Air Force Memorabilia

Fitzgerald, Harold

Rank: Staff Sergeant
Serial Number: 7003288
Military Branch: 23rd Bomb Squadron, 5th Bomb Group
Origin: Tennessee
Date of Death: 1962-11-12
National Cemetery, Nashville, Tennessee
Featured: No

Harold Fitzgerald enlisted in the AAC December 9, 1939 at March Field in California. He was stationed at Hickam Field in Hawaii beginning January 30, 1940. He was promoted to Sergeant on April 1, 1940 while in the 18th Bomb Wing, and transferred to the 23rd Bomb Wing December 26, 1941. He was promoted to Staff Sergeant February 1, 1942 while in the 23rd, which places him in Hawaii on December 7, 1941 during the Japanese attack. He was discharged July 25, 1958, having served close to 20 years. His NARA records obtained by Redbird Research accompany the group listing his entire service record and his Notices of Decoration Award file with engraving instructions for his medals.

This is a great valor group to Staff Sgt. Harold Fitzgerald, AC. There are 2 awards of the Silver Star: one is slot brooch officially hand engraved HAROLD FITZGERALD in the slant style. and the second is a split brooch BB&B #15420 with Oak Leaf Cluster. The first was awarded for the battle of Midway in General Orders #62, VII Bomber Command, July 30, 1942, as follows: "Citations for Gallantry in Action: By direction of the President, under the provisions of the Act of Congress, approved July 9, 1918, the following named officers and enlisted men are cited for gallantry in action as combat crew members of airplanes in the Battle of Midway, between the 3rd and 7th of June 1942, and are entitled to wear the Silver Star decoration: Harold Fitzgerald, (7003288) Technical Sergeant, 23rd Bombardment Squadron, 5th Bombardment Group (H), Army Air Forces, United States Army. Residence at enlistment: 432 Humphrey Street, Nashville, Tennessee." A copy of the GO is included in this group showing about 195 individuals named for this SS citation.

Fitzgerald's second Silver Star was awarded in General Order #74, 5th Air Force, April 25, 1943 as a member of the 64th Bombardment Squadron, 43rd Bomb Group for action near Buna, New Guinea on November 18, 1942. The copy of GO 74 states "Under the provisions of Army Regulations 600-45, War Department, August 8, 1932, in addition to the Silver Star awarded to Staff Sergeant HAROLD FITZGERALD, as published on Page 5, General Orders No. 62, Headquarters, VII Bomber Command, dated July 30, 1942, a bronze Oak Leaf Cluster is awarded to him. The citation is as follows: HAROLD FITZGERALD, 7003288, Staff sergeant, 64th Bombardment Squadron, 43rd Bombardment Group (H), Air Corps, United States Army. For gallantry in action near Buna, New Guinea, on Novembert 18, 1942. Home address: Mrs. Vida Fitzgerald, (Mother), 436 Humphrey Street, Nashville, Tenn." Both Silver Stars are listed in Al Gleim's Silver Star books for WW2.

A narrative of the Buna action was related by a researcher as follows: "Four B-17's from the 64th B.S. 43rd B.G. flew the Squadron's first recon missions to the Buna-Finschhafen-Gamata (over Bismarck Sea) on 11/18 (1942). Two (1/Lt. William Humrichouse & Capt. Raymond E. Holsey) attempted to attack the convoy off Buna. The B-17 piloted by Lt. Humrichouse (with S/Sgt. Harold Fitzgerald on board, probably as the aerial engineer-gunner) was attacked by eight Zeroes (actually only six from 252 Kokutai). The crew claimed two Zeroes shot down and two damaged. One was seen to leave the fight and turn towards the beach. (only one was apparently officially credited at 1635 hours: 'One enemy fighter was shot down in flames by the rear gunner of this crew and it later crashed.' There were no casualties aboard the B-17, and all but one of 9 crewmen were subsequently awarded the Silver Star (including Fitzgerald)."

There is an officially hand engraved slot brooch Distinguished Flying Cross "S. Seargent Harold Fitzgerald A.C.", and an officially hand engraved solid brooch Air Medal "S. Seargent Harold Fitzgerald A.C.", an Army Good Conduct Medal #37469, American Campaign medal, Asiatic Pacific Campaign medal and Victory medal.

Also included are Fitzgerald's Australian made 5th Air Force large jacket patch as well as the regular size one, an Army Air Corps patch, his aerial gunner and combat crew pinback wings, marked Sterling, plastic coated ribbon bars, sergeant stripes, Presidential Unit Citation bar, a Gemsco pinback Air Corps' Technical Training Command DUI, an NS Meyer pinback air corps DUI, pair of collar disks, and a ruptured duck discharge pin.

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