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Display and Book about Vietnam 497 TFS Pilot - Major Frank Walsh


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Finally posting this! First off, thanks to many members on here who helped me with info, IDs, and items for my project! This was definitely a group effort!

 

My Uncle (Mom's youngest sister's husband) had an older half-bro who he always "idolized", so to say. We grew up hearing about Uncle's brother "F.A." who died in Vietnam. Never really knew the story, though. Summer of 2017, Mom, Sis, and I went to visit Gramma in Florida and Aunt Lori came up and brought a briefcase of the papers and pictures about FA that they had. First time I ever heard the story of his death. Well, I decided that it would be fun to make a small display for Uncle Jack, as a present. I saw a picture of F.A. and I had a cap and cap device like his and thought of making a display. All began there . . .

 

So, Aunt Lori and I ordered FA's records from NARA on the sly form Uncle Jack, and started there. That gave us some basic service info and medals, etc. What was amazing, was that they sent a copy of a fabulous USAF file picture of FA in full uniform, not long before his death. So, with help from members on here, I was able to ID all the ribbons on his rack.

 

I started with the idea of a display and then a file folder with the records. However . . . I started digging into the 497th TFS, and through lots of searching, I found three USAF vets who served with FA (who is know as Frank to all who knew him in the service), including one of his best buddies in the 497th. That was amazing! Not only facts, but stories! Uncle Jack was a young boy when FA was killed, and he didn't really "know" his brother, so I was thrilled!

 

Well, the file folder soon seemed a terrible idea, so I started making a shutterfly.com book. These can be very time-consuming, but are so super nice! Well, it got larger and larger, the more that I found out about FA and his service.

 

I did the book in the Fall of 2018, as we had tickets to go to FLA that December, and I wanted to take it down, as a Christmas/Birthday present. So, My Aunt and I ordered the book, and I received it in time. Got the display finished in the nick of time. Then, that November, Dad was diagnosed with the cancer and we had to cancel the trip. So, I sent the book down as a Christmas present, but kept the display, as I couldn't ship it.

 

Finally, this past December, we got to visit Gramma, and I took the display down with me (carrying that large thing on board an airliner was quite the experience!) and left it for Uncle Jack to open on Christmas. :)

 

I haven't been able to share this on here, or post anything, as Uncle Jack searches online for info about his bro, and I didn't want him to find this and have my post spill the beans! Now that he has it, though, I finally get to share this and say thanks to all who helped me with this project! It was super fun to get to do something like this as a present. :)

 

Here is a link to the book I made, which tells the whole story and has all the pics and memories, etc. :

 

Here is the finished display. The case is from Hobby Lobby, and the inside area is 16x20". The front is a hinged glass door, so you can easily access the display, which I really like, as there is something really cool about being able to touch things.

 

The Tactical Air Force patch is actually from the friend of FA. The name is actually a pencil rubbing from the Vietnam Memorial Wall!

 

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Many members had a hand in creating this, and I am super grateful for all the help! My very favorite thing to do is collect items to make display for family members. I do them as I save up enough to buy the items, so it is a fun way to share with others!

Elizabeth

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If you ever want a custom hand-embroidered (no machine) patch, I'm open to commissions! Pay or trade!
***********************
For an idea of my military collecting interests and wish list, see my profile page!
Looking for Old-Style US Coast Guard Commendation Medal (w/ or w/o ribbon)!

Oh, tarry and be strong; Tell God in prayer. What is thy hidden grief; Thy secret care.

Yet, if no answer come; Pray on and wait: God's time is always best; Never too late.

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I don't know if the above book link works correctly, so here is another try:

 

https://stratasfan.shutterfly.com/pictures/8

donation2018.gif

If you ever want a custom hand-embroidered (no machine) patch, I'm open to commissions! Pay or trade!
***********************
For an idea of my military collecting interests and wish list, see my profile page!
Looking for Old-Style US Coast Guard Commendation Medal (w/ or w/o ribbon)!

Oh, tarry and be strong; Tell God in prayer. What is thy hidden grief; Thy secret care.

Yet, if no answer come; Pray on and wait: God's time is always best; Never too late.

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I also painted a leather patch with the design that the 497th painted on their fighter engine cowlings:

 

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Gave this to Uncle Jack, too, to use on his guitar case or something. He had his guitar (he plays in a band) painted with the owl and his bro's name, etc. :)

donation2018.gif

If you ever want a custom hand-embroidered (no machine) patch, I'm open to commissions! Pay or trade!
***********************
For an idea of my military collecting interests and wish list, see my profile page!
Looking for Old-Style US Coast Guard Commendation Medal (w/ or w/o ribbon)!

Oh, tarry and be strong; Tell God in prayer. What is thy hidden grief; Thy secret care.

Yet, if no answer come; Pray on and wait: God's time is always best; Never too late.

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Bravo Elizabeth - what results!

A powerful reminder that this hobby isn't all about money and stuff!

Thanks for sharing and God Bless you and yours!

And I looked, and Behold a Pale Horse:

And his name that sat upon him was death,

and Hell followed with him.

Revelation Chapter 6, verse 8

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In that shadow box, the flight cap is all wrong. First of all, that is an enlisted cap. Officers caps had blue and silver piping not all blue like the one shown. The badge on your cap is for an officers service cap, not a flight cap. No insignia was to be worn on the enlisted cap. Officers wore full size pin-on rank on their flight caps.

Otherwise, you have a very nice display there.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Didn't know about the piping. However, as to the badge, you aren't entirely correct there according to one vet. I actually was writing with one of the pilots who was with FA on the day this photo was taken (when they got their pilot wings, after having a big party the night before, and they were totally hung over when they got their pics taken. -grin-) . I sent him pics of the badge, and he said that is what they wore a lot. So, here is the pic, and that is what a USAF vet told me. And he went on to serve over 20 years and rose to LT-Col. So, two wore it, anyway. I just went by the picture and what the friend told me.

 

Slipped up on the piping, but it was close, and to be totally honest, I probably wouldn't have paid for a different one at that point, anyway. It took me a year to save up for the stuff as it was, and I really wanted to add a full-size PH medal. However, it didn't happen in this one. :) But, overall, I was happy with it and my Uncle and Aunt and Cousin were thrilled.

 

post-151812-0-10116200-1556278283.jpg

donation2018.gif

If you ever want a custom hand-embroidered (no machine) patch, I'm open to commissions! Pay or trade!
***********************
For an idea of my military collecting interests and wish list, see my profile page!
Looking for Old-Style US Coast Guard Commendation Medal (w/ or w/o ribbon)!

Oh, tarry and be strong; Tell God in prayer. What is thy hidden grief; Thy secret care.

Yet, if no answer come; Pray on and wait: God's time is always best; Never too late.

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Very awesome display. Something to be proud of, both your relative's service, and your memorial to him.

And I learned something too, I don't remember ever seeing the AF badge worn on a flight cap either while I was in the AF, but there were lots of variations on where/how things were worn over the years, especially out in the field.

Thanks for sharing.

David

David
U.S. Air Force 1979-1986 ... Served in the Air Force Communications Command
Collecting U.S. Military Uniform Buttons and U.S. Air Force Communications Patches.

US Military Uniform Buttons Interesting Facts

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/173001-us-military-uniform-buttons-interesting-facts/

 

Wanted: USAF Communications patches (link below)

https://docs.google....ZjgyZDc5NzFiOGE


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