for an outstanding job on your f irst strike against the Japanese Mainland.
This accomplishment is proof that every member of your team has done
his part in a superior manner. Well done."
-26 Feb 1945, from Brig Gen John H. Davies, Commanding
General, 313th Bomb Wing.
people of the Sixth Bomb Group earned many awards for their combat operations.
Their achievements were outstanding, and they received medals and commendations
appropriate to their heroic deeds. Over 2250 combat awards were made
to Sixth men individually in addition to the Group's four campaign stars
to its Asiatic-Pacific Theater ribbon and its two Distinguished Unit
The Legion of Merit,
the highest individual award received by any Sixth man, was presented
to Col Kenneth H. Gibson, the Group Commanding Officer, in August. The
award was for his outstanding services in leading the Sixth for fourteen
months of training and combat. While a member of the Sixth, the Colonel
was also awarded an Oak Leaf Cluster to the Distinguished Flying Cross
for his achievements in leading the Group on the first of the March Blitz
missions over Tokyo.
Nine members of the
Group were awarded the Silver Star medal for gallantry in action. Four
of these awards were to airplane commanders, Capt Arthur M. Clay, Jr.,
Lt Jay K. Anderson and Lt Jack A. Henshaw of the 39th Squadron, and Lt
Sam A. Parks, 24th Squadron. Lt Anderson and Lt Parks were decorated for
their actions in bringing battle-damaged planes back to home fields on
the Tokyo mission of 23 May. Capt Clay's award was for gallantry after
the 25 May mission in bringing his ship to Iwo Jima where all crew members
bailed out. Lt Henshaw's gallant action was on the Yawata mission of 7
August. His skill in flying his damaged aircraft to Okinawa for an emergency
landing saved the lives of the entire crew.
Sgt Richard Neel,
a member of Capt Clay's crew, received the Silver Star for staying at
his post while wounded to assist in bringing the aircraft to Iwo Jima.
There, he was bailed out within one hundred yards of a hospital.
Sgt Fannon and Sgt
Slotter, both of the 24th Squadron, were awarded the Silver Star for their
actions in manning their guns although wounded on the 7 April mission
to Nagoya. Their fire staved off Jap fighters and saved the plane.
Lt Milton Garfinkle
and S/Sgt Herman L. Anderson, bombardier and left gunner respectively
on Capt Ramsey's crew of the 24th Squadron, were awarded Silver Stars
for their gallantry in manning their positions after being wounded over
officers and men were awarded the Soldier's Medal for heroism in saving
the lives of comrades. Sgt Albert and Sgt Lyczko of Lt Steel's crew of
the 40th Squadron, were awarded the medal for their actions on 13 March
in searching a burning airplane for a trapped comrade. Capt Dean J. Mutch,
24th Squadron airplane comander, received the award for saving the lives
of his co-pilot and bombardier on the night of 22 April. On one mission
his plane was forced to crash land at West Field, and after escaping from
the burning plane, he returned to rescue two of his crew members. Unfortunately,
no information is available concerning the award of the other twenty-one Soldier's Medals.
members of the Sixth Group were wounded in action and awarded the Purple
Heart. First of these was awarded to Sgt Joe Duggan for wounds in action
on the 19 February Tokyo raid. Several of the Purple Heart awards were made
posthumously to Sixth men killed-in-action.
Oak Leaf Clusters
to the Distinguished Flying Cross were presented to forty-one Sixth combat
men, and 486 men received the Distinguished Flying Cross. Eight hundred
ninety-six officers and men were awarded the Air Medal and 1680 combat
crew members received Oak Leaf Clusters to the Air Medal. Awards were
made in this manner: five combat missions, the Air Medal; thirteen missions,
one Oak Leaf Cluster to the Air Medal; twenty-one missions, a second Oak
Leaf Cluster; twenty-nine missions, the third Oak Leaf Cluster. Twenty-one
missions, if any of them were outstandingly successful, earned the Distinguished
Bronze Star Medal
awards were made to sixty-five officers and men. Four of these were awarded
to engineering personnel after the March Blitz. Recipients were Major
Baum, Capt Deterding, Capt Mudroch, and M/Sgt Beach. Capt Johnston was
awarded this medal in August for directing ordnance activities all during
the war. Major Speers and Major Tatum of Group Headquarters received the
award in September. Crew chiefs were awarded this medal if their planes
flew eighteen missions without an abort. No other information is available
as to the award of Bronze Star Medals.
Campaign battle stars
awarded Sixth personnel as a Group were the Aerial Offensive Against Japan,
Western Pacific Campaign Star, Eastern Mandates Campaign Star and the
China Offensive, Battle Star. These four stars will be worn on the Asiatic-Pacific
Theater ribbon by Sixth men in the Group during the period of these campaigns.
These awards and the blue bars of the unit citations to be worn on the
right breast of the uniform make the Sixth Group one of the heaviest decorated
units in the 20th Air Force.
the medals were held in April, July and September. Brig Gen Davies attended
the April 23rd presentation, Col Gibson presented medals to Group personnel
at the Starlite Theater on the night of 21 July, and Lt Col Tucker presented
awards to Sixth men in September.