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A friend of mine has a wooden bust, of a Braniff International pilot circa 1960, that someone told him was of General Joe Stillwell. Can anyone shed any light on this? Thanks.
4th Jun 2012, 20:45
Well, if you're talking about General Joe Stilwell of Chindits and Chiang Kai Chek fame the answer is an emphatic No. Vinegar Joe died in uniform in 1946 as a ten second search on Wiki would tell even the laziest researcher...
4th Jun 2012, 20:55
a quick Google shows that Vinegar's son, also called Joe, became a Brigadier General
brief details at the bottom of
History - Golden Knights Alumni (http://www.goldenknightsaa.com/history/chapter1-3.asp)
image of the son from that page
not convinced its the same guy though
wiki entry https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Warren_Stilwell,_Jr.
"He was lost at sea when flying with a friend in a DC-3 to Hawaii." - July 25, 1966
And this site https://secure.flickr.com/photos/sheenachi/220478908/ makes it clear he was still in service and flying to Vietnam when he died
So, unlikely its either father or son
4th Jun 2012, 23:33
The guy in the photograph is wearing an XVIII Corps (Airborne) shoulder patch on his left shoulder.....that rules out his Father.
5th Jun 2012, 00:31
yeah - the photo I posted is of the son, who appears to have been an airborne / special forces type
The question really is whether the carving is of the same guy. If you look there appears to be a badge on the left shoulder of the carving, though the angle makes it hard to see.
Question is though, why would he be wearing a Braniff cap and badge?
5th Jun 2012, 00:46
Think I may have a possible answer
In 1941 the head of the USA National Safety Council was Colonel John Stilwell
- the younger brother of Vinegar Joe
Theres an old newspaper cutting at 24 Mar 1942 - AVIATION SAFETY American Awards For 1941 (http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/2563445) showing this
Also photos of him with similar comments at
Public Safety Director Elliot Ness Greeting Colonel John Stilwell - U551799ACME - Rights Managed - Stock Photo - Corbis (http://www.corbisimages.com/stock-photo/rights-managed/U551799ACME/public-safety-director-elliot-ness-greeting-colonel)
The Pittsburgh Press - Google News Archive Search (http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1144&dat=19401010&id=6k0bAAAAIBAJ&sjid=XUwEAAAAIBAJ&pg=2392,1177596)
However note he wasn't an airman at that stage - he was VP of Consolidated Edison. I wonder if the bust was some kind of thank-you for him giving Braniff a safety award - in which they gave him a fictitious pilots rank?
Or maybe a memorial when he died in 1963?
Agaricus - In retrospect, I should have put a better title on the post as I did know that Vinegar Joe Stilwell passed away in 1946. Sorry about that.
A little more background. The bust was passed along by the widow of an ex-FAA employee. She told my friend that her husband told her it was Vinegar Joe Stilwell. It didn't make any sense to us either, but I thought it best to share exactly what we'd been told.
Milo - Thank you for the information you shared. I'll pursue this further and see where it leads.
5th Jun 2012, 07:49
Can anyone shed any light on this?
Well, not exactly shedding light, but bust in the original photograph kindly posted by Jttx (clever moniker:ok:) bears little resemblance to the Stilwell family in my view - more like a young Michael Heseltine really ....:)
6th Jun 2012, 18:04
Milo, your link is fascinating, not so much for Colonel Stillwell, but for the other man in the photo, "Elliot Ness". It seems that this indeed was the famous Eliot Ness, leader of the "Untouchables", and nemesis of the likes of Al Capone. Ironic that a man who survived so many attempts on his life by such violent thugs should end up as "Public Safety Director" of the City of Cleveland. Perhaps "safety" had different connotations then! Even more ironic that a man whose job was enforcing Prohibition should lose his job and reputation following a "drunk in charge" incident:
Eliot Ness Biography - Facts, Birthday, Life Story - Biography.com (http://www.biography.com/people/eliot-ness-9542066?page=1)
As to Braniff, I had no idea that Michael Heseltine once flew for them. The things you learn here!
7th Jun 2012, 06:27
"Public Safety Director" = boss over both the Police department and the Fire Department in Yank-speak.