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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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Old 26th October 2013, 21:02
aaatripp aaatripp is offline
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Re: 22 Sep 1941 - Maax Hammer 'Lest We Forget

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.

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

Tripp
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Old 22nd April 2014, 21:35
aaatripp aaatripp is offline
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Re: 22 Sep 1941 - Maax Hammer 'Lest We Forget

Happy Birthday cousin Flying Tiger Maax Hammer: 4/21/16 !!
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Old 22nd September 2015, 18:06
aaatripp aaatripp is offline
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Re: 22 Sep 1941 - Maax Hammer 'Lest We Forget

To remember cousin Maax C. Hammer, Jr. AVG member of the 2nd Squadron whose young life was ended on a rainy Monday morning in the skies above and jungle adjacent to the AVG training facility at Keydaw Airfield near Toungoo, Burma.

Maax never was able to see combat, but he was there to try and do something to help the Chinese people....like the other members of the AVG.

RIP cousin Maax.

Tripp
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Old 17th February 2017, 16:11
aaatripp aaatripp is offline
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Re: 22 Sep 1941 - Maax Hammer 'Lest We Forget

The three families of John Dean Armstrong, Maax C. Hammer, Jr. and Peter William Atkinson were notified last spring (2016) that the remains thought possibly to be their AVG relatives which were buried in the Punchbowl in March 22-23, 1949 and rested in graves marked UNKNOWN for the last 67 years were soon to be disinterred for the purpose of DNA matching at The Lab of DPAA. On April 11, 2016, in ceremonies at the Punchbowl, the remains were disinterred and transported to The Lab at Hickam AFB. Then there was an 8 1/2 month wait for word by the families......indeed, it was a quiet & hopeful holiday season.

Then came the word on January 4th:
The families of John Dean Armstrong, Maax C. Hammer, Jr. and Peter William Atkinson have been notified of the positive identification of the remains of their family members who served with the AVG. (This includes Ms. Mary Margaret Atkinson, baby sister of Pete Atkinson and last living sibling of the 3 AVG)

These are the remains that were recovered from St. Luke's Anglican Church Cemetery by an Army Graves Registration Service team in 1947, processed in Barrackpore, India and later transferred to the Punchbowl Cemetery on Oahu, Hawaii....where they lay for 67 years as Unknowns (X-633, X-634, X-635). With the help of many contacts from the three families and assistance from JPAC/DPAA personnel at the numerous Family Member Updates (FMU) over the past many years, DPAA was persuaded to disinter 3 of the 4 graves in question on April 11, 2016. DNA samples were immediately sent to the DNA ID Lab and the families have been anxiously awaiting news of the results for all this time.....now, with happy results.

The three families of Armstrong, Hammer & Atkinson and indeed the entire AVG Flying Tiger Assn. are very grateful for the diligent work of former JPAC SE Asia historian, Mr. Ken Tilley. Without his professional expertise, dedication to the lost AVG and their families, and his persistence in plowing through a sadly flawed set of JPAC policies & internal procedures this endpoint would likely never have happened.

Xie, Xie Ken....DING HAO!! (Thank you Ken....Very Good!! <in Mandarin>)

To the Army Casualty Office, we say thanks to John Gantz and Greg Gardner in the Past Conflicts Repatriation Branch at Ft. Knox, Kentucky. Their efforts along with other staff members during the FMUs are much appreciated. Also to Lt. Gen. Michael S. Linnington, USA (Ret.), former Director of DPAA, we thank you and your staff for their efforts and assistance. Sir, your leadership moved DPAA to the point where these disinterrments were finally possible...thank you!

And to our dear long lost Tigers, we say with affection----

Armie, Maax & Pete--75 years is a long time, but you're comin' home boys!

Funerals for all 3 Tigers are being scheduled for this spring in Kansas, Illinois & West Virginia.



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