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 'Lest We Forget - Sept. 22, 1941 - Maax C. Hammer, Jr., remembrance (18 Replies, Read 54846 times)
aaatripp
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cousin of Maax C. Hammer, Jr., AVG 22Sep41 RIP
Glad to see that the Forum is finally back in operation.

A few words from Sept. 22nd to remember my cousin Maax:

He came from Cairo, IL, and had attended LSU before joining the US Army Air Corps as an airman candidate.  He completed his Basic flt. training at Randolph
Field, TX., and then underwent Advanced Flight Training at Kelly Field, TX., where he graduated in Class 40-E (with fellow AVG pilot Dave Harris).

Maax was flying the P-40 when he volunteered for the AVG, left the USAAC, departed for the far away land of Burma, sailed aboard the liner Bloemfontein (with P.J. Greene, Tex Hill and many other AVG of "The Bloom Gang"), arrived at the port of Rangoon, traveled by train for a late night arrival in Toungoo, and began training in the P-40B of the AVG.........less than a week after arriving at the AVG base at the British Kyedaw Airfield, Maax was dead.

The weather was marginal at best that day and Tex said that Maax got into a monsoon and ended up in an inverted flat spin.  There was no ejection seat in a P-40, you can't bail out, you're pinned in your seat, the control surfaces are of little help (except the rudder?) and you ride it all the way down.  Aviation is indeed an unforgiving environment.

Now there is a handsome portrait of Maax at Robins AFB, along with the other AVG who were lost......Armstrong, Atkinson and others......a nice memory of young men who tried to make a difference. 

For Maax, today, let's just simply say...Rest in Peace cousin, thank you.

Tripp Alyn
Newport, RI


Edited by aaatripp : October 1, 2009, 8:48 am

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Tripp

Tripp Alyn, chair
Historical & Museums Committee
AVG Flying Tigers Association
IP: --   

'Lest We Forget - Sept. 22, 1941 - Maax C. Hammer, Jr.
aaatripp
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cousin of Maax C. Hammer, Jr., AVG 22Sep41 RIP
A few images to remember Maax........


Tripp Alyn


Edited by aaatripp : September 26, 2009, 9:21 am

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Tripp

Tripp Alyn, chair
Historical & Museums Committee
AVG Flying Tigers Association
IP: --   

'Lest We Forget - Sept. 22, 1941 - Maax C. Hammer, Jr.
aaatripp
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cousin of Maax C. Hammer, Jr., AVG 22Sep41 RIP
.


Edited by aaatripp : October 6, 2010, 7:36 am

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Tripp

Tripp Alyn, chair
Historical & Museums Committee
AVG Flying Tigers Association
IP: --   

'Lest We Forget - Sept. 22, 1941 - Maax C. Hammer,
LydiaRossi
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Widow of AVG pilot J. R. Rossi
Such a handsome man was your cousin. Way too young to die, as are all who lose it that way.
That portrait is, I believe, one of the group that was commissioned by Bill Pawley, maybe in the 1950s. The last time I saw them (actually the only time I saw the originals) was in Taiwan at the air force academy museum.
Do you know if the ones at Robbins AFB are the original?
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'Lest We Forget - Sept. 22, 1941 - Maax C. Hammer, Jr.
aaatripp
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cousin of Maax C. Hammer, Jr., AVG 22Sep41 RIP
Thanks, Lydia.  Someday, I'll show you a photo of my uncle (my mother's younger brother) who was 12 yrs. younger than Maax....quite a resemblance!
When Maax was in Basic & Advanced at Randolph & Kelly fields in 1940, I'm sure
that he visited my family when he had leave.....I'll continue to look for any photos.

I just checked with the Air Museum at Warner Robins AFB in GA. and they only show 4 of the portraits at any one time due to space limitations.  They received these portraits from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, which most likely received them from Pawley or the Pawley family.  The museum also has other Pawley items....I'm checking further.

I believe that the portraits, which were only of those AVG who were lost, are reproduced in a booklet entitled "Americans Valiant and Glorious."  I've seen this booklet in the past at AVG reunions.  I don't know if the museum portraits are originals, but will ask when they reply.

Tripp


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Tripp

Tripp Alyn, chair
Historical & Museums Committee
AVG Flying Tigers Association
IP: --   

'Lest We Forget - Sept. 22, 1941 - Maax C. Hammer, Jr.
aaatripp
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cousin of Maax C. Hammer, Jr., AVG 22Sep41 RIP
More information----transcribed from Noel Bacon's daily diary (photo of which was generously provided by his grandson).  Bacon did not complete his AVG contract and returned to the US to marry and complete a career in the US Navy.


