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Named 8th Air Force B-17 Navigator Group
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A large group of items belonging to Lieutenant Howard W. Kremser, who flew with the 8th Air force as the combat navigator in a B-17 of the 728th Bomb Squadron in the 452nd Bomb Group. The group consists of the following items:
- WWII Army Air force officer uniform jacket, with an interior tailor label from a Texas tailor, dated June of 1944, and named to Kremser. There is also a machine woven monogram of "HK" sewn to the interior. The belted jacket has a bullion, British-made, 8th Air Force patch on the left shoulder and a wool Army Air Forces patch on the right shoulder. The shoulders have a mis-matched set of rank insignia for a First Lieutenant, with one rank bar being a sterling, British-made example with a "C" safety catch and manufacturer marked by Gaunt of London, and the other being a sterling, American-made example with a drop-in safety catch. The lapels of the jacket have Army Air force winged propeller and "U.S." insignia. On the left breast are a ribbon bar and Navigator wing. The ribbon bar is a British made pin-back example with ribbons for the Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters and the European Campaign Medal with two large bronze campaign stars. The Navigator wing is a sterling, clutch back example with smooth face, sterling silver clutch fasteners. The jacket is in excellent condition, without tears or holes.
- Army Officer visor cap, size 7 1/8, with the stiffener removed from the crown to create the "50 Mission Crush" look of the Army Air Force air crew personnel. Beneath the sweatband the cap has the stamp of the Philadelphia Quartermaster Depot and Kremser wrote his name and his home address beneath the sweatband as well. The cap is in excellent lightly used condition, showing interior wear (and even a strip of WWII period newspaper beneath the sweatband) but without holes or exterior spots. There is some slight crazing to the surface of the visor, likely a combination of both age and the repeated bending of the visor under the headphones worn by Kremser while flying combat missions.
- A large squadron patch, painted on leather, for the 728th Bomb Squadron (a flying elephant with a bomb carried in his trunk). Approximately 6 by 6 1/2 inches, unused condition.
- A certificate of membership in "The Lucky Bastard Club" of the 452nd Bomb Group. The certificate is dated April 21, 1945. It is named to Kremser and attests to his completion of 15 missions. The certificate bears the original signatures of the Group Commander and multiple officers of the unit.
- An olive green wool type A-4 flight suit, size 36, with complete interior manufacturer tag. The flight suit is in excellent condition, with just a few light spots.
- Kremser's leather navigator's briefcase, bearing the designation "Case, Navigation; Dead Reckoning/Type A-4". The case shows wear but it is complete and intact. The case is accompanied by multiple navigation instruments: "Computer, True Airspeed, Type G-1"; Time-Distance computer Type D-4; "Computer, Dead Reckoning, Type AN 58351" and "Computer, Dead Reckoning, Type AN-C-74-A".
- 8 Black and white photographs of B-17's in flight or of bomb impacts. The photos are wartime, 8 by 10 inches, and each is stamped on the back as having been passed by an Army Censor.
- Multiple wartime personal photographs, of family and sweetheart. There are also personal papers from the wartime period, such as Kremser's personal pay record and his issued equipment list. There is also a 452nd Bomb Group Association Directory, dated March of 1988. The directory contains the names and addresses of over 1,600 veterans of the group, along with a list of 300 members of the Group who were killed in action.
- A large cloth "Aviator's Kit Bag", with Kresmer's name on it.