Grantham of Wilmington, North Carolina enlisted in the US Army Air Forces in August 1942, and served as a B-17 "Flying Fortress" waist gunner as part of the 748th Bomb Squadron, 457th Bomb Group, 8th Air Force during WW2. Sergeant Grantham flew 35 missions with the 748th on daylight bombing missions against key German communication centers, oil refineries, and industrial complexes in Frankfurt, Cologne, and Berlin, among others. He was awarded the Air Medal with silver oak leaf cluster, as well as the Purple Heart, the latter for taking a piece of flak in the hip on October 15, 1944 on a bombing mission over Cologne. On February 16, 1945, on his 34th mission, his B-17 was forced down in a village in Holland, luckily in Allied hands by that time. This US Army AAF WW2 8TH AF 457TH BG B-17 BOMBER WAIST GUNNER HAND ENGRAVED AIR MEDAL is in near mint condition, with only some light bending evident to the back pin (ALL pictured).
Otherwise, the medal is in near mint shape, with absolutely no cracking, rips, holes, tears, or other damage. Most interestingly, it carries S/SGT. 15, 1944 elegantly hand engraved along the back pendant. September 15, 1944 was the date that Sergeant Grantham was first awarded the Air Medal, and his citation read: For meritorious achievement while participating in sustained bomber combat operations over Germany and German occupied countries. The courage, coolness, and skill displayed by these Officers and Enlisted Men upon these occasions reflect great credit upon themselves and the Armed Forces of the United States.
The medal boasts a vibrant drape, sports the crisp, original pendant, and features a full wrap brooch. It bears a fully functional pin and rolling "C" catch fastener at the upper back, and is complete with the original "AIR MEDAL" box in excellent condition, with two surface tears in the upper left back lid, some light surface stress cracking to the rest of that lid, the velvet lining having pulled away from the metal retention "tongue" inside, a bit of dark soiling at the upper satin lining of the lid, and with some light scattered age wear evident (ALL pictured). Otherwise, the box is in excellent shape, with no other damage to the tough black leatherette covered metal construction. Most interestingly, it exhibits "AIR MEDAL" marked in gold along the middle front lid, as well as flowing gold decorative lines throughout, contains the original pin back Air Medal ribbon bar and extruded back Air Medal lapel pin inside, and the set is a beautiful example of a very rare, original US Army AAF WW2 8TH AF 457TH BG B-17 BOMBER WAIST GUNNER HAND ENGRAVED AIR MEDAL.We have shown a photo of Sergeant Grantham's enlistment record, a copy of which will be included with the medal. GOVERNMENT at the left front. The item "US Army AAF WW2 8TH AF 457TH BG B-17 BOMBER WAIST GUNNER HAND ENGRAVED AIR MEDAL" is in sale since Saturday, February 22, 2020.
This item is in the category "Collectibles\Militaria\WW II (1939-45)\Original Period Items\United States\Medals & Ribbons". The seller is "abramsantiques" and is located in Claremont, California. This item can be shipped worldwide.