Air Medal/Purple Heart (SSgt Gritch, 824th Bomb Squadron)
Pair to Staff Sergeant Kenneth V. Girtch, 832nd Bomb Squadron: Air Medal, with 3 oak leaf clusters, slot brooch, hand-engraved “Sgt/Kenneth V. Girtch/ AC”; Purple Heart, slot brooch, hand-engraved “Kenneth V./Girtch”. With the original Purple Heart certificate, dated 23 April 1945, noting his death on 6 February 1945. With casualty file data.
Sergeant Girtch, from White City, Kansas, was killed in action on 6 February 1945 while assigned to the 832nd Bomb Squadron, 486th Bomb Group, flying from Sudbury, England. He was the tail gunner on a B-17G piloted by Lt Bruce W. Evans, which crashed in England returning from a mission to Chemnitz, Germany. The mission was of longer than usual duration and many of the group’s aircraft landed on the continent to refuel. Southern England was socked in with a solid overcast beginning at about 100 feet when Girtch’s B-17 hit a hillside near Truleigh Hill, West Sussex, about 100 miles south of his home base. Initially buried in the Cambridge American Cemetery, Sergeant Gritch was later re-interred in his home town.