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End of Tour DFCs


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A couple of weeks ago my buddy and former trailer-mate Tom Stalvey spent time me with at my home and then on the TCTAA cruise at the convention. Tom brought a bunch of his photographs with him. In the folder was also a copy of the citation for his Distinguished Flying Cross. I was surprised when I read it because rather than being awarded for a specific mission, his was a real "end of tour" award for his entire tour at Clark with the 29th TAS. Since Tom flew some 25 missions over Khe Sanh on drops, I would have thought he would have gotten it for that. I first heard about "end of tour" DFCs when I first got to Clark in early 1969. They were not being awarded when I was at Naha in 66-67 and in fact, I only know of one DFC that was awarded during my entire tour. It went to Andy Sich, a loadmaster from Tachi, who kicked a flare launcher we were testing out of the paratroop door with a burning flare in it. As I recall, Andy was put in for a Silver Star but it was downgraded. There was something about a comment from the group commander that enlisted men couldn't qualify for DFCs since they weren't in control of the airplane. Since Andy wasn't based at Naha, he got one. John Butterfield's crew later got one for saving their airplane after it was shot up on a COMMANDO LAVA mission just before I left Naha.

Sometime in early 1970 I was called into the orderly room by the Awards and Decs. NCO and told that they were putting everyone in for DFCs for their "best" mission. I couldn't think of anything and he said what about such and such. I said, oh yeah. About a year later after I got to Charleston I got a call that I was to report to Wing the next day to be presented a DFC.

End of Tour DFCs started in World War II, although they were awarded on the basis of so many missions - 25 with the Eighth Air Force. For Air Transport Command crewmembers flying in China, they were based on 500 hours of operations on the India/China Ferry. Troop Carrier crews got them the same as the bomber and fighter crews, with different criteria for different theaters.

Who, besides Tom, got a DFC that was awarded for an entire tour rather than for a specific act?

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