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eMedals-A Uniform Grouping Attributed to the 14th United States Army Air Forces; The Flying Tigers

Item: W4677

A Uniform Grouping Attributed to the 14th United States Army Air Forces; The Flying Tigers

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A Uniform Grouping Attributed to the 14th United States Army Air Forces; The Flying Tigers

Includes six pieces: tunic, trousers, service cap, side cap, handkerchief and Indian theater banner. Tunic (fabricated from a brown wool, the shoulders adorned with shoulder straps that are secured in place by brass buttons, each button illustrating the United States coat-of-arms, as are all the buttons on the tunic, the shoulder strap buttons maker marked "WATERBURY BUTTON CO." on their reverses. The collar is adorned with brass collar disks on either side: a "U.S." collar disk on the right side and a USAAF propeller collar disk on the left side, the former with a screwback, the latter with a push pin. There are four pockets on the front, one on each breast and larger ones at the waist on both sides, each designed with a fold over flap with reinforced button hole and a brass button, each of which is maker marked "SCOVILLE MF'G. CO WATERBURY" on the reverse, the large pockets lined in a moss green rayon-cotton blend. The right breast is enriched with an Honorable Discharge Emblem lozenge in yellow embroidery on a diamond-shaped olive green rayon base, along with a Army Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon below it, incorporating a blue ribbon framed within a rectangular brass frame, both items just above the right breast pocket. Just above the left breast pocket is a two-level ribbon bar, composed of three individual pieces, each with its own pinback, the top row with the ribbons of the American Defense Service Medal, the China: Liberation From Japan Medal and the World War II Victory Medal, the bottom row with the ribbons of the Army Good Conduct Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two bronze stars and the American Campaign Medal, the ribbon bar surmounted by a 21.5 mm x 76.5 mm unmarked silver gilt Army Air Force Aircrew Badge, held in place by dual push pins. The front has a vertical row of four large brass buttons, the second button from the top maker marked "SCOVILLE MF'G. CO WATERBURY" on the reverse, the other three buttons maker marked "D. EVANS & CO. INC. NORTH ATTLEBORO MASS." on their reverses, facing an equal number of reinforced button holes on the left side. The right shoulder is adorned with a 60 mm 14th USAAF patch, the Disney Company variation, in red, white, blue, orange and black embroidery. The left shoulder is enhanced with a 62 mm x 82 mm Army Air Corps China India Burma Theater patch, fabricated with two fine silver bullion wire stripes bordered by three stripes of red embroidery, the sun (China) and star (India) in silver bullion wire, the outline of the sun in blue threading, the sun and star resting upon a blue embroidered field, the borders of the stripes and the shield itself trimmed in rolled bullion wire. Below both the previously mentioned patches are Sergeant stripes in olive green and navy blue embroidery. The left sleeve has a patch sewn in place, consisting of two years' overseas service bars in yellow and olive green embroidery, upon a brown wool base, with a one year service stripe in olive green and navy blue embroidery below. The rear of the tunic is pleated on either side and is single-vented. The inside is lined in a brownish-green rayon across the shoulders and extends down each side just inside the opening, as are the sleeves. The tunic is named in two locations: the right armpit sleeve is hand inscribed in black ink "A W SNOOK" and "1866-RB", along with other marks, while the lining across the shoulders just below the collar is inscribed in black ink "SNOOK" above "I-AW 2492", with the faded size stamping "38" just below. There are narrow panels in brown wool and trimmed in olive green piping, extending from both armpits and terminating at the bottom of the tunic, each with a brass hooks that feeds through a reinforced hole and re-appears on the exterior at the waist, in order to hold a belt that has been lost to time. It has a dangling elasticized black strap sewn in place to the rear seams of the tunic, lateral to the bottom of the sleeve openings, in addition to an olive green cotton strap sewn in place in the collar for hanging the blouse on a hook. It measures 440 mm across the shoulders x 700 mm in length, exhibiting two tiny moth holes on the reverse, along with a series of holes in the lining on the right side near the base, a hole in the lining and a hole in the lower pocket on the left side, with separation evident at the seam where