List of Decorations Documents
1. Undated and untitled 2 page document which awards Col. Chennault the Third grade Yun-mo order (No. 115) The Cloud and Banner.
Notes: This list appears to be for the Christmas action in Rangoon since it is primarily 3rd squadron personnel. Only four first squadron pilots are included.
Appropriately Col. Chennault is awarded the first medal: Third Class Cloud and Banner #115.
This is the first evidence of unique treatment for those pilots who died. Sandell died Feb. 7, 1942 after reaching 5 aerial victories. However his spot for Wing Star notice is BLANK.
This document supports the photograph of R. T. Smith and Chuck Older wearing their Fifth Class Order of the Cloud and Banner medals with their Five Star Wing medals.
2. Undated 3 pg. "A Complete Name-list of Decorations" from Stanford U. archives. This is supported by a work copy of the first two pages of above document from Anna Chennault's records - with handwriting in margins.
Notes: This appears to be the list used for the awards made in Kunming June 6, 1942. This document is time stamped by John Ed Blackburn being marked (deceased). He died April 26, 1942.
This document shows that some time elapses between an air victory and its confirmation. Little's #10 victory of April 11, 1942 is not recorded here.
This is the second evidence of unequal treatment for the deceased. The two Squadron Leaders, Newkirk and Sandell, are listed for the 5th grade Cloud and Banner but not for any wing medals although they had 7 and 5 air victories respectively. Sandell died Feb. 7, 1942 and Newkirk on March 24, 1942. The copy of this document from Anna Chennault's records shows Sandell's award of a wing medal marked out by hand.
Cole and Merritt are not mentioned for Cloud and Banner medals nor Wing Star medals, in spite of their one air victory each, only certificates for combat merit.
William McGarry is also missing from this list as he was missing in action on March 24, 1942. His 8 air victories would entitle him to both Cloud and Banner (5th) and Wing Star medal (8), but he is not on the list.
The segregation of Blackburn, Hoffman, Merritt and Cole from their respective squadrons indicates separate treatment. Even in this segregation the treatment is inconsistent. The first two are in for medals, while the last two are not. It appears that the Chinese Government has not yet arrived at a clear policy on KIA/POW/MIA status and medals.
3. Undated 1 page document entitled: "A CHART OF THE RECORDS OF THE PILOTS FORMERLY AND NOW RECOMMENDED."
Notes: This worksheet is an update to Exhibit 2 above. It does include Little's April 8, 1942 victory, Older's and Smith's April 28, 1942 victories, Tex Hill's May 5, 1942 victory, but not Burgard's, Rossi's, and Rosbert's June 12th victories.
This document is most useful for its delineation of air victories and ground credits.
4. Undated 2 pages of 3 page untitled document from Anna Chennault's records. The headings on these documents are: "RANK ` NAME ` DECORATIONS & MEDAL ` NUMBER OF CERTIFICATE".
Notes: The timeline for this document is after May 16, 1942, the date of Thomas Jones death. It is before the confirmation of the June 12, 1942 victories of Rossi and Rosbert. It does include the April 28, 1942 victories for Chuck Older and R. T. Smith.
The KIA status is still not certain because this document upgrades R. L. Little to a Ten Star Medal #4, but no Fourth Order Cloud and Banner. This is just the reverse of the treatment of Sandell and Newkirk. Little's DOD is 5-22-42.
On the POW front this document downgrades William McGarry to a Distinguished Certificate
This appears to be the official upgrade from Exhibit 2 above and reflects all the changes set out by Exhibit 3 in an official list with the numbers of the individual decorations.
5. Undated 1 page document entitled: "TABLE OF THE NUMBERS OF THE CERTIFICATES, THE DECORATIONS AND MEDALS HAVE BEEN CONFERRED"
This document confers the "Violet" certificate #458 to Bob Neale. This is the same award which is made by Chennault's letter dated January 22, 1943 to Bob Neale. These certificates appear to be linked to the Cloud and Banner medals issued to these pilots. The certificates have the same number as the C & B medals.
6. Undated 2? page document entitled "DECORATIONS" which appointed Gen. Chennault "COMMANDER of the ORDER OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE" which continued with the final sentence; "The Chinese Government conferred the following decorations:"
Notes: This appears to be a final list of upgrades of Cloud and Banner Medals. The list reflects the victories on June 12, 1942, and probably all the action up until July 4, 1942.
The list shows the 4th grade Cloud and Banner awarded to the following: G.T. Burgard, D.L. Hill, C.H. Older, and R.T. Smith. These were the awards conferred by personal letters from Gen. Chennault dated January 22, 1943.
This list is notable for its absence of the names of the A.V.G. members who died or were missing during the A.V.G. campaign. The list does not include: Little, Sandell, Newkirk, Blackburn, Hoffman, Cole, Donovan, Jones, Merritt, Mott, McGarry... This is the last piece of evidence `showing' no Cloud and Banner and Wing Star medals to KIA/POW/MIA status.
7. Four letters January 22, 1943 to George Burgard, Robert Neale, Charles Older, and Peter Wright making final A.V.G. awards to each.
Notes: This confirms Charles Older's nine Star Wing medal. This document also gives a time line to Exhibits 5 and 6.
8. January 15, 1943 `cover' letter from Gen. Chennault listing three tables regarding medals conferred to A.V.G. members. None on the list exactly describes any of the previous 7 exhibits. The table closest to #3 in the cover letter would be the attached undated 3 page: "A TABLE OF THE NUMBERS OF THE DECORATIONS AND MEDALS AND THEIR CERTIFICATES TO BE RETURNED" from Anna Chennault's records. This record has Charles Bond returning a Six Star Wing Medal and George Burgard returning an Eight Star Wing Medal presumably issued on June 6, 1942.
9. An undated document entitled "A NAME-LIST FOR DECORATIONS". At first glance this would appear to be a check list for the medals awarded June 6, 1942. The only problem is that Reed, Jernstedt, and Prescott are not checked off on the list, and all three were present for the June 6th ceremonies. Fritz Wolf, who was present, is not on the list. Once again, an imperfect list.
Note: Someone believed Cole and Merritt should each receive 1-Star Wing medals. The KIA policy is still in question.
Notes to all documents in exhibits 1 - 9: The following pilots did not fulfill their contracts with the A.V.G. and CAMCO and do not appear on any of the lists above: Noel Bacon, Percy Bartlet, Donald Bernsdorf, Morris Bohman, Gregory Boyington, Elmer Cook, Albert Criz, Henry Fuller, Ralph Gunvordahl, Raymond Hastey, Leo Houle, John Kelleher, Donald Knapp, Maurice McGuire, Edwin Rushton, Gail Stubbs, Estes Swindle, Stanley Wallace, Robert Walroth, Eugene Watson, and Richard White. These individuals, regardless or the number of victories, failed to complete their contracts with CAMCO and received no medals.
A total of 106 pilots landed in the Orient with CAMCO, forty two (42) received the Cloud and Banner and Wing Star medals. Less than 40% of the pilots hired for the A.V.G. received medals. Fifty nine (59) completed their contracts and were honorably discharged. Only 56% completed their duty and returned to the US. Of the 83 who did not violate their contracts, 24 died in China or were POW/MIA's. This is almost a 30% casualty rate; a significant number for any theater of the war.
Each and every document supports the premise that those pilots who died in China received only certificates. They did not receive Cloud and Banner nor Wing Star medals.