A large and extremely unusual World War II group that is comprised of the medals and documents of Eugene Hastings, a Quartermaster Corps Cook who served with the 80th Anti Aircraft Artillery Group in combat in Europe, and who earned a total of four campaign stars for participation in campaigns in Italy, France and Germany. Beyond this, he was decorated with the Bronze Star for his exceptional service in France in 1944. The group consists of the following items:
- Bronze Star decoration, unnamed as awarded in the theater of operations in France, in the titled black leather case with ribbon bar and lapel pin. The group includes the original citation for the award, bearing the stamp of the U.S. Seventh Army. Hastings was decorated with the Bronze Star for meritorious service in France from 16 August to 14 September, 1944, with the citation noting that he was the only cook with the forward echelon of his unit (which certainly placed him in the area of combat operations)and that he not only carried out his duties in an exemplary manner "in the face of numerous difficulties", but he "also exercised alertness and ingenuity in adapting enemy stoves to supplement his field range in the preparation of meals." This was hardly a "boiler plate" citation, and it certainly reflects an unusually high recognition of the service of a non-combat soldier in a combat area. The slot brooch medal is in excellent condition. Inside the lid of the case is written "E. Hastings". The document shows some wear and is a bit tattered on the edge, but it is completely legible.
- Hastings' Army Good Conduct Medal, slot brooch, unnamed as awarded.
- Hastings' ribbon bar, with ribbons for the Good Conduct Medal, the American Defense Medal (Hastings enlisted in the Army before Pearl Harbor), and the European Campaign Medal with four campaign stars.
- Hastings' 1942 War Department photographic identification card.
- Hastings dog tags, of the early "next of kin" type, on their original chain, which also holds two keys and the can opener for U.S. Army ration.
- A wartime typed circular announcing awards and decorations to Seventh Army personnel, listing recipients of medals such as the Distinguished Service Cross and the Air Medal, with Hastings appearing on the list as the recipient of the Bronze Star.
- Two large documents attesting to Hastings' completion of the Army Cook School of the Quartermaster Corps.
- Two pair of Technical Sergeant rank chevrons and overseas service stripes reflecting 2 1/2 years of service overseas.
- Several other documents, such as a typed history, 4 pages long, prepared at the end of the war, on the combat service of the 80th Anti Aircraft Artillery Group; a furlough pass from France; an American Legion membership card; and a large, post-war document attesting to Hastings' status in the Masons.
Overall a large and very interesting group reflecting the dedicated service of a young man who entered the Army before the attack on Pearl Harbor and who served at the front in four campaigns across Europe. His exceptional non-combat, but obviously critical, role was recognized by a significant decoration, one which was announced by Seventh Army in the typed circular that is with the group, and which also announced the awards of decorations such as the Distinguished Service Cross. If there had been such a thing in World War II as a "Combat Cook Badge", Eugene Hastings certainly would have received it.