theater of War, leaving behind a wife and baby.

Lieutenant Owens’ family received a War Department telegram (included) on a saturday afternoon informing them of his death. It contains no details on the incident, just that he was in a plane crash, whether it was from hostile enemy fire or technical issues, it is still unclear.

James Owens was born in Haverhill, Long Island, New York where he also attended High School at St. Paul’s. He went to Nichols college and Bryant and Stratton Commercial school in Boston, Massachusetts. It was during his senior year that he enlisted in the US Army Air Forces. He married a short time after his enlistment and became a father when his son, James J Owens III was born.

After enlisting in the Army Air Forces in January 1942, he trained at Gregg Army Air Field, Selma, Alabama and at Montgomery, Alabama, before being sent to Acadia FIeld for his primary training. After his primary training, he was transferred to Sumpter, South Carolina for his basic training. He completed his advanced training at Turner Army Air Field, Albany, Georgia, where he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in March of 1944.

After completing his training, LT Owens was assigned to the ferry command at Memphis, Tennessee, from which he flew Army planes over the southern Atlantic route to India for the fighting forces in the China-Burma-India theater.

At the time of his death, Lieutenant Owens was a pilot in the Army Air Transport Command, flying a transport plane carrying high octane fuel over “The Hump” in the Himalayas, the world’s most dangerous flying route at the time. It was presumed that it was while on one of these flights when he crashed, and in the end died.

This lovely grouping consists of:

- Uniformed Picture: The picture is of James Owens when he was a cadet, standing next to either a relative or friend in the Navy.
- Newspaper Article and Telegram: Both are in delicate condition and unfortunately dried out with tearing. The telegram is from the War Department informing the mother of James on his death while in the CBI theater. The article appears to be from a local newspaper and talks about his life. The information given above was taken from the article.
- 17” x 12” Flag: The flag is a rayon type material with all colors dyed. It appears to be a foreign/theater made flag, but are uncertain of its origin.
- Army Air Forces Ferry Command Patch and DUIs: 3 items consisting of a lovely Ferry Command Patch (4” x 4 ¼”) and (2) Distinctive Unit Insignias. The patch looks unused and the DUI pins show signs of wear and use with almost all enamel and colors retained.
- Army Air Forces Training Center DUIs: Consists of (2) Distinctive Unit Insignias for the US Army Air Forces Training Center/Command, “Prepare For Combat”. The colors and enamel are retained very well.
- Army Air Forces Pilots Wings: Complete and marked as “Sterling” on the reverse
- USAAF ID Bracelet: This is a sweetheart style bracelet featuring a set of Pilots Wings. Hand inscribed on the front, beneath the wings are “J.J. Owens Jr” with “A.S.N. 0-725442” inscribed on the back. The bracelet is marked Sterling and measures 8 ½”. Fully functional and without damage.
- (6) Collar Devices: (2) “US” collar pins, (2) Army Air Forces “wings” pins and (2) Second Lieutenant Rank devices. All functioning and are without the frogs.
- Sweetheart Pin: The Sterling marked pin features a set of Air Forces “wings” with a 1st Lieutenant bar hanging by to chains beneath it. Fully functional and in lovely condition.
- Evans Spitfire Lighter: The lighter features an Army Air Forces insignia affixed to the front. Appears to be functional, just needs a new wick, flint and fluid. No damage present.
- Theater Made Bullion CBI Shield Patch: The patch is in lovely condition with almost all the silver bullion thread intact. There is some fading and silver color loss.
- Army Air Corps Bullion Patch: This lovely “roundel” shoulder patch is constructed of a blue felt background with silver and gold bullion thread. The colors are retained nicely with a lovely patina to the bullion.

This incredible grouping comes ready for further research and display!

The Hump
The Hump was the name given by Allied pilots in the Second World War to the eastern end of the Himalayan Mountains over which they flew military transport aircraft from India to China to resupply the Chinese war effort of Chiang Kai-shek and the units of the United States Army Air Forces (AAF) based in China. Creating an airlift presented the AAF a considerable challenge in 1942: it had no units trained or equipped for moving cargo, and no airfields existed in the China Burma India Theater (CBI) for basing the large number of transports that would be needed. Flying over the Himalayas was extremely dangerous and made more difficult by a lack of reliable charts, an absence of radio navigation aids, and a dearth of information about the weather.

The task was initially given to the AAF's Tenth Air Force, and then to its Air Transport Command (ATC). Because the AAF had no previous airlift experience as a basis for planning, it assigned commanders who had been key figures in founding the ATC in 1941–1942 to build and direct the operation, which included former civilians with extensive executive experience operating civil air carriers.

Originally referred to as the "India–China Ferry", the successive organizations responsible for carrying out the airlift were the Assam–Burma–China Command (April–July 1942) and the India-China Ferry Command (July–December 1942) of the Tenth Air Force; and the Air Transport Command's India-China Wing (December 1942 – June 1944) and India-China Division (July 1944 – November 1945).

The operation began in April 1942, after the Japanese blocked the Burma Road, and continued daily to August 1945, when the effort began to scale down. It procured most of its officers, men, and equipment from the AAF, augmented by British, British-Indian Army, Commonwealth forces, Burmese labor gangs and an air transport section of the Chinese National Aviation Corporation (CNAC). Final operations were flown in November 1945 to return personnel from China.

The India–China airlift delivered approximately 650,000 tons of materiel to China at great cost in men and aircraft during its 42-month history. For its efforts and sacrifices, the India–China Wing of the ATC was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation on 29 January 1944 at the personal direction of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the first such award made to a non-combat organization.

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