the interior lining on the right side meets the sleeve lining); Trousers (fabricated from a brown wool, designed with a button down fly, incorporating five brown plastic buttons on the right side, facing an equal number of reinforced button holes on the right side, discreetly hidden under a flap, with a similar button above at the waist on the inside at the left, facing a reinforced button hole within the protruding tab on the right side, ensuring a snug fit at the waist. It has five pockets, deep side-entry pockets on both sides at the front, a small pocket between the right side pocket and the fly, along with two pockets on the right seat, the one on the left seat of the button down variety with a brown plastic button, while the others are buttonless, with all five pockets lined in white cotton. The waist is completed with seven belt loops in brown wool. Inside, the waist is lined in a 42 mm wide band of white cotton, with six brown plastic buttons sewn in place and spaced at appropriate locations, three on either side. There is a sizing tag inscribed "W30" over "L33" (Width 30 inches / Length 33 inches) sewn in place at the waist just above the right rear pocket. The trousers measure 360 mm in width x 1,040 mm in length, with a hole in the fabric immediately to the right of the second button from the bottom on the fly, exhibiting light soiling and staining); Service Cap (fabricated from a brown wool, the top of the cap with a magnetic metal frame, with two smooth-finished dark brown leather straps and two fixed sliders creating the chin strap, resting upon the visor, slotted at the ends, secured on both sides by brass buttons, each button illustrating the United States coat-of-arms. Immediately above the buttons on both sides are two reinforced ventilation holes with brown painted metal eyelets. The front has a brown painted metal eyelet that houses a 41mm two-piece constructed brass United States Army Enlisted Man's visor cap badge, unmarked, and held in place by a screwback. Flat visor with stiffener, the upper with a smooth black finish, the underside in a hunter green synthetic material. Inside comes with a 45 mm wide leather sweatband, with a folded-up period newspaper from the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, dated April 8, 1944, under the sweatband around the entire circumference, acting as additional padding and support, with the ends of the sweatband meeting at the rear and tied together with a white bow-tied ribbon. The dome and sidewalls are lined in a beige-brown rayon, the dome brandishing a 70 mm x 85 mm moisture shield and housing an un-named identification card, marked size "7". The cap measures 262 mm x 270 mm x 110 mm overall, exhibiting scuffing and wear on the chin strap and visor, slight separation of the upper from the visor at the front, wear and light soiling on the leather sweatband from active use, and is free of mothing); Side Cap (fabricated from greenish-brown wool, designed with a fold down panel that extends around the perimeter of the cap, the ends of which overlap on the front, the entire upper edge of which is trimmed in orange and blue embroidered cord, the inside with a 12 mm wide leather sweatband, the side cap measuring 110 mm x 250 mm, the leather sweatband having hardened with age and exhibits shrinkage, crazing and cracking, the cap free of mothing); Handkerchief (fabricated from white silk, with the white, light pink, bright pink, dark pink, lavender and brown embroidered image of a dragon in one corner, all four edges trimmed in white and bright pink embroidery, 355 mm x 355 mm); and Indian Theater Banner (fabricated from a forest green cotton with a brushed finish on the obverse, in silvered bullion wire with red, green, pink and yellow embroidery, illustrating an image of the Taj Mahal (an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the Indian city of Agra, commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan (reigned 1628-1658), to house the tomb of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal), with a crescent moon and star in the sky, inscribed "TAJMAHAL-AGRA" above and ""INDIA-1943" below, the image within a circle bearing twenty petals, floral designs in all four corners, all four edges trimmed in protruding bullion flowers, measuring 825 mm x 840 mm). Near extremely fine. Footnote: Allen Walter Snook was born on June 15, 1919 in New Salem, Kansas, the son of Walter A. Snook (1892-1986) and Ella (Pollock) Snook (1891-1985). He graduated from Winfield High School, had two years of college and was a resident of Cowley, Kansas, when he enlisted with the United States Army Air Corps, as an Aviation Cadet (17027921), at Fort Riley, Kansas on May 27, 1941, stating that he was Single and without dependents. Snook was a pilot with the 14th United States Army Air Forces (AKA The Flying Tigers), flying missions over "The Hump" during the Second World War. 