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Stock No. 6342

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160th Field Artillery Regiment War Trophy Souvenir Flag Grouping - Click for the bigger picture

160th Field Artillery Regiment War Trophy Souvenir Flag Grouping

this flag was captured in WWII by members of the 160th Field Artillery Regiment of the 45th'Thunderbird'Infantry Division. Sadly we don't know the exact story but Joe M.Cope (of Ada Oklahoma)kindly both signed and dated the flag on November 28th 1944. Research online indicates on the 25th November 1944 the Division attacked the Fort Kaiser Wilhelm built to protect the Alsace Regions north of Mutzig, then crossed the Zintzel River and advanced through the Maginot Line. It is reasonable to assume this souvenir of war was captured at this time. On 15th December, the Thunderbirds crossed the border into Germany, making them the first US troops of the Seventh Army to enter the Hitler's ' homeland'. The 45th was activated as a National Guard Division in 1924 in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Oklahoma. The Division adopted the Thunderbird shoulder patch in 1939 after the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany which used the swastika, a symbol that bore a resemblance to the original divisional patch. The Thunderbirds were "federalized" on 16 September, 1940 after President Roosevelt declared a "limited national emergency." The unit was active throughout WWII, participating in eight campaigns, four amphibious assaults, and a total of 511 days of combat. Following World War II the division became an all Oklahoma organisation but in 1950, they were again called into service during the Korean War. We were advised when purchased the flag was captured by Luciano M. Alonzo, who was born in 1918 and lived in Maricopa, Arizona and was from a native Indian family. He died in Phoenix Arizona in 2005. This grouping includes an original Thunderbirds shoulder badge which we were told came from Luciano Alonzo's wartime uniform. The flag is also signed by a bunch of his friends including Sgt Orin Karbrud, Homer Rye, Joe Cope, Leo Huffines and others. We also have a black and white photograph that includes Alonzo (back row 3rd from right with possibly captured Nazi binoculars around his neck) together with 9 colleagues. Sadly the picture is not named so we can't tell if these were the chaps who signed the flag but seems very possible. The flag is in fine original condition, with just one small snag on the black swastika and very minor age staining. It is double sided and the colours are still bright and all the signatures, which include the signatories home towns, are readable. The grouping is completed by some limited research and ideally deserves to be on public display back in the US as a tribute to the Thunderbird Division and its men. Measures 50" x 31" (150 cm x 75 cm.)

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