Original U.S. WWII US Navy Named Composite Squadron VC-97 Blood Chit Grouping For Avenger Aircraft Gunner’s Mate George McGee - 11 Items
Original Items: Only One Group Available. This is a lovely little grouping attributed to a member of Composite Squadron VC-97. Squadron VC-97 was commissioned in Seattle Washington on March 8, 1944. Also known as the “Fishhook Squadron”, VC-97 was the only composite squadron to participate in air combat operations while attached to the USS Shipley Bay (CVE-85).
We have not been able to locate any service information on George McGee other than what we could piece together from the items in the grouping. He was a Gunners Mate on a Grumman TBF Avenger and was discharged as an Aviation Radarman. The Grumman TBF Avenger is an American World War II-era torpedo bomber developed initially for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, and eventually used by several air and naval aviation services around the world.
The Avenger entered U.S. service in 1942, and first saw action during the Battle of Midway. Despite the loss of five of the six Avengers on its combat debut, it survived in service to become the most effective and widely-used torpedo bomber of World War II, sharing credit for sinking the super-battleships Yamato and Musashi (the only ships of that type sunk exclusively by American aircraft while under way) and being credited for sinking 30 submarines. Greatly modified after the war, it remained in use until the 1960s.
The Items In This Grouping:
- VC-97 Squadron Patch: The patch appears to have once been in a scrapbook of sorts and then was removed. The patch itself has the iconic “Fish Hook” with a winged “VC” and a large number 97 beneath the wings. Great condition with discernible colors.
- 11 ½” x 9 ½” American Flag Blood Chit: . This is an excellent condition silk blood chit from World War Two. It is a printed 48 Star American Flag and a message printed in 7 languages.
- 10” x 8” Chinese Flag Blood Chit: This would have been stitched to the back or inside lining of a U.S. Aviator flight jacket. This example is marked with an identification number, and these are part of the standard contents of a China Burma India Survival set. Condition is very good, with just a bit of staining and a small hole, as well as creases from decades of being folded.
A blood chit is a notice carried by military personnel and addressed to any civilians who may come across an armed-services member – such as a shot-down pilot – in difficulties. As well as identifying the force to which the bearer belongs as friendly, the notice displays a message requesting that the service member be rendered every assistance.
- 4” x 3 ½” Photo: The photo is of 10 Pilots/Crewmen standing in front of a Grumman TBM with Sto-Wing folding wings. The Grumman-patented Sto-Wing aftwards-folding wing folding system, pioneered on the Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat, has been used since World War II on a number of Grumman-designed carrier aircraft, a version of which is still in use in the 21st century on the Grumman E-2 Hawkeye shipboard airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft and its C-2 Greyhound derivative.
- USNR P1940 Dog Tag: In World War II members of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps wore Dog Tags of a different shape than the Army and Air Force. They were oval shaped, had either one (P1917) or two (P1940) holes, and were engraved or etched rather than debossed or stamped.
This one reads as:
- US Navy Combat Aircrew Member Wings: United States Naval Combat Aircrew Member Badge; one piece stamped silver wings; relief of anchor on applied gold center disc; three gold stars on banner that surmounts wings; raised letter text "AIRCREW" on bar below center disc; pin back; regulation size for wear on dress uniform.
During World War II, numerous fleet requests occurred to recognize the work of the enlisted aircrew members flying in combat, the result was the creation of the Air Crew Insignia on 18 May 1943. While primarily an enlisted insignia, officers were eligible if they met the same criteria of Bureau of Naval Personnel (BUPERS) Circular Letter 90-43. The design was essentially the same as today's insignia except all pewter silver with no gold. A subsequent BUPERS Circular Letter 395-44 dated 30 Dec 1944, changed the design to the same as today with the modification of the gold center disc. In 1958, the insignia was redesignated the Combat Aircrew Insignia. In 1978, the Navy removed the insignia as authorized wear and then in 1994, the Marine Corps reestablished the insignia as it is known today as the Marine Combat Aircrew Badge. It is a decoration of the United States Marine Corps which is awarded to those enlisted personnel who have served as aircrew members on board combat flights.
For those who have participated in actual combat missions, gold service stars are worn pinned to the top of the decoration. Upon earning more than three gold stars, silver stars are awarded in recognition of three gold stars, meaning three silver equates to nine gold plus the initial award of the combat aircrew device. This one appears to just be 3 GOLD stars.
- Honorable Service Lapel Button: The Honorable Service Lapel Button, colloquially called "Ruptured Duck" by the members of the military, was a lapel button awarded for honorable Federal military service between 1925 and 1946. The award, designed by Anthony de Francisci, was issued for wear on the left lapel of civilian clothing upon discharge.
The U.S. departments of War and the Navy issued the lapel button to eligible servicemen and women upon discharge. It was made of gilt brass, except during metal shortages during which it was made of gilt plastic. Service members who received the plastic version were later allowed to trade it in for the brass version.
- Ribbon Bar: Features 3 “Wolf Brown” large ribbons for Asiatic-Pacific (2 Stars), American Campaign and Air Medal (2 Stars).
- Single Ribbon: The ribbon is another “Wolf Brown” type and is for the Navy Unit Commendation.
- WWII Victory Medal: The World War II Victory Medal is a service medal of the United States military which was established by an Act of Congress on 6 July 1945 and promulgated by Section V, War Department Bulletin 12, 1945. The World War I Victory Medal is the corresponding medal from World War I.
- WWII Air Medal (Replacement) With 3 Stars: The Air Medal is a military decoration of the United States Armed Forces. It was created in 1942 and is awarded for single acts of heroism or meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight.
This is a lovely grouping and comes more than ready for further research and display.
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