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 (USAAF) based in China. In 1940, Japan’s Imperial Army held China’s seaports and eastern plains in a death grip. A lifeline from Allied supply bases in India, across the forbidding Himalayan mountain range in western China, was deemed crucial. The Hump was a high altitude military aerial supply route between the Assam Valley in northeastern India, across northern Burma, to Yunnan province in southwestern China. This operation was the first sustained, long range, twenty-four hour, around the clock, all weather, military aerial supply line in history. It was a start-from-scratch operation. There was no precedent for it. Creating an airlift presented the USAAF 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 USAAF's 10th Air Force, and then to its Air Transport Command (ATC). Because the USAAF 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 10th Air Force; and the Air Transport Command's India-China Wing (December 1942-June 1944) and India-China Division (July 1944-November 1945). After Japan cut the Burma Road, China National Aviation Corporation (CNAC) pioneered an air route over the Himalayans and became the sole supplier of China’s combat forces along with Clair Chennault’s American Volunteer Group: "The Flying Tigers". After Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt realized that the pathway to China must be kept open and supplied CNAC with planes commandeered from United States domestic airlines. Aircraft from other Air Force Commands also operated over the Hump routes during this time period. The China National Airways Corporation (CNAC), a civilian Chinese-American airline, owned jointly by the Chinese government and Pan-American Airways, flew the route primarily in DC-3s, C-47s and late added C-46s during the entire period and were a very prominent part of the Hump operation. It procured most of its officers, men, and equipment from the USAAF, augmented by British, British-Indian Army, Commonwealth forces, Burmese labor gangs and an air transport section of the Chinese National Aviation Corporation (CNAC). In April 1942, China lost the Burma Road, its last remaining supply line to the outside world, due to the invasion of Burma by Japanese troops. The Road extended 425 miles from Lashio, Burma to Kunming, China. China's eastern seaports had previously been closed by Japanese invasion troops and the Japanese Navy. The United States determined a continuous flow of military supplies into China had to continue to enable the Chinese Army, and the United States Army 14th Air Force (formerly the American Volunteer Group (AVGs) and the China Air Task Force) in China, to remain effective and keep pressure on Japanese occupational troops, thereby denying their use as fighting forces in other parts of the CBI or south Pacific. The only means left for getting supplies to China was by air. Due to the presence of Japanese Army and Air Force in northern Burma, the only available air route to China was via the Hump route. The Hump route was an unlikely route for regular flight operations due to high terrain and extremely severe weather. It crossed a north-south extension of the main Himalaya Mountains that ran south through northern Burma and western China. On the very north end of the extension terrain exceeded 20,000MSL (Mean Sea Level) in height. Average elevations lowered to the south but did not fall below 12,000MSL for approximately 140 miles. The routes flown fell between these two extremes. Northern Burma was largely uninhabited except for wild native tribes. In addition to mountains, it was covered by tropical rain forest with trees reaching over 150 feet in height. River gorges of the Salween, Mekong and Yangtze Rivers exceeded 10,000 feet in depth. Uncivilized headhunter tribes existed on the southern rim of the main Himalayas in China. Severe weather existed on the Hump almost year around. The monsoon season, with heavy cloudiness, fierce rain and embedded severe thunderstorms with turbulence severe enough to damage aircraft, existed from around May into October of each year. The late fall and winter flying weather was better with many VFR days. However, heavy ground fogs, with ground visibilities down to zero/zero, occurred almost nightly during the early winter, and severe thunderstorms still occurred over the route on an irregular basis. Winter winds aloft were extreme, often exceeding 100MPH (Miles Per Hour). Most night flying had to be done by instruments from takeoff due to lack of any ground or horizon references, until well into western China. Early flights were basically daylight operations that were