There were souvenirs.
On July 4 1944, in Townsville, Queensland, Australia Leo Carter and fellow air warriors celebrated Independence Day, their survival, and their imminent journey home.
On July 7, my father, Leo Carter, placed an order for reproduction 5th Bombardment Group (Heavy) “Winged Skull” and 23rd Bomb Squadron (Heavy) “Masked Skeleton” insignia.
The 5th BG (H) was originally created as the 2nd Group (Observation) in Hawaii in 1919 and the inscription on the official “Winged Skull” insignia means “Guardians of the Upper Realms”.
The 23rd Bomb Squadron (Heavy) “Masked Skeleton” insignia was not something the USAAF officially adopted. It was unique to the squadron and to the time. Leo Carter was also an artist and 1960 created the official patch of the 2868th Ground Electronics Engineering and Installation Agency while stationed at Elmendorf AFB near Anchorage, Alaska. So, it’s possible that the rendering below is his work, but I never got the chance to ask.
Attached to the receipt is a copy of the three page list of names and mailing addresses for air and ground crew who are to get one of each of the insignia by mail. Included are Leo Carter and 63 of the 69 other crew who first entered the war in the same ferry group of seven brand-new B-24 Heavy Bombers – They came to war together and after 48 missions they left together.