A large grouping of the medals, decorations, photographs, insignia, and documents of Sergeant Eugene J. Odermatt, who flew over 100 combat missions in the Pacific as a gunner and radio operator on the B-24 bomber "80 Days", an aircraft in 374th Bomb Squadron of the 308th Bomb Group. Sergeant Odermatt apparently served in the Army Air force in World War II, was discharged, and then re-enlisted in the Air Force and was killed in an automobile accident in California in 1954. The group is comprised of the following items:
Medals and Decorations:
- The group includes two cased Air Medals and two cased Distinguished Flying Crosses, each with an oak leaf cluster. One set of the Air Medal and DFC were privately engraved "E.J. Odermatt" while the other pair were officially machine engraved "Eugene J. Odermatt". All of the decorations are World War II period slot brooch examples.
- There are two Army Good Conduct Medals, unnamed, each slot brooch. The medals are in the World War II period blue contract box of the Medallic Art Company. One of the medals has three "knots" for subsequent awards. There is also a theater made, pin back, single ribbon bar for the Good Conduct Medal.
- American Campaign Medal in the blue contract box of the Heckethorn Company; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with four campaign stars in a Medallic Art Company blue contract box; World War II Victory Medal in a 1946 dated J.R. Wood Products blue contract box; Occupation Medal with "Germany" bar in the blue contract box of the D.L. Auld Company. There is also a pin back ribbon bar with ribbons for the Air Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Army Good Conduct Medal, and the Pacific Campaign Medal with two campaign stars.
The group includes three pair of full size, 3 inch, Army Air Force Air Crew wings. One pair is sterling, pin back, and marked "LGB" for the L.G. Balfour Company. A second pair is pin back, unmarked as to metal content. The third pair is clutch back, unmarked as to metal content, with smooth face clutch fasteners. The group includes a pair of Sergeant Odermatt's World War II dog tags on their original neck chain, with the tags of the style naming the next of kin. The chain also has on it a Catholic St. Christopher's medal.
Photographs and documentation:
- There are six photos in the group, two of which appear to be World War II period photos. One is a small photo of an enlisted airman, presumably Odermatt, wearing an A-2 flight jacket with the name and insignia of the bomber "80 Days" painted on the front. The other period photo shows the nose of "80 Days" with the name of the bomber visible, the bomber insignia (a pair of dice showing a "5' and"3"), a shark mouth on the lower area of the nose, and 8 small Japanese "kill" flags beneath the cockpit window. Sergeant Odermatt stands in front of the nose in the photo. The other four photographs are contemporary reprints of period photographs showing "80 Days" and its crew.
- The group includes a 1944 pocket diary that was printed in China for service personnel. The title page is named to Sergeant Odermatt, who obviously used the diary as an address book. It has 24 pages with the names and addresses of fellow service personnel.
There is a wealth of documentation, some of it from World War II and some from Odermatt's subsequent service in the Air Force after World War II. The materials confirm that Odermatt flew 101 combat missions during the war. There is also a document, dated 1955, forwarding the officially engraved Air Medal and DFC, as well as a Good Conduct Medal, to Odermatt's father. There is also with the group a book titled "The B-24 In China" by A.B. Feuer, soft cover, published 1992 by Stackpole Books.