Rare Named WW2 Distinguished Flying Cross to Brazilian Pilot – Rocha

Incredibly Rare Named WW2 Distinguished Flying Cross to Brazilian Pilot Fernando Corrêa Rocha.

Medal is period hand engraved with the inscription “2ND LT FERNANDO CORREIA ROCHA”. Originally a US Mint contract medal. When obtained, planchette was broken off of original suspension bar and did not include its original drape. We have restored the medal by adding a WW2 era slot brooch drape and including a WW2 era case (for a proper and respectful display of this artifact).

*Artifact(s) come(s) with a packet of printed research paperwork related to Fernando Corrêa Rocha – including (where available) subject’s general vital statistics/subject’s military records/additional insights into subject’s military service. [Please note that this research was performed exclusively by/for Magi Militaria utilizing subscription-based archives, database resources, and other various internet searchable sources – included research may contain records from U.S. government archives, but the information furnished in this packet was not produced via NARA/NPRC information request.]

2nd Lieutenant Fernando Corrêa (Correia) Rocha, a native born Brazilian, flew as a P-47 pilot with 1º Grupo de Aviação de Caça (1º GAVCA, “1st Fighter Group”) of the Brazilian Air Force during World War 2 (Brazil joined the Allied war effort in 1942 and was the only South American country to send forces overseas during the conflict).

As part of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force, the 1st Fighter Group was the only Brazilian air component which engaged in combat directly over enemy ground during WW2 and consisted of only 43 pilots at its inception. In 1944, the 1st Fighter Group arrived in Italy, joining the 350th Fighter Group of the United States Army Air Forces. By the time of the U.S. Fifth Army’s offensive into the Po Valley in April of 1945, the 1st Fighter Group had been reduced to only 25 active pilots. In total, the 1st Fighter Group flew a total of 445 missions, 2,550 individual sorties, and 5,465 combat flight hours, from 11 November 1944 to 6 May 1945.

During his time with the 1st Fighter Group, Lieutenant Rocha would fly a total of 75 missions – earning numerous awards for his bravery and skill from both the Brazilian and United States Armed Forces (including the Distinguished Flying Cross).

Distinguished Flying Cross Citation (12th Air Force – G.O. No. 50 – June 16, 1945):

For extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as pilot of a P-47 type aircraft on 30 April 1945. Lieutenant Rocha flew as wing man of the leader of a formation of four aircraft ordered to conduct an armed reconnaissance of the battle area in the northeastern portion of the Po Valley, Italy. A low overcast forced the flight to carry the mission out at a minimum altitude, exposing it to all types of enemy flak. In an attack on four enemy vehicles loaded with ammunition, Lieutenant Rocha destroyed one. His aircraft was hit on the first pass and the supercharger knocked out of action; only his quiet and calm judgment prevented this from becoming a fire hazard. Pressing a second attack to the enemy, he received numerous other hits on wing, fuselage, and canopy of his aircraft. Disregarding the damage to his aircraft, he joined the flight in further attacks on motor transport and personally accounted for one of three locomotives severely damaged. His exceptional proficiency allowed him to effect a safe return to base in his crippled aircraft. His courage and devotion to duty reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of the Allied Nations.