Awarded for heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight to any person whilst serving with the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corp and Coast Guard the Distinguished Flying Cross was established in July 1926 and at that time was the highest aviation honour its first recipient being Charles Lindbergh for his Atlantic solo flight in 1927.
Members of Foreign Military Forces whilst serving with the US Forces are also eligible for this award and that’s why this award along with the Air medal is quite readily available in the UK with these awards being given to serving UK military during WW2. For his flight to and from the North Pole Commander Richard E. Byrd was the first person to receive this award for the US Navy in 1927. Other recipients include James H Dolittle, the Wright Brothers and Amelia Earhart.
There were many DFC’s awarded during World War 2 especially to those airmen of the 8th & 9th Air Force while stationed in the United Kingdom. 1st Lt Ray Gainey USAAF 398th Bomb Group was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross 10th November 1944. Other recipients of the DFC in the 398th were 1st Lt Hollis Dalton 6th September 1944 and 1st Lt Mervyn H Honshuh 10th September 1944. They all flew missions in B17G Georgia Peach 43-37874 30W of the 398th Bomb Group, 601st Squadron.
Georgia Peach flew 52 missions from 19th July 1944 to 25th April 1945.
The 398th was part of 1st Bomb wing/1st Air Division and flew from RAF Base Nuthampstead, Hertfordshire, England, which was operational from April 1944 to May 1945 (inactivated Sept 45). There were 4 bomb squadrons in the 398th, 600th, 601st, 602nd & 603rd and were recognizable by their Red tail marking and a “W” in a triangle.
1st Lt Ray Gainey, on board Georgia Peach.
1st Lt R.E Brown and crew flew in B17G Georgia Peach 4th August 1944.
Nuthampstead Airfield as of 9th July 1946. (Wikipedia).
With thanks to Geoff Rice for the Ray Gainey and R.E.Brown Air Crew photograph and Information courtesy of the 398th Bomb Group Memorial Association. RAF Nuthampstead has long been disused but there is a Memorial to the 398th plus a Museum dedicated to those who served there in WW2. The 398th Bomb Group Memorial Association has lots of history and information about the Squadrons including the 55th Fighter Group which was also based at Nuthampstead.