Monday, September 27, 2010

Military Monday - The Air Medal & Oak Leaf Cluster

I have written often about my grandfather William Patrick Bellew's time in WWII and my fight to get replacements of his medals from the military.   I have been doing a bit of research on those medals - their criteria specifically, that I wanted to share, and show the documents received when they were awarded to him

This is my grandfather's air medal, awarded on 29 March 1944.
When the Air Medal was awarded to him, he received a slip of paper which he sent home to my Grandmother.    Here's the document:

A couple of questions came up when I found this (isn't that always the way for us?)   I knew that he was part of the 331st bomb squadron, yet someone crossed that out and put "333" just below it.  Also, at the top right corner it states "for five missions" and the "five" is crossed out and in the details it states that he is awarded this medal "For exceptionally meritorious achievement while participating in seperate bomber combat missions over enemy occupied continental Europe".    While researching his military history I had found others who explained to me that yes, these were given after five missions, but others were awarded for the "exceptionally meritorious achievement" as well.  Having his mission diary, we know for sure that he flew his fifth mission on 23 March 1944, so this could have been awarded either way, but I especially love the comments "The courage, coolness and skill displayed by this Enlisted Man..."  My Granddad was brave and cool!

The little Oak Leaf Cluster on the ribbon is for a second award - given instead of another full medal.    Here's the documents for the Oak Leaf Clusters he received :

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