HUGE Grouping for WWII Air Force 1st Lt. Denzil (Dee) E. Gates (Career Air Force Retired as Lt. Col.)-Denzil (Dee) Gates, of Midwest City, OK, was a career air force man who served bravely in WWII, Korea and Vietnam. He was not only a soldier, but also a teacher. Please, take the time now to read his obituary which lists many of his achievements, you will no doubt be thoroughly amazed:
Denzil (Dee) Gates exited this world on March 7, 2005 at the age of 83. He was born in Santa Fe, OK, 13 October 1921 to Edmond Eugene and Zella Myrle Hufstedler Gates of Randolph County, AR. On 3 April 1953, he married Etta Flodelle Hooton in San Antonio, TX. Flo died in August of 2003. Dee graduated from Alma High school in 1940 and started college at East Central State College, Ada, OK. He left college to join the Army Air Corp, attending Pilot training and AAF Instructors School, Barksdale, LA, Helicopter pilot training, Gary AFB, TX. Following WWII, he went to Harding College, Searcy, AR obtaining a BS in Math and a BS in Physics. He attended Engineering classes at Monterrey Technical University, Monterrey, Mexico and obtained a BS in Industrial Engineering and BS in Management from Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK. Dee entered the US Army Air Force, as an Aviation Cadet, March 1942 and graduated as a 2nd Lt. He retired from US Air Force, as a Command Pilot, July 1966 with the rank of Lt. Col. He entered civilian service at Tinker AFB Oct. 1966 as an Industrial Engineer and retired in July 1988 as a Senior Industrial Engineer. Dee Gates held a Command Pilot's rating with 41 other awards and decorations earned during his 24 years of active duty service. He has flown over 15,000 hours in a career that covered three wars and took him to every continent of the world except Australia. The 19 major types of aircraft he has flown in combat include B-17 and B-24 in North Africa and Italy; L-19 and T-6 in Korea. While stationed state-side in the mid-1950s, he was involved in three flood rescue missions by helicopter, the H-13, H-19 and H-21, to Comstock, TX, Grand Canyon, AZ and Tampico, Mexico. He held instructor ratings for pilot, helicopter and forward air observer. He climaxed his service with C-124 Globemaster as Flight Commander with the 28th Military Airlift Squadron at Hill AFB. He served in these campaigns: NaplesFoggia, Rome-Arno, Normandy Air Offensive Europe, Poyang Tec, Korea, 1954- Comstock & Loredo, TX flood rescue (H-19) 1955 - Tampico, Mexico flood rescue (H-21), 1956- Grand Canyon & Havasupi reservation, AZ flood rescue (H-19), Vietnam. He received the following awards: American Theater Campaign Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award (3), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Army of Occupation Medal, Air Medal with 7 Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Force Longevity Service Award (6), Air Force Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon Bronze Star Medal, Distinguished Unit Badge with 2 Oak Leaf Cluster (3), Distinguished Flying Cross European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 4 Bronze Service Stars Korean Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Oak Cluster Citation Presidential Unit Citation, Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal United Nations Service Medal. He also received three Crosses of Military Service: WWII, Korea & Vietnam from the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Oklahoma State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors, Federal Aeronautics Administration: Single & multi-engine; Helicopter H-13, H-19, H-21; Douglas DC-3; C-124, instructor, Flight Instructor: airplane & helicopter instrument. He was a life member and past Board member of the Oklahoma Historical Society. He was a life member of the Air Force Association, American Legion Post 170, Free & Accepted Masons #71, India Shriners, Knight Templar, Ivanhoe 18, Mosquito Association, National Rifle Association, Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the York Rite. He was a member of the Oklahoma Society of Professional Engineers, Society of Professional Engineers & Scientists, and Eastside Church of Christ.
If that doesn’t sum up the life of a hero, I do not know what would. The grouping we have to offer is from very early in his military career. Let’s start with his private purchase Class A tunic, dated 1/43 on the tag inside the jacket. It is a top quality piece produced in soft green material. There is extremely minor wear in a few spots as to be expected. All of the buttons are present. The insignia is from when he was a 1st lieutenant. The patches are the AAF and the 15th Air Force. The unit citation ribbon bar is seen on the right side. The ribbon bar on the left side includes his EAME medal with three stars, his American Campaign medal and his Air Medal, complete with 4 oak leaf clusters. Lastly on the tunic is his Pilot Wings. Inside, the tailor label indicates this garment was produced by the Kahn Tailoring Co of Indianapolis. There is also a very fancy “DG” monogram tag just above the pocket. The other garments included are a tan service shirt, complete with 15th Air Force Patch on left sleeve, two green service shirts (one has the 15th on the right sleeve and the other has the same plus an AAF patch on the left) and a grey shirt with “Flying Cadet U.S. Air Force” patch on the left sleeve and ciphers on the collar. The grouping also includes two side caps….one to match the cadet shirt and another to go with the jacket or green shirts. The last garment to be included is a set of tan canvas gaiters. The grouping also includes other miscellaneous insignia, wings, buttons etc. One special piece is his Elgin military wristwatch with elasticized metal band. The reverse says “Type A-11, Spec. No. 94-27834” plus other info. It doesn’t appear to function but we have not tried to wind or take the back cover off. There are some paper items as well including a Yank newspaper from August 17, 1944, a pamphlet titled “Protection in the Nuclear Age” dated February 1977 put out by the Department of Defense, two postcards (one from Purcell, Okla. and one from Forest Lawn,the sculpture “The Mystery of Life”) and lastly a really great old advertisement for the Aero Motor Company and Flying School of Schidler, Okla. featuring a picture of an airship and an “electric mule” which sure looks like a fork lift to me. The advert for the dirigible states that “These monster flyers will be the ocean liners of the future…..”. The last piece of this huge grouping is a chunk of shrapnel. I wish I knew more about this because I am sure it has a great story! An amazing grouping for an amazing hero!