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WWII Bombardier Group - 15th AAF

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I just acquired this group.  The Bombardier, James A. Pence, flew 35 missions in Italy in 1944-45.  I originally bought just the spotter cards, but realized Pence’s group was being parted out on eBay, and was subsequently able buy most of the set.  I hated the thought that Pence’s history was going to be lost.  He just died in 2019, he never married, no kids, no immediate family.  The knife is interesting.  I originally thought it was theatre made, but after posting It on the knife forum, I found a very similar knife on page 187 of Michael Silvey’s WWII knife book.  The non-military ID is his Dad’s pilot’s license.  I inquired on the forum if his dad could have possibly been a WWI pilot - that does not seem to be the case.  I can only imagine that the compass was carried in the event he was shot down, he could land navigate.  No telling how many times the cigarette case accompanied him to Ploesti.  







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Great Group. That is a beautiful knife. What do you know about him being shot down? I was lucky enough to get a small group from an airman who was shot down over France about a month before D Day. He evaded capture and waited for the allies to liberate Paris before rejoining the Air Corps. 

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Nice find and happy you were able to get the grouping to preserve as there were no immediate family to pass down to. 👌🏼

WANTED: Any and all Civil War items relating to the regiments mustered out of Syracuse, NY during the War of the Rebellion, 122nd NY Infantry, 149th NY Infantry and 185th NY INfantry. Anything relating to Colonel/Brig. General Henry A. Barnum.


Also wanted WW1 medals from Solvay, NY and Fayetteville, NY. All e-mails answered.


Member of American Civil War Research Database.

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Here is his Air Medal award card, looks like he would've received two OLCs with it.  It also looks like he went overseas as a Flight Officer (F/O).  



I also happened to have the GOs that both of his OLCs were awarded on (sorry I don't have the first one, probably January timing), see below.  






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Glad you were able to keep this grouping together. I have no respect for people who break groupings up strictly for profit. I have rescued several in the past.

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Very nice window into an American airman.


I much rather save groups than split them up.




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Austin.  Thanks for providing his award citations, I had not seen them.  After acquiring this group, I bought a copy of “Forgotten Fifteenth” by Barrett Tillman.  The casualty rate of the air crew during the time LT. Pence flew, was extremely high.  Those men were hero’s.  The chances of any one crew member surviving 34 missions, was probably about zero.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

A really nice group---- I like the photos


In Memory of Air Corps Technical Sergeant Carl F. Durfee. He died of wounds on 30 December 1944 while serving in the South Pacific. You are not forgotten.

ASMIC member

American Legion member

US Air Force & Air National Guard TAC - MAC

JOHN N. DANIELS ---152nd COMPANY C New York State Infantry--- captured 1864 survivor of Andersonville ---- Great-Great-Great Uncle

Captain Robert L. Hosler, 522nd Fighter/Bomber Sq. 12th Army Air Corp. World War Two P47 Pilot - 1 DFC- 5 Air Medal & 0ne Purple Heart---Uncle

1st Sgt Ann Barry, US Army Air Corp WAC World War Two --ETO --- Aunt

Sgt Willam M. Barry, USMC----Pacific World War Two--Father



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