"Monday, September 22, 1941---Flying as usual.  About 1130 I reported a new boy by name of Hammer as being 1/2 hour late on a scheduled familiarization hop.  It started raining about 1200 & still no word.  All the time we're expecting the "big shots" who turned back Sat.  About 1500 two planes took-off to search NE.  Weather pretty bad now.  1600 - two more planes to search for Hammer.  At 1640 Jack, Charley & I took-off to search SW.  Back & forth we went covering 100 miles between here & Irrawaddy R. valley over a mtn. range.  No sight of him - we headed back.  Getting dark now & our field has no lights.  We had our running lights on & saw Toungoo O.K.  Beyond Toungoo, toward field, was a thick storm & I didn't see how we'd make it - we did though & the Colonel was glad to see us.  I gave radio reports each 10 minutes but no one heard them at the field.  They had found Hammer about ten miles from field - spun in, I guess.  Some natives saw him go in.  Doctors & crew went out to the crash & salvages his body.  He was seven miles into jungle from the road."


The "big shots" refers to the RAF Air Marshal Pulford and his staff, who did visit the AVG at Toungoo on Tuesday, 23 September 1941 (flew in on their Lockheed
Hudson & a Blenheim).

This report by Noel Bacon does confirm Tex's estimation that weather played a big part in the crash.  However, even though Maax was an Army Air Corps P-40 pilot, Bacon stated that this was a familiarization hop.  Maax hadn't flown in at least 2 1/2 to 3 months (due to AVG recruiting & long ocean voyage from San Francisco aboard the Bloemfontein) and a fam hop sounds like his first flight with the AVG.  It may be that the weather and lack of experience in this a/c were the lethal combination that led to the inverted spin and inability to get out of that spin.  There were no AVG witnesses, as far as I can tell, but a photo of the crash site does confirm the inverted attitude of the a/c at the time of impact.

Tripp Alyn
Newport, RI


Edited by aaatripp : November 15, 2009, 3:22 pm

-----------------------
Tripp

Tripp Alyn, chair
Historical & Museums Committee
AVG Flying Tigers Association
IP: --   

'Lest We Forget - Sept. 22, 1941 - Maax C. Hammer, Jr.
aaatripp
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cousin of Maax C. Hammer, Jr., AVG 22Sep41 RIP
To correct my post of 30 September:

The Museum of Aviation at Robins AFB, GA. displays ten (10) AVG portraits at one time due to space limitations.

Tripp Alyn
Newport, RI.


Edited by aaatripp : November 11, 2009, 11:16 am

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Tripp

Tripp Alyn, chair
Historical & Museums Committee
AVG Flying Tigers Association
IP: --   

'Lest We Forget - Sept. 22, 1941 - Maax C. Hammer, Jr.
aaatripp
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cousin of Maax C. Hammer, Jr., AVG 22Sep41 RIP
Noel Bacon's diary - 22 Sep  1941:


(Please see below post with diary image)


Edited by aaatripp : October 6, 2010, 7:33 am

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Tripp

Tripp Alyn, chair
Historical & Museums Committee
AVG Flying Tigers Association
IP: --   

'Lest We Forget - Sept. 22, 1941 - Maax C. Hammer, Jr.
aaatripp
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cousin of Maax C. Hammer, Jr., AVG 22Sep41 RIP
To remember my cousin Maax on this day.  He wasn't even in Toungoo a full week
as he crashed in a monsoon the morning of his 7th day while taking a fam hop in
an AVG P-40B.  He was 25 years old and had been an Army Air Corps P-40 pilot at
either Mitchel or Selfridge Fields. 

I think he may have been with the 8th Pursuit Group at Mitchel...does anyone have more info. on his AAC service?

As always.....thanks to the AVG, all veterans and those now serving for their commitment & sacrifices for our country.    'Lest we forget......
Tripp


-----------------------
Tripp

Tripp Alyn, chair
Historical & Museums Committee
AVG Flying Tigers Association
IP: --   

'Lest We Forget - Sept. 22, 1941 - Maax C. Hammer, Jr.
aaatripp
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cousin of Maax C. Hammer, Jr., AVG 22Sep41 RIP
To remember cousin Maax on this day, the 70th anniversary of his death in the jungle near Toungoo.  He was buried in grave #2 in the Airmen's Cemetery, next to John Dean Armstrong.  They would soon be joined by Peter W. Atkinson who was killed in the crash of his P-40 on 25 October.....indeed a dangerous environment.

Thanks to the many Tigers and family members who have helped me to piece together the stories of what happened in those early days of the AVG.

