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eMedals-United States. A DFC & Air Medal Group to Capt. Philip Browning, Aerial Photographer, KIA, 1951 near Yandok, Korea.

Item: AZ074

United States. A DFC & Air Medal Group to Capt. Philip Browning, Aerial Photographer, KIA, 1951 near Yandok, Korea.

Price:

$2,520

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United States. A DFC & Air Medal Group to Capt. Philip Browning, Aerial Photographer, KIA, 1951 near Yandok, Korea.

United States. Distinguished Flying Cross, bronze, 43.5mm (w) x 48.5mm (h-including integral ring), unmarked, on original ribbon with brooch pinback, extremely fine condition; Purple heart, two piece construction, bronze gilt and purple, white, red and green enamels, 34mm (w) x 47.5mm (h), reverse engraved PHILIP W. BROWNING, on original ribbon with brooch pinback, extremely fine condition; Air Medal with two silver and two bronzeoak leaf clusters, bronze, 43mm (w) x 55mm (h), reverse engraved PHILIP W. BROWNING, on original ribbon with brooch pinback, extremely fine condition; Second World War Victory Medal, bronze, 36mm, unmarked, on original ribbon with brooch pinback, contact marks on obverse, extremely fine condition; National Defense Medal, bronze, 31mm, unmarked, on original ribbon with brooch pinback, wear along edges and on integral ball, extremely fine condition; UN Medal with KOREA clasp, bronze, 36.5mm, bronze gilt, unmarked, on original ribbon with brooch pinback, worn, edge bruising evident, obverse tarnished, near very fine condition; Korean Service Medal with one silver service star, bronze, 31mm, on original ribbon with brooch pinback, extremely fine condition; European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with one silver and one bronze service star, bronze, 31.5mm, on original ribbon with brooch pinback, slightly worn, very fine condition; American Pilot Wings, standard silver, 78mm (w) x 24mm (h), reverse stamped 717, two vertical stick pins, scratches on obverse, very fine condition; Army Air Force Captains Rank Identification Bar, chromed metal alloy, 25mm (w) x 25mm (h), unmarked, horizontal brooch pin on reverse, slight contact marks present on obverse, near extremely fine condition; Army Air Force Captains Rank Ribbon Bar with frame, 36mm (w) x 15mm (h), stamped GRACO-GI on reverse, two vertical stick pins on reverse, one pin loose, extremely fine condition; Army Air Force WWII Shoulder Patch Insignia, multi-coloured embroidery, 69mm, glue partially evident on reverse, extremely fine condition; Army Air Force WWII Pin, chromed metal alloy blue, white and red enamels, 37.5mm, unmarked, two vertical stick pins on reverse, extremely fine condition; Props and Wings Insignia, two piece construction, bronze and silver, 28.5mm (w) x 19mm (h), reverse stamped MEYER METAL with company logo, horizontal brooch pin, bronze fading, very fine condition.

 

Accompanied by six aerial photographs of named locations, five photographs of aircrafts, Brownings Air Medal and Distinguished Flying Cross Certificates, official correspondence copies, research documents and photocopied newspaper articles.

 

Footnote: Philip Wells Browning was born on May 27, 1906 in Detroit, Michigan to Captain John A. and Florence Browning. He attended Port Huron Jr College for language (rhetoric) and Port Huron for four years studying Academics, completing his schooling in 1924. However, his interest in photography began at the age of 12. He taught himself how to fly in 1930, and brought his two passions together by establishing the Port Huron Movie Camera Club. In 1937, Browning filmed “All in a Day” which depicted the process of producing and distributing a newspaper, a film which would later aid him in receiving a First Lieutenant commission. He also worked as a photographic officer of Port Huron Squadron 632-6 Civil Air Patrol prior to enlisting for World War II.

 

Browning began his service with the Army Air Corps on June 8, 1943 as a motion picture technician with the 323rd Bomb Group. He spent one month at ETO Gunnery School between November and December (1943) and was then transferred to England. He served in France from August 6, 1944 to June 3, 1945. Browning was one of the aerial photographers during the Normandy invasion, scooping the world by two days. He also served in Belgium and Luxembourg as a ground and aerial motion picture photographer. Throughout his time in the war, Browning went on sixty bomber missions and advanced to the rank of Captain. Following the war, he ran a ‘fix -it’ shop in Port Huron, and helped raise his son, Wells, born in 1936. By January 1, 1951, Captain Browning had enlisted for the Korean war with the U.S Air Force, 2nd Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron. From January 18, 1951, he served as a Tech Assistant to the AMC Photo Unit.

 

On the night of September 14, 1951, Browning volunteered for a mission near Yandok, Korea. The B-26 was flown by Captain Walmsley, and it was directed to disable an enemy train. It was suspected that Browning was onboard in an attempt to gather photographic evidence of what an illuminated train looks like. After successfully doing so, the searchlight (a new tactic of the time, mounting U.S. Navy Searchlights to the wings of a B-26, operated by the navigator) was employed to lead another B-26 to another target area. This 70,000,000 candlelight power light exposed the plane to enemy fire, but instead of engaging in evasive tactics, the pilot flew straight ahead providing as much light as possible for the friendly aircraft to destroy the enemy’s war cargo. The plane crashed into a mountain, rendering Captain Browning as missing in action. The searchlight method was deemed dangerous shortly thereafter and was no longer used in missions.

 

In March of 1954, a newspaper report shared the ‘presumed dead’ status with Browning’s local town. Master Sergeant George Morat, the engineer onboard, survived the crash only to be taken prisoner in North Korea. When he was returned to allied arms through a prisoner exchange in September 1953, he provided more information of the events from the night of September 14, three years earlier. “After directing another plane to the target, and while at an altitude of 1,000 feet, the B-26 received several more direct hits, causing severe damage to the tail section and fire in the pilots compartments. Morat bailed out just before the plane crashed into a mountain. Three days later, the Koreans confirmed that the rest of the crew were killed and had been buried. Captain Walmsley was awarded a Medal of Honor for his sacrifice.

 

For his heroism, Browning was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, for which the citation states “Captain PHILIP W. BROWNING distinguished himself by heroism while participating in aerial flight over Korea as a Motion Picture Cameraman, Detachment #1, 2nd Photographic Squadron on 14 September 1951. On that date, Captain BROWNING volunteered to accompany a B-26 on a dangerous night interdiction mission. Rather than assign it to one of his subordinates, Captain BROWNING personally undertook the mission which was to ascertain the feasibility of doing motion picture photography to better determine effectiveness of this type mission. While on final attack, his aircraft was observed to receive a direct hit and explode. Captain BROWNING’s willingness to risk his life for vitally needed motion picture coverage of night interdiction missions was in keeping with the highest traditions of the service, and reflected great credit upon himself, the Far East Air Forces, and the United States Air Force.”

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