Armand Sedgeley awaits his Silver Star

| April 23, 2018 | 16 Comments

The Denver Post tells the World War II story of Armand Sedgeley and the more contemporary story of John Fine, a diver and photographer who discovered the wreckage of Sedegely’s B-17 bomber in the water off the coast of Corsica. The B17 had been damaged by German fighters and limped towards the British airbase on Corsica, but the pilot had to ditch because the airstrip wouldn’t accommodate the massive bomber. The crew members that survived the attack were rescued by the British soon after the bomber sank where it was discovered by Fine decades later.

Fine began searching for survivors and was finally able to meet Sedgeley;

When Fine learned that some others had received the Silver Star for their heroism in combat that day, he broached the subject. Sedgeley said his squadron leader had put him in for the honor, but it didn’t get approved — although two gunners among the crew were recognized. He heard no explanation.

“All I know is we all did our best and it was recognized by the squadron, but from there on, I have no information, and they can’t seem to locate the Silver Star orders,” Sedgeley said. “So it is a mystery. I don’t understand it.”

Unbeknown to Sedgeley until recently, Fine has pursued the honor on his behalf. He said that through archives and Sedgeley’s own flight diary, he discovered information that wouldn’t have been part of the original narrative — information that might trigger a reconsideration. “Busy commanders could not have had all the information available now or they surely would have awarded this 22-year-old hero his Silver Star,” he wrote in his appeal to government officials.

Fine said he sought help from Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner’s office to expedite the process, although Gardner’s spokesman said that policy prohibits commenting on such casework.

So now, they wait.

“I think it’s most unusual for a person to go to the expense he’s gone to, to get a medal without even being involved,” Sedgeley said. “I didn’t know he was doing it for a long time.”

Of course, I left out a lot of the story so I don’t steal from the Denver Post, but you should read the entire article.

Category: We Remember

Comments (16)

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  1. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    This is an everyone-gets-a-trophy story. I read every word of the Denver Post story and I kept waiting to read the facts supporting a Silver Star. Maybe I missed them. Sedgeley and another crewman fired at a fighter and downed it. And? And nothing. I knew there was trouble the moment I read that the B17 “fell from the sky” when, in fact, it was airworthy but ditched b/c of a short runway. Sorry, while I admire turret gunners more than any other B-17 crewman, bar none, I see nothing supporting a Silver Star. And if one or more crewmen was issued one, I can guess why.

    • Yef says:

      “Sedgeley and another crewman fired at a fighter and downed it. And?”

      Agreed. Silver Stars are not awarded for killing the enemy. That is just doing our friggin job.

      Carlos Hathcock, who have 93 confirmed kills in the Viet of the Nam as a snipperer, only got his Silver Star a day in which he didn’t shoot anyone, for saving the lives of 7 fellow Marines when their Amtrac hit a landmine.

  2. Cpl/Major Mike says:

    “We did our best” is worthy of a medal? While I believe anybody who went up to fight in a f’ing airplane shows a lot of balls I don’t believe doing your best is criteria for a Silver Star.

  3. Jonn Lilyea says:

    In a war that saw Lyndon Johnson get a Silver Star, everyone deserves a Silver Star.

    • 2/17 Air Cav says:

      That’s very true. Every time General Douglas MacArthur put on his pants, he was awarded a Silver Star. And, once, when visiting Washington, he was seen putting on his overcoat w/o the assistance of a valet. For that, the CMOH.

    • The Other Whitey says:

      Johnson got a Silver Star for looking out the window of a B-26 in which he rode as useless extra weight, because the then-congressman and Navy Reserve officer had pulled strings to get himself a combat mission to wave at the voters.

      At least this guy actually flew his plane, and flew more than a single mission!

      • 2/17 Air Cav says:

        Nobody can touch MacArthur. The Pipe was awarded the CMOH “For conspicuous leadership in preparing the Philippine Islands to resist conquest….” That was the Bataan Peninsula and we know how that worked out.

  4. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    BTW, as a rule we prefer out military leadership to be conspicuous.

  5. Reverend Pointyhead says:

    Ah, screw it.
    I’m waiting for my post-discharge butter bar but I have shit to do in the mean time. I sympathize with this guy but as we’ve said before:
    Why measure your legacy on your dress salad? I only feel like I truly earned one of my ribbons.
    Tell your story, don’t exaggerate too much (time takes its toll. I already suffered a few goofs myself)
    I like to believe he isn’t lying and I respect that. Silver Star? Maybe not but he needs to take comfort in serving his country with honor and courage.

    • Reverend Pointyhead says:

      Particularly in terms of honor.
      If I may give a little confession. I was Article 15’ed for being DOD and busted down to E-3. At fat camp in the final 4 months of my enlistment.
      I own that disgrace regardless of the circumstances. Were I not so bullheaded and ashamed I should have reenlisted to show I learned my lesson.
      I still received an Honorable Discharge and though it may not reflect on my DD-214 that invisible blemish still haunts me.
      I’m sorry for bringing this disappointment to light.

      • Reverend Pointyhead says:

        “I’m sorry for bringing this disappointment to light.”
        I am not. I’m sorry for fucking up and I’m sorry for being a bad example but I am not sorry to get that off my chest.

  6. Bronze star with V, I can’t see a Silver star for this gentleman’s actions

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