Henry Gilbert Jr. was born in Oklahoma in September 1919. His family moved to Wyoming and homesteaded an unincorporated town called Frannie after the postmaster's daughter. They later settled in Lovell, also in Big Horn County, where young Hank graduated from high school in 1937. He studied at Texas A&M and Washington State University, dropping out to join the Navy, earning wings of gold at Pensacola in 1941.
Mr Wolff tells me that "his father, a Lt. Commander also in the Navy, died at age 90 just two weeks before the 1985 dedication" of the Hank Gilbert memorial in his home town of Lovell. Equally surprising, I see that Noel Bacon and Tex Hill both attended the ceremony. Noel was among the "dishonorably discharged" volunteers whom the AVG veterans' association refused to recognize. After valiant service in Burma, he went on home leave in February 1942 and stayed home to marry his sweetheart and rejoin the Navy.
Hank Gilbert's list of commendations is impressive: Purple Heart, WWII Victory Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, Navy Expedition Medal, and China War Memorial Medal. There's no mention of the Distinguished Flying Cross supposedly awarded to every "honorably discharged" AVG pilot in 1992.
On a more dignified level, I've read and reviewed The Finnish-Soviet Winter 1939-40: Stalin's Hollow Victory and Bitskrieg: The New Challenge of Cyberwarfare. See the Warbird's Book Club for more about those books. Blue skies! — Daniel Ford
Here are a thousand or so files on airplanes, pilots, and the wars of the past hundred years, grouped under these headings: