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Neat AAF Ike with Italian Bullion to WW2 POW, Later Korea KIA


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#1 Dave

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Posted 30 March 2015 - 07:30 AM

I thought you all might like seeing an Ike jacket that was beautifully tailored to an observer who was shot down on his 48th mission in early 1945 over Austria, became a POW, and was released in May 1945. He remained in the USAF Reserves and was recalled for the Korean War, where he served as a bombardier. On his last mission, he was shot down during their return to base, and all onboard the aircraft were killed.

 

When he died, he left behind a widow and two young sons. The veteran's mother ended up taking care of his uniforms, medals, and letters (there were roughly 100 or so WW2 time period letters with this Ike jacket, I didn't include them in the photo.) She moved in with the veteran's brother (who had been a USAF pilot) and all of the items were moved to the brother's attic. The mom passed away and the brother's wife passed away shortly thereafter. He remarried and, as things would turn out, he passed away. His new wife then remarried and as time passed, both the new wife and her husband passed on. Their children ended up selling all of the items from the KIA brother at an estate sale, even though his widow and sons were (and still are) very much alive. However, they weren't notified that any of these items even existed, so they simply went about their lives.

 

I saw this group at the SOS being sold by a dealer who is one of the forum sponsors. Even though I don't particularly collect AAF items anymore, the group just "talked" to me, so I bought it. A little bit of sleuthing turned up both the sons, and after talking to one of them, I knew the group had to go back to the family (he never asked for it; just for copies of the letters.) I let them have it all for less than I paid for it, though it didn't matter...they were absolutely THRILLED to get it all, as these were the only military mementos that the family has, particularly poignant considering their dad gave his life for our country while in the military.

 

They received the group on Saturday, but before I packed it up, I snapped a couple of pictures with my phone so I could document the uniform and how truly nice it is. The jacket is US custom tailored, and named to the veteran. All of the insignia is Italian made. This is the first Italian made bullion observer wing I've ever seen, let alone owned, so I was really stoked to get the uniform just from that aspect. The rest of it is pretty incredible as well.

 

Without further ado...here's the Ike!

 

 

Attached Images

  • WIN1.jpg
  • WIN5.jpg
  • WIN2.jpg


#2 Dave

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Posted 30 March 2015 - 07:30 AM

And a couple more images...

Attached Images

  • WIN3.jpg
  • WIN4.jpg


#3 Dave

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Posted 30 March 2015 - 07:31 AM

As a side note...if anyone happens to have anything else from him, I would like to know. Drop me a PM...



#4 Dave

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Posted 30 March 2015 - 07:46 AM

Here's a newspaper clipping about his death...

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  • 3-30-2015 8-46-14 AM.jpg


#5 rustywings

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Posted 30 March 2015 - 08:05 AM

A terrific Ike...and a terrific gesture on your part Dave! 



#6 Rakkasan187

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Posted 30 March 2015 - 08:09 AM

Great story Dave and a wonderful gesture on your part that speaks volumes about your character..

 

Well done sir..

 

Leigh



#7 BagmanL6

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Posted 30 March 2015 - 08:10 AM

Dave - My utmost respect for doing that.



#8 GIKyle

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Posted 30 March 2015 - 08:12 AM

Absolutely first class, Dave - I am sure they will treasure not only the jacket, but your gesture for years to come.

Kyle

#9 Dave

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Posted 30 March 2015 - 08:48 AM

Thanks guys! It was really the right thing to do. I didn't start out with the intention of returning it; frankly, I just wanted to know more about the veteran. But when it became apparent that they had never even had the opportunity to have their own father's uniform and letters...well, it was an easy choice for me.

 

Their e-mail from this weekend was very touching, and reads in part:

 

We both want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your kindness and generosity in making sure these items have been reunited with family. It really is priceless and we so very very very much appreciate it....You are an exceptional man to do such an unselfish act of kindness.

 

That means more to me than having it in my collection, and I am still pretty excited that I was able to find the family and make the connection. :)



#10 355fg

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Posted 30 March 2015 - 08:58 AM

Wow!  That is a really nice jacket Dave.  I hope the family takes good care of everything.  Very nice gesture on your part, too.

 

Keith



#11 5thwingmarty

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Posted 30 March 2015 - 09:06 AM

Dave,

 

In case the family cares to know, he was a graduate of the bombardier school at Victorville in class 43-6.  I don't have the book for that specific class, but the blue Wings Over America book for Victorville happens to include this class and his photo is in it.  I have an extra copy of the book available if the family is interested in it.

 

Marty



#12 5thwingmarty

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Posted 30 March 2015 - 10:53 AM

Dave,

 

I looked his name up in a roster I have and also found he was in the 775th BS of the 463rd BG, the same as one of my uncles.  The 463rd has a very active historical society and a website where the family can connect with others interested in the 463rd BG. 

 

Marty



#13 Dave

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Posted 30 March 2015 - 10:59 AM

Marty-

 

Thank you so much for the extra info!

 

Dave



#14 Kadet

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Posted 30 March 2015 - 12:26 PM

Great story here Dave...good job!



#15 uniformcollector

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Posted 30 March 2015 - 12:55 PM

Beautiful uniform and very nice of you to reunite it with the family!



#16 jweitkamp

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Posted 30 March 2015 - 05:15 PM

You sir, are a class act.

#17 5thwingmarty

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Posted 30 March 2015 - 07:35 PM

I was able to scan a few photos and items from my books.

 

Attached Images

  • Donald F Winters-2.jpg


#18 5thwingmarty

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Posted 30 March 2015 - 07:37 PM

His crew photo and the men he was with when shot down.

 

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  • Donald F Winters crew picture.JPG
  • Donald F Winters crew list when shot down.JPG


#19 5thwingmarty

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Posted 30 March 2015 - 07:38 PM

Some of his decorations listed

 

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  • Donald F Winters decorations.JPG


#20 Dirk

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Posted 31 March 2015 - 12:47 AM

What an excellent jacket and even a better story! Dave that was a wonderful act of kindness. Thank you for doing that.

#21 PVON

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Posted 31 March 2015 - 04:41 AM

Just a very good story and Dave did the right thing! Super act of kindness!

Of course its a beautiful jacket and this thread is the kind where everyone walks away feeling good!

PVON

#22 Dave

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Posted 31 March 2015 - 05:29 AM

Thanks everyone! And particularly Marty for the images...wow! That's some fantastic info to have! Thank you!



#23 5thwingmarty

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Posted 31 March 2015 - 09:18 AM

Cool of you to let the family have the uniform back.  I'm always glad to help with info when I can.  I did the best resolution I could on the scans to get them to post.  If the family wants higher resolution ones of the photos get me an e-mail address and I can re-do those.

 

I also looked up the plane he was shot down on.  It was a PFF plane with no known name or artwork on it.  If the family contacts the 463rd BG they can get a listing of all the missions he flew and see if there was any plane his crew flew mostly on.



#24 chis

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Posted 01 April 2015 - 03:32 AM

Wow great uniform and story.

#25 Timberwolf

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Posted 01 April 2015 - 11:58 AM

Great uniform Dave, and a great thing you did for the family!




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