often forced to the northern portion of the Hump due to the presence of Japanese fighter aircraft to the south flying out of Myitkyina, Burma. Terrain heights in this area generally averaged around 15,000MSL to 16,000MSL. This was the high Hump. The Hump initially contained few enroute navigational aids. Enroute communications were poor, and air traffic control, except for local control towers, did not exist. Aeronautical charts were very unreliable and weather reporting was very poor. These conditions slowly improved after the arrival of the United States Army Airways Communications Service (USAACS) in August 1943. Homing beacons existed at each airfield in India and China. These homers were severely affected by weather, night effect, and static electricity that built up on aircraft. Airport instrument approaches were normally conducted to airports on homing beacons and were non-precision approaches. Living conditions in the Assam Valley were primitive. Personnel generally lived in tents or bamboo bashas. A few lived in tea plantation bungalows or in bungalow outbuildings. During the monsoon season, bases were seas of mud. Sidewalks and tent foundations had to be elevated, to stay above standing water. Temperatures during the monsoon season were extremely hot with very high humidity. Clothes and shoes mildewed within days. Food was government issued C-ration. Personnel did not eat off base for sanitary reasons. Malaria and dysentery were prevalent diseases. Water could be consumed only after purification by iodine. Maintenance of aircraft was a serious problem due to a shortage of parts and poor working conditions. The need for maintenance was high due to the need to fly aircraft well above their normal operating limits. Work during the monsoon season mostly had to be done at night due to the heat. There were no hangers for aircraft maintenance. All maintenance work had to be done in the aircraft parking areas. Make shift covers had to be placed over engines to complete engine work during the rainy season. The first supply mission over the Hump occurred in April 1942, when the United States Army 10th Air Force in India contracted with the African Division of Pan-American Airways to handle the transport of 30,000 gallons of gasoline and 500 gallons of lubricants to China for use by the B-25s of the Doolittle Raiders. The Raiders had expected to refuel in China after their April raid on Tokyo. These Pan-American aircraft were also involved in the evacuation of northern Burma in May 1942. Regular Hump operations began in May 1942, with twenty-seven aircraft (converted American airline DC-3s, C-39s and C-53s) and approximately 1,100 personnel from New Malir Air Base, a British base located in the Sind Desert about twenty miles east of Karachi in western India. The aircraft and personnel were members of the First Ferry Group, provided by the United States Army Air Forces Ferry Command. The Group was attached to the United States Army 10th Air Force, newly established in India and headquartered in New Delhi, for logistical support. Their first regular Hump operations crossed India and eventually jumped off for the Hump leg of their flights from Dinjan, a British Air Base located in the upper Assam Valley. During April and May approximately 96 tons of supplies were delivered to China. The First Ferry Group moved to the Assam Valley in August of 1942, where several bases were still under construction for the Hump operation. Initially, these operations were conducted on sod and steel mat airstrips. On December 1, 1942, the Air Transport Command (ATC), formed on July 1, 1942 from the Ferry Command, established an India-China Wing, also headquartered in New Delhi. This ATC Wing was then assigned the primary mission of flying supplies over the Hump route to China. The first Wing commander was Colonel (later Brigadier General) Edward H. Alexander. The aircraft and support personnel of the First Ferry Group were transferred to this Wing. At the beginning, the Hump was flown with converted Douglas DC-3, C-39, C-53 and military Douglas C-47 aircraft. Loads over the Hump grew slowly until the arrival of Consolidated C-87s (converted B-24s) in December 1942 and the Curtiss C-46 in April 1943. The C-46 was a large super-charged twin-engine aircraft capable of flying faster, higher and carrying heavier loads than the C-47. The C-87, and its C-109 tanker modification, was a supercharged four engine aircraft capable of flying higher and faster but with smaller loads than the C-46. With these aircraft, loads over the Hump reached 12,594 tons in December 1943. Loads continued to increase in 1944 and 1945, reaching its maximum capacity in July 1945. Also flying the Hump on an irregular basis were aircraft of the United States 14th Air