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Old 23rd September 2011, 00:54
aaatripp aaatripp is offline
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22 Sep 1941 - Maax Hammer 'Lest We Forget

A few word on 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, who is still living in Michigan).

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. The photos of the crash site tell the story of the force of the impact. Noel Bacon's diary entries for that day detail the conditions and how dangerous the airsearch
was.....Noel didn't think that they would make it back to Keydaw Airfield at Toungoo (Noel left the AVG early, married & returned to resume his naval aviation career, retiring as a Navy captain).

Now there is a handsome portrait of Maax at Robins AFB, along with 26 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
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