Double, Triple and Quadruple Heroes
The concept of “twice, thrice, four times Hero” today seems somewhat strange, probably it would be more correct to talk about awarding several Gold Star medals. But this is a fact of our history, and it cannot be bypassed.
For the first time, three pilots became Heroes twice for the feats of arms shown in battles with the Japanese interventionists on the Khalkhin Gol River in 1939: Major Sergei Ivanovich Gritsevets and Colonel Grigory Panteleevich Kravchenko (Decree of August 29), as well as commander Yakov Vladimirovich Smushkevich (Decree dated 17 November). The fate of all three was tragic.
Marshal of the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Army H. Choibalsan congratulates twice Hero of the Soviet Union S. I. Gritsevets with a high government award
Gritsevets shot down 11 enemy planes in the sky of Khalkhin Gol. He died in a plane crash less than a month after the award. Kravchenko, who commanded a fighter aviation regiment at Khalkhin Gol and shot down 7 Japanese aircraft during the conflict, in 1940 became the youngest Lieutenant General of the Red Army. During the Great Patriotic War, he successfully commanded an air division, but on February 23, 1943, he died after jumping out of a downed plane and failing to use a parachute (his exhaust cable was broken by shrapnel). Smushkevich was arrested in the summer of 1941 and shot in the autumn of the same year.
Kravchenko and Gritsevets became the first twice Heroes of the Soviet Union
In 1940, the number of twice Heroes increased by two people: the head of the rescue expedition to remove the icebreaker “Georgy Sedov” from the ice, Hero of the Soviet Union Ivan Dmitrievich Papanin became twice a Hero (Decree of February 3), he received the second “Gold Star” for battles in Finland pilot commander Sergei Prokofyevich Denisov (Decree of March 21).
I. D. Papanin at the drifting station SP-1
During the Great Patriotic War, 101 people became Heroes twice, seven of them posthumously. Pilot Hero of the Soviet Union Lieutenant Colonel Stepan Pavlovich Suprun By decree of July 22, 1941, he was the first in the Great Patriotic War to be awarded the second Gold Star medal. On June 14, 1942, the first twice Hero appeared, both times awarded this title during the war. This was also a pilot, Lieutenant Colonel Boris Feoktistovich Safonov, Commander of the Fighter Aviation Regiment of the Northern Fleet.
Among the twice Heroes were three Marshals of the Soviet Union – Alexander Mikhailovich Vasilevsky, Ivan Stepanovich Konev and Konstantin Konstantinovich Rokossovsky, one Air Chief Marshal – Alexander Alexandrovich Novikov, 21 generals and 76 officers. There were no soldiers and sergeants among the twice Heroes.
During the Second World War, 101 people became Heroes twice, 7 of them posthumously
It should be noted that in 1944 Decrees were promulgated to award the navigator of a fighter regiment, Major Nikolai Dmitrievich Gulaev (during the war years, he made 250 sorties, personally shot down 55 enemy aircraft in 49 air battles) with the third Golden Star, as well as a number of pilots of the second “Gold Star”, but none of them received awards due to a brawl they arranged in a Moscow restaurant on the eve of receiving. The orders were cancelled.
Nikolai Dmitrievich Gulaev
After the war, the number of double Heroes continued to increase. In 1948, lieutenant colonel, future Chief Air Marshal of the USSR, Alexander Ivanovich Koldunov was awarded the second Gold Star medal. During the war years, Koldunov made 412 sorties, in 96 air battles he personally shot down 46 enemy aircraft.
In September 1957, the famous pilot Vladimir Konstantinovich Kokkinaki was awarded the title of twice Hero of the Soviet Union for testing aviation equipment, the first he received back in 1938.
In total, 154 people became Heroes of the Soviet Union twice
Marshals of the Soviet Union Semyon Konstantinovich Timoshenko, Rodion Yakovlevich Malinovsky, Ivan Khristoforovich Bagramyan, Kirill Semenovich Moskalenko and Matvey Vasilievich Zakharov received the second “Gold Star” after the war in connection with various anniversaries, and Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Sergey Georgievich Gorshkov, Marshals of the Soviet Union Kliment Efremovich Voroshilov and Andrey Antonovich Grechko generally became Heroes twice only in peacetime.