Tripp

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Tripp

Tripp Alyn, chair
Historical & Museums Committee
AVG Flying Tigers Association
IP: --   

'Lest We Forget - Sept. 22, 1941 - Maax C. Hammer, Jr.
LydiaRossi
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Widow of AVG pilot J. R. Rossi
I can't help but feel sad when I learn/hear about the AVG men who lost their lives in China. What a dangerous life they had out there. The ones who came back and went on to have successful careers and families must feel double blessed. I know my husband did.
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'Lest We Forget - Sept. 22, 1941 - Maax C. Hammer, Jr.
BillC
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And we were blessed that such men were willing to go in harm's way for a truly valiant cause.
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'Lest We Forget - Sept. 22, 1941 - Maax C. Hammer, Jr.
SilverDollar
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I'll second that, Bill.  That's why it's so important that the history of the AVG be well documented, defined and protected from the revisionists who have some different agenda.  The AVG were great men and women who had the foresight to see how the world would be affected by current events and the courage to come to the aid of a nation that wasn't able to fend for itself.  They literally put themselves in harms way to help protect the "weaker kids" from a big bully.  They deserve every accolade that can be given to them.  The AVG played a huge part in helping to stop what some historians are now calling the Forgotten Holocaust which is extremely important to me.  Being Jewish, my entire family in Europe was exterminated during the Holocaust that we all know about.  As most of us who are familiar with the Chinese WWII history know, the same thing was happening in China at the hands of the Empire of the Sun.  Anyone who would put theselves into such dangerous situations as the AVG did to stop such mass murdering will always be a big hero in my book.  In case anyone wanted to know, that's why I hold the AVG in such high regard.  They were volunteers. They had a choice and made the right one. 

Edited by SilverDollar : September 25, 2011, 5:35 pm

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Sometimes a handful of patience is worth more than a truckload of brains. Author unknown.  Found in a fortune cookie and that's the honest truth.
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'Lest We Forget - Sept. 22, 1941 - Maax C. Hammer, Jr.
aaatripp
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cousin of Maax C. Hammer, Jr., AVG 22Sep41 RIP
Again, RIP cousin Maax.


After docking with the rest of "The Boom Gang" in Rangoon on 15 Sep
41 they traveled to Toungoo by railroad, arriving at the base late that night.

Monday the 22nd of September was a stormy day and Maax went up on his fam
flight.....even though he was an Army P-40 pilot he had not flown in 3-4 months
but was raring to go.  It would be his final flight.


The Erik Shilling book DESTINY contains more information about the crash of
Maax's P-40 in the jungle near Toungoo, Burma.  Erik went with the doc and
the Greenlaws out to the crash site.  Harvey made Olga stay in the car
(good thing due to the wading and the leeches encountered on the way from the road to the site).


Maax must have been in the process of recovering from his inverted spin when he ran out of altitude as his P-40 entered the jungle canopy in an almost vertical attitude.  Judging from the minimal damage to the trees and the relatively small impact crater Maax was going straight down and his remains were found atop the engine.  The wings were folded up like an accordian.


Some AVG books mistakenly show another crash site as Maax's; however, this
cannot be as the wings are intact in that picture.  Those photos no doubt
show the crash site of former Navy pilot John Dean Armstrong on 8 Sep 41
following his midair collision with fellow Tiger Gil Bright during a mock
dogfight.  "Armie" Armstrong was the 1st AVG fatality, followed by Maax and then Peter W. Atkinson on 25 Oct.  The three Tigers were buried next to one another in the Airmen's cemetery at the local Anglican church in Toungoo.  AVG Chaplain Paul Frillmann officiated at the rites.  Their mortal remains still are buried in Toungoo.

Thanks to the Tigers for providing details about Maax in their books!

Tripp


Edited by aaatripp : May 12, 2016, 10:56 pm

-----------------------
Tripp

Tripp Alyn, chair
Historical & Museums Committee
AVG Flying Tigers Association
IP: --   

'Lest We Forget - Sept. 22, 1941 - Maax C. Hammer, Jr.
aaatripp
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cousin of Maax C. Hammer, Jr., AVG 22Sep41 RIP
RIP cousin Maax.  73 years ago (yesterday) your young life came to an end while you were preparing to defend the Burma Road against the Japanese.

When you were at LSU you were a Tiger, so it is indeed fitting that you rest eternally in the collective memory of the world....as a Flying Tiger.

We hope that your remains are soon recovered and returned to your homeland.
Tripp


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Tripp

Tripp Alyn, chair
Historical & Museums Committee
AVG Flying Tigers Association
IP: --   

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