9th AF Patch

416th Bombardment Group (L)

Individual

Awards, Honors

and Commendations

 

WWII-Medal

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In addition to the Group and Squadron Awards, Honors and Commendations, many Soldiers in the 416th Bomb Group received Individual Awards, Medals, Ribbons and Commendation Letters in honor of their service.
While these individual awards vary for each Soldier, some of them known to have been awarded are described below.

A number 416th BG Soldiers also served in other units before and/or after their time in the 416th. Some served in the Pacific Theater of Operations, some with other units in the ETO, some with the Canadian and or British Royal Air Forces, etc. These men may have recieved Awards during their service with these other units, but those Awards are not described on this web page because the focus is on the Individual Honors awarded during an Individual's 416th BG service.

Additionally, Soldiers who served in Units Supporting the 416th BG may have recieved Awards not described here.


American and European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medals

Executive Order (EO) No. 9265, November 6, 1942 (Announced in War Department Bulletin 56, 1942, Amended by: EO 9706, March 15, 1946)
Established the American, European-African-Middle Eastern and Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medals.

Soldiers who fulfilled the defined requirements of service within these areas during WWII, should have been Awarded the corresponding Campaign Medals/Ribbons.
Because the 416th BG did not serve in the Pacific Theater, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal/Ribbon is not included on this page.

Click on the image or name hyperlink for more details.

     
American Campaign Medal/Ribbon       European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal/Ribbon
(Images courtesy Air Force's Personnel Center Fact Sheets)



Campaigns/Battles



The 416th Bomb Group and Squadrons were awarded Battle Participation Credit in the the following WWII Campaigns.
Soldiers who served in the Group during these time periods were also awarded the corresponding Campaign Credit.
Air Offensive, Europe; 4 Jul 1942 to 5 Jun 1944 (WD GO 85, 1945)
Normandy; 6 Jun to 24 Jul 1944 (WD GO 102, 1945)
Northern France; 25 Jul to 14 Sep 1944 (WD GO 103, 1945)
Ardennes; 16 Dec 1944 to 25 Jan 1945 (WD GO 114, 1945)
Central Europe; 22 Mar to 11 May 1945 (WD GO 116, 1945)
Rhineland; 15 Sep 1944 to 21 Mar 1945 (WD GO 118, 1945)
("Rhineland" Campaign was originally established as the "Germany" Campaign)

Additionally, the 416th Bomb Group was awarded Battle Participation Credit for the Western Europe Campaign in August, 1944.
The "Western Europe" Campaign was originally established by General Orders 49, Section III, War Department, 1944.
These Orders were subsequently rescinded by General Orders 33, War Department, 1 May 1945.



Distinguished Unit Citation



On July 25, 1945, the Group was awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC) for Extraordinary Heroism
for their critical part in trapping German forces in the Falaise Gap between August 6-9, 1944.
This Award is also known as the Presidential Citation.

Recipients were only authorized to wear the DUC ribbon on their uniform while stationed in the 416th Bomb Group.



Individual Medals/Badges

U.S. Military Decorations

Service Ribbon Award Criteria Summary
Distinguished Service CrossAwarded to a person who, while serving in any capacity with the Army, distinguished himself or herself by extraordinary heroism not justifying the award of a MOH; while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States; while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing or foreign force; or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party. The act or acts of heroism must have been so notable and have involved risk of life so extraordinary as to set the individual apart from their comrades.
Silver StarAwarded to a person who, while serving in any capacity with the U.S. Army, is cited for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force, or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party. The required gallantry, while of a lesser degree than that required for the DSC, must nevertheless have been performed with marked distinction.
Legion of MeritAwarded to any Servicemember of the Armed Forces of the United States or a friendly foreign nation who has distinguished himself or herself by exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements.
Distinguished Flying CrossAwarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity with the Army of the United States, distin-guished himself or herself by valor, heroism, or extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight.
Soldier's MedalAwarded to any person of the Armed Forces of the United States or of a friendly foreign nation who, while serving in any capacity with the Army of the United States, including RC Soldiers not serving in a duty status, as defined in 10 USC 101(d), at the time of the heroic act, who distinguished himself or herself by heroism not involving actual conflict with an enemy.
Bronze Star MedalAwarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity in or with the Armed Forces of the United States, or a friendly foreign nation, after 6 December 1941, distinguished himself or herself by heroic or meritorious achievement or service, not involving participation in aerial flight, in connection with military operations against an armed enemy; or while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.
Purple HeartAwarded in the name of the President of the United States to any member of an Armed Force of the United States under the jurisdiction of the SECARMY who, after 5 April 1917, has been wounded, killed, or who has died or may hereafter die of wounds received, under any of the following circumstances:
Air Medal Awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity in or with the Armed Forces of the United States, who has distinguished himself or herself by meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight.


