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Identification Flags Issued to Pilots of the
Third & Fifth Fleet towards the end of the War

By Hersch Pahl

Chinese Nationalist Flag

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During the last four or five months of WW-II we pilots in Air Group Six (and I suppose other air groups in the Third and Fifth Fleets) were issued a Chinese Nationalist flag and an American flag to carry on our person, in our back pack or in our emergency supplies somewhere. In case we went down on land someplace other than aboard our aircraft carriers these flags might identify us in some way that would be to our advantage .

Both flags had a serial number that was recorded in our names which might help in identification in some way. Hopefully they would never need to be used - which was the case for us. I still have mine 63 years after they were issued. (As of 2008).

American Flag -
Then with 48 stars
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On the Chinese Nationalist flag we were told that the writing would identify us to Chinese who could read Mandarin and another dialect.

The flag of the United States, (with 48 stars), carried a short message to identify the pilot as a friend and says something that implied our government would reward or repay any one who would provide assistance in any way. The message is repeated in FRENCH, THAI‡, LAO*, CHINESE, ANNAMESE†, KOREAN, and JAPANESE.

‡ The language of Thailand

* The language spoken in Laos.

† A language spoken in an area of French Indo-China (of the time) known as Annam, a French protectorate in what is now the central area of Vietnam.

"For those who fought for it...
freedom has a flavor the protected will never know!"


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October 1, 2007