View Full Version : Blood Chits
10-13-09, 09:07 PM
In Vietnam, as in World War II, some unique missions required unique measures. On certain Black Ops flights, in addition to their blood chits, the aircrews carried paper money and gold coins. Needless to say, these required strict inventory control. Upon return from a mission, "I just lost it!" wouldn't work.
Today the United States has pre-printed blood chits most for locations throughout the world. Blood chits, in the appropriate languages, were issued to airmen for operations in Panama, Grenada, Somalia, Bosnia, and the Gulf War. Since the Gulf War, use of blood chits has continued among airmen flying the hostile skies of Southwest Asia. Today the blood chit package includes money, and sometimes a pointee-talkee pictorial display.
I guess my question comment is, are Blood Chits still around today, and does anyone have a copy, or package, they could share with the rest of us?
10-13-09, 09:55 PM
Chit,,, I need one when I go shopping with my wife,,,,,,,That, and a note pinned on my shirt.
10-14-09, 04:24 AM
yeah they're still around but idk how to get ahold of any for you
10-14-09, 07:50 AM
The Flying Tigers' "blood chit"
This was one of many similar blood chits issued to members of the 14th Volunteer Squadron, the American Volunteer Group, the CATF, and the 14th Air Force during the 1930s and 1940s. This one belonged to crew chief Jasper Harrington of the AVG Flying Tigers. The main text (four columns on the right) reads:
This foreign person has come to China to help in the war effort. Soldiers and civilians, one and all, should rescue, protect, and provide him medical care
The five smaller characters to the left of the main text indicates that the chit was issued by the Commission for Aeronautical Affairs of the Chinese Nationalist government. The two above and below the serial number mean just that: di hao = number.
Reproduced from Last Hope: The Blood Chit Story by R.E. Baldwin and Thomas McGarry, the definitive account. (Click on the title to order from Historic Aviation. You can also get it from Amazon.)
This following information about the AVG blood chits appeared on the newsgroup rec.aviation.military in 2003, signed by "Richard":
"I maintain that there were two major printings of AVG chits with some slight material differences possible. AVG chits "always" have the red stamp from the Nationalist goverment's Commission for Aeronautical Affairs centered (or close) on the white field in the middle of the writing, no exceptions. Later chits have them on the left side.
"The earliest AVG chits had only two small Chinese characters above and below the stamped serial number....
"I believe a second printing was done with the addition of 1 more small Chinese character above the number. I believe this printing in anticipation of the SAVG (Second AVG) numbered into the two thousands, most likely since this was to include bombers and crews. Chennault kept or held back the first 200 [blood chits] including #0001 which went on his jacket. I know for a fact that the first 200 were brought back to the states by him. In the early 60's they were donated by his widow to the 14th A.F. Association and sold to raise funds for them at $60.00 each. These are the most common of AVG chits to come across, if you can call any of them common.
"Many AVG members seemed to have also been issued these chits but all were over #200. There must have been a number left over as they were issued also to the early members of The China Air Task Force and beyond, most likely until supplies were exhausted. I have one in the 2000's that is the second printing. All chits I have seen come from AVG members or are still held by them fall into one of these two categories."
[If Richard is correct, and if I understand him correctly, the numbers 0001 to 0400 must be duplicated in the second printing, so that some other airman wore chit number 0467, though with three characters instead of the two shown on Harrington's patch. -- Dan Ford]
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10-14-09, 09:30 AM
yeah they're still around but idk how to get ahold of any for youThanks, but not asking for one, I am asking I suppose for a picture, or contents of the package. Thanks for your service.
Korean/Vietnam War era Blood chits displayed the flag of the United States and the message written out in several languages from that area of Asia. As with all the chits, serial numbers were printed on each and were to be "issued" to the pilots to help aide in the identification process should the pilot become missing or die in a crash, and the chit was later to be found. This was not always the case, as many aviation units just handed out or placed the chit in the pilot's survival kit or flight suit, never documenting the serial number. On the other hand, some units considered the chit a "sensitive item" and strictly followed unit SOP for issue of the chit, placing the serial number in the pilot's official military records.
Over the years the message printed on the chits were changed to aid in the pilot's safety without giving more information than needed about the reason for his sudden presence. Whereas in WWII, the chit may have said, "I'm an American service member, here to fight the German or Japanese forces..." In 1962, the Southeast Asia - West Central Pacific version of the chits were changed to read: " I am a citizen of the United States of America...Misfortune forces me to seek your assistance in obtaining food, shelter and protection..." Written in such a matter as to not inflict unnecessary harm to the pilot/crewmember should he be found or captured in enemy territory.
To this day, Blood Chits are issued to pilots and crews operating in hostile territory. Although sometimes controversial, they remain essential to a pilot's safety, and could perhaps someday save his life.