Tag Archives: Distinguished Flying Cross

Dad’s Citations: Distinguished Flying Crosses “Heroism and Extraordinary Achievement” x 2 (and Purple Heart)

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And then, three months later:

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The Distinguished Flying Cross, after 1942, is ranked two steps above the Bronze Star. The two Citations are for both “heroism” and “extraordinary achievement.” Sometimes ribboned medals have a “V” device for “Valor”, synonymous with heroism. I’ve seen military sites which distinguish separated reasons for receiving the DFC, so that one receives the DFC for either “extraordinary achievement” or for “heroism”. In that case, one would think that one would receive the “V” device for “Valor” if issued in the case of heroism, or, as in the two citations above, for both simultaneously. But that’s not the case. Instead, if I’m not mistaken, the DFC is always and only issued when heroism, valor, is indicated along with extraordinary achievement.

I gotta wonder if the reference in the first Citation on September 6, 1951 to “intense and accurate hostile ground fire which damaged his plane” is the occasion for the Purple Heart which dad also received. I’ve no citation for that (not yet found anyway), just a copy of the official listed record and the medals. I do remember him describing the extensive damage to his plane from getting shot at in a certain battle.

He said that he had to crash his plane. If this battle was the occasion, it means that “despite” having received that ground fire, he kept on flying and destroying tanks and strafing enemy troops, that is, after he sent the rest of his pilots onwards. His Checkerboard F4U Corsair would have had fully six fifty cals in the wings. I can only imagine that this a smallish version of “The Highway of Death”:

purple heart

I had asked dad how he escaped back to base after he crashed. Stupid me. His own Marines, he said, saved him. Of course. Not just a band of brothers, but they would have been particularly immediately thankful for his having singlehandedly saved their backsides. He might have been damaged in his own backside on that occasion, not only from the hostile guns aiming at him, but from the crash itself. In looking at the date for the second DFC, December 29 of the same year, it means he was back flying in no time.

  • Is it a Patriotic to make such reviews? Sure.
  • Is it a son who honors his father? Certainly.

Is it also me trying to understand better the decades I had with my father (33 years together)? Absolutely. Knowing some of the situations that he was in, and how very many he killed in battle, seeing those soldiers right in front of him being ripped in half by his fifty cal low pass strafings would take their toll regardless if they were they enemy shooting (successfully) at him. That’s something you carry.

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Dad’s medals Distinguished Flying Cross Fascinating title for the propeller

George Byers Jr Distinguished Flying Cross 1

And then the Gold Star, that is, for the USMC, a device indicating the second reception of the DFC:

George Byers Jr Distinguished Flying Cross 2

That’s all I have for this one, with the Navy Personnel Command in Millington TN only sending a box checked next to the title and noting the Gold Star. I wish I knew more about the particularities. As both notifications say at the Hall of Valor Project, “Citation Needed”. I’m thinking that the citations are classified, the reason for extra-effort to write a “synopsis.”

I remember that as a little boy, dad explained that this was the Distinguished Flying Cross, a propeller over a cross. To me, this was stunning, an intersection of society and religion, of military service and religion, the highest form of honor that could be given to a war-award, thought I, that which recalled the the epic battle of heaven over against hell, of Jesus over against the forces of evil, recalling that this battle was that of the greatest love, laying down one’s life for one’s friends, the greatest form of patriotism. “What’s the Gold Star?” I asked. “For receiving it twice,” he said. “Twice” thought I, in awe.

I would then grab a plastic model of the Corsair dad flew, and run about inside the house and out, pretending to be the pilot in battle, and inspired.

corsair checkerboard squadron wr 5

Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 312, the Checkerboarders, callsign “Check!” Note that the model above depicts the final, most powerful version of the plane that could out-fly all the early jets to follow.

Note the three holes on the front edge of both wings, making for fully six 50 cals that could run at the same time, a kind of precursor to the A-10 “Warthog” that, to date, still surpasses the rate of fire of the Warthog.

  • Today’s A-10 “Warthog” can belt out seventy rounds a second from its single 50 cal gatling gun.
  • The later, Korean war version of the Corsair, fitted with fully six AN/M2 Browning 50 cals could, in theory, put out a maximum of eighty five rounds a second.

Actually, anything faster than this simply is no longer useful and such a waste of ammo, which already weighs way too much.

The missiles, dad explained, were used for the usual sorties of taking out munitions trains and bridges.

During such excursions, he said that he would be flying in “North” Korea just above the ground, over rice paddies, and that the farmers would look up at him as he flew just overhead. He said he could see the faces of women and children, and that that’s what inspired him to serve and put himself at risk. It was all for them. They deserved better than horrific communism which was dragging them down and which threatened to drag us down. If you want to know what “down” is, try the hell-hole of Venezuela right now, or, still to this day, “North” Korea as opposed to “South” Korea.

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