Force, the British Royal Air Force and the Royal Australian Air Force. Loads carried over the Hump were many and verified. The primary load was gasoline, carried in fifty-five gallon drums and added to by siphoning from tanks of the carrying aircraft. Also carried were: small arms and ammunition, small vehicles, heavy equipment cut up and carried in pieces, truck and aircraft engines, bombs and aircraft machine gun ammunition, mortar shells, hospital equipment, personnel, 20 foot lengths of 4 inch pipe, etc. All operations over the hump required use of oxygen. Oxygen was provided to crew members by a demand system which provided oxygen on inhale. It also had a constant flow and an emergency forced flow capability. Oxygen masks were very uncomfortable. Regulations required that oxygen be used above 12,000MSL during daytime and above 10,000MSL at night. Initially, search and rescue efforts to find downed aircraft were informal and spasmodic. About August, 1943, search and rescue took a more formal approach with the establishment of a Search and Rescue group by the ATC. On May 5, 1942, Japan’s elite Red Dragon Armored Division approached the last barrier to China’s back door: the mile deep Salween River gorge. If the Japanese crossed the river, China would be out of the war. Flying Tiger P-40s and the Chinese ground forces destroyed the bridge. The Japanese hauled pontoons to the river’s edge while trucks and tanks snaked for miles along the Salween’s bank. Chennault’s Tigers fought them off. The remnants of Japan’s elite army turned back. Never before had an invading army been defeated solely by air power. It was a defining moment for the Flying Tigers, CNAC and for aviation history. A military offensive against the Japanese Army began in February 1944. By August 1944, this offensive had forced the Japanese Army south far enough to enable the Hump operation to move south over the lower Hump with elevations generally not over 12,000MSL (Mean Sea Level). This move increased the efficiency of the operation. Douglas C-54 aircraft were added to the operation in the fall of 1944 for further efficiency. The C-54s were based in the Calcutta area and crossed the Hump on the south end. This reduced the need to haul materials by rail to the Assam Valley for transport. In July 1945, 77,306 tons of supplies were flown over the Hump to China. At that time the ATC was operating 622 aircraft, supported by 34,000 American military personnel and 47,000 civilian personnel. The last full month of war-time operations was July, 1945, with flights continuing daily to August 1945, when the effort began to scale down, with final operations being flown in November 1945, in order to return personnel from China and India. The India-China airlift delivered approximately 650,000 tons of materiel to China, at great cost in men and aircraft during its forty-two month existence. The treacherous Himalayas took their toll, as the success of the operation did not come lightly, flying the world’s most unforgiving terrain. Official records of Search and Rescue were closed at the end of 1945. Their final records showed 509 crashed aircraft records "closed", and 81 lost aircraft still classified as "open". Three hundred twenty-eight (328) of the lost aircraft were ATC. Thirteen hundred fourteen (1,314) crew members were known dead, 1,171 walked out to safety, and 345 were declared still missing. For its efforts and sacrifices, the India-China Wing of the ATC was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation on January 29, 1944 at the personal direction of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the first such award made to a non-combat organization. Allen Walter Snook, 14th United States Army Air Forces, retired as an Air Force Lieutenant Colonel. Post-war, he married Lois P. Snook (April 10, 1917- April 8, 2000) and was employed at Beech Aircraft Company in Wichita, Kansas before moving to San Antonio, Texas. He was a member of the Hump Pilots Association and the Wilmington Warriors. Snook died on January 12, 1998 in San Antonio, Texas, at the age of 78, survived by his wife of fifty-three years, Lois Snook, along with two daughters: Sue Trezza of San Antonio, Texas and Judy Morris of Houston, Texas, his brother, John Snook of Tulsa, Oklahoma, six grandchilden and six great grandchildren. Funeral services were held at the Porter Loring Chapel, followed by burial with full military honors at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas, Plot: Section 23 Site 101, his grave marker inscribed: "ALLEN W SNOOK / LT COL / US AIR FORCE / WORLD WAR II / KOREA / VIETNAM / JUN 15 1919 / JAN 12 1998". A memorial was also established with the Ronald McDonald House in San Antonio. (C:152)
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