U.S. Service (Campaign) Medals and Service and Training Ribbons

Service Ribbon Award Criteria Summary
Prisoner Of War MedalAuthorized for any person who, while serving in any capacity with the U.S. Armed Forces, was taken prisoner and held captive after 5 April 1917.
World War II Victory MedalAwarded for service between 7 December 1941 and 31 December 1946, both dates inclusive.


Special Skill Badges

Badge/Bar Award Criteria Summary
Motor Vehicle Driver and Mechanic BadgeAwarded to drivers, mechanics, and special equipment operators to denote the attainment of a high degree of skill in the operation and maintenance of motor vehicles and equipment.
Bar for Driver of Wheeled VehiclesDRIVER - W (for wheeled vehicles) Qualification Bar to the Motor Vehicle Driver and Mechanic Badge
Bar of Automotive MechanicMECHANIC (for automotive or allied vehicles) Qualification Bar to the Motor Vehicle Driver and Mechanic Badge


French Medals

Service Ribbon Award Criteria Summary
French Croix de GuerreThe Croix de Guerre may be awarded either as an individual award or as a unit award to those soldiers who distinguish themselves by acts of heroism involving combat with the enemy.
French Legion Of Honor MedalThis prestigious Medal has been recently awarded by the people of France to American Veterans who fought for the liberation of France during World War II.




Appurtenances

     

Bronze and Silver Oak Leaf Cluster (OLC): Certain Medals were awarded multiple times. For these, after the initial award of a given Medal, each subsequent award of that same Medal was given as a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster. A Silver Oak Leaf Cluster was given in lieu of the fifth Bronze OLC award (i.e. A one Silver OLC award represents an equivalent of five Bronze OLCs).

For example, a Veteran with an Air Medal having one Silver and two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, was awarded the Air Medal a total of 8 times (the initial Air Medal award, the Silver OLC represents 5 additional Air Medal awards, and the two Bronze OLCs represent 2 additional Air Medal awards).





Service Stars (Campaign and/or Battle Stars): Similar in concept to Oak Leaf Clusters for Medals, some Campaign and Operations Ribbons were awarded multiple times if a Solder remained in that Campaign and/or Theatre of Operations for extended periods. Each multiple award of a given Ribbon were given as a Bronze Star, 5 Bronze Service Stars were replaced by 1 Silver Service Star.



Overseas Service Bar



An Overseas Service Bar is an insignia worn by United States Army soldiers on the Army Service Uniform, and previously on the Army Green (Class A) and the Army Blue (Dress Blue) uniforms, that indicates the recipient has served six months overseas in a theater of war.

Overseas Service Bars are displayed as an embroidered gold bar worn horizontally on the right sleeve of the Class A uniform and the Army Service Uniform. Overseas Service Bars are cumulative, in that each bar worn indicates another six-month period. Time spent overseas is also cumulative, meaning one bar could be earned for two separate deployments totaling six months.

(Extracted from Wikipedia.org Overseas Service Bar
Image from Ebay.com)



Commendations

Some Soldiers also received Commendation letters for exceptional service.
See Exhibits 14 and 15 from the August 1944 Group History for examples.



Example Documents

Some examples of WWII Award related documents are included here.

     

General Orders detailing Air Medal awards to several 416th BG Soldiers, some the initial Air Medal Award, some subsequent awards presented as Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters.
(Lt Lumir J. Prucha collection)



     

Awards and Honors earned by Individual Soldiers are typically listed on their "Military Record and Report of Separation Certificate of Service" document.
The example above shows Lt Lumir J. Prucha participated in three major European Campaigns Ardennes, Rhineland and Central Europe; and he was awarded the European, African, Middle Eastern Ribbon with 3 Bronze Stars; 6 Oak Leaf Clusters and 1st Silver Oak Leaf Cluster to his Air Medal; the American Theatre Ribbon; and WWII Victory Medal.



See also Group and Squadron Awards, Honors and Commendations