Presented is a souvenir felt pennant celebrating the servicemen and women of the U.S. Air Corps who were based in Australia and fought alongside members of the Royal Australian Air Force during WWII. The navy pennant features a printed red outline of the Australian continent with the U.S. Air Corps “wings” superimposed on it. Below, the text reads, “Souvenir of U.S. Air Corps in Australia.” At the very bottom of the pennant is the U.S. Air Corps symbol. Framed according to archival standards, this pennant symbolizes the collaborative partnership between the United States and Australia during the height of the Second World War in the Pacific Theater.
Following the swift Japanese conquest of the Philippines and East Indies in late 1941, the remaining servicemen of the United States Army Air Force in the Pacific eventually relocated to Australia, to join other US and Australian units, including the Fifth Air Force, and regroup. The Fifth Air Force was placed under the command of Major General George Kenney in July of 1942. Their new goal was to seize air superiority over New Guinea and gain back air coverage over the Solomon Sea.
General Kenney worked with U.S. Army General MacArthur, Admiral Nimitz, and Admiral Halsey to take back control of the Pacific theater. Kenney’s airmen provided airlifts to put the ground forces in key positions, where they could build airstrips, resupply ground troops by air-transport, and protect naval cruisers and submarines during battle. This collaborative model was utilized throughout the next two years of fighting, as MacArthur's ground forces and Kenney’s airmen conducted leap-frogging maneuvers, strategically bypassing Japanese strong points and building new defense forces that cut the Japanese bases off from supply lines.
The Army Air Force kept up a swift pace, moving from forward air base to forward air base, repressing activity by the Japanese on land, sea, and air. As the ground forces moved forward, driving the Japanese forces back north towards their home islands, the tactical air units of the AAF moved with them, providing the necessary air support for the ground operations. By November, the Fifth Air Force was headquartered in Port Moresby in New Guinea, although the official Headquarters remained in Brisbane, Australia.
Throughout the Pacific War, Australia remained an important base of operations. Many U.S. Air Force units embarked in Australia, using it as a base of operations prior to their deployment to New Guinea and other islands in the Southwest Pacific. Between 1942 and 1945, nearly one million U.S. troops passed through Australia in their attempt to recapture the Philippines. Souvenirs such as this pennant were produced for both soldiers and civilians, to celebrate their joint efforts. This unique piece of WWII history is a testament to not only the large-scale collaborative military operations in the Pacific Theater, but also the successful cooperation between allied countries.
Overall very good condition. Navy felt flag, with sewn navy headband, and two looped ties sewn to the headband. The felt flag has some mild creases, but no loss or discoloration. Printed with yellow, white, and red ink. Ink is slightly cracked from age, but does not affect the overall appearance of the piece. This pennant has been attractively framed with UV-protective glass, according to archival standards.
Framed Dimensions: 14" H x 31" W x 2" D.