World's Rarest Medal
The Chinese Air Force (CAF) accounted for themselves very well in the early years of their conflict with the Japanese. The Chinese Air Force (CAF) flew bi-planes and other older model aircraft in their conflict with the Japanese. They accounted for a great number of victories. These Chinese victories came at a great cost in pilots and aircraft, effectively putting the CAF out of business by the late 1930's. The Chinese Government instituted the Wing Star Medal on May 5, 1928, and many were awarded for the victories of the brave Chinese pilots. (This courtesy of Mark Chao and ROC Ministry of Defense publication dated 1985)
With the arrival of the AVG, the Chinese Government renewed their Air Force with modern fighter aircraft and American pilots. In December 1941 the Japanese chose to challenge this small force of less than 100 pilots. This would prove costly for the Japanese. The conflict between the Chinese and Japanese governments continued only until July 4, 1942 when the AVG was disbanded and the U. S. Army Air Corps took over. The members of the AVG were awarded wing star medals for their victories as were previous CAF pilots.
The AVG pilots were awarded approximately 42 Wing Star Medals (not counting those which were upgraded). The entire issue of all Wing Star Medals by the Chinese Government is therefore very limited in quantity. It appears from the numbers on the reverse of the wing medals that approximately 150 Wing Star Medals of all grades were issued by the Chinese Government.
George was issued his Ten Star Wing Medal by letter from Gen. Claire Lee Chennault dated January 22, 1943.
The records available point to only two Ten Star Wing Medals, Numbers (1) George Burgard and (2) Bob Neale. Bob Neale's Ten Star Wing Medal, and other personal memorabilia is on display at the San Diego Aerospace Museum. This makes the Ten Star Wing Medal the world's rarest military decoration.
Here is Dad's diary entry for the day he reached 10 victories: See also Prints.
June 12, 1942 Kweilin
Friday -- Up at 3 A.M. to finish planning our dirty work and believe it or not -- it worked exactly as we hoped it would. Got the first warning at 5:25 and took off circling to the northwest out of sight of the field. 35 minutes later Sasser, the radio man, called us and said “come in boys, the weather is fine.” We hightailed it to the field and caught 21 Japs right over the field. Five were bombers, five were new 2-engine fighters patterned on the ME-110, and 11 were I-97’s. We cleaned house getting 13, nine of which are already confirmed. I got one of the pseudo ME-110’s after fighting it for nearly 75 miles, and a fighter. Should have had another but missed a good shot. Bond was shot down again and landed in a rice paddy. He got two cuts on his forehead, but is O.K. Wright also got shot down and burned on landing. He was hurt only slightly.
P40-C F.A.V.G. Kweilin Kweilin Caught Japs - got fighter & ME-110 2:25