Local

October 12, 2012

World War II veterans get pinned after 60 years

Tags:
by Tech. Sgt. Kyle Platt
452 AMW Civil Engineer Sqaudron
bomb gp 1
Members from 452nd Bombardment Group take a break while touring a KC-135 Stratotanker, during a reunion at March Field Sep. 8. This reunion was not just a gathering of old friends, but an award ceremony that was 60 years overdue. For their courageous actions during WWII, the group was awarded the Distinguished Service Award, later known as the Presidential Citation. (U.S. Air Force photo / Master Sgt. Carson Hampton)

Twelve original members of the 452nd Bombardment Group travelled from all over the U.S. to meet at March Field, Calif., for their annual reunion, Sep. 8. This was an occasion for old friends to share stories of their time in WWII and in this particular case, for some of them to be awarded a citation that was more than 60 years overdue.

They piled out of the white tour bus at the March Field Air Museum, headed on a journey back in time to revisit good and bad memories of their time spent together during the war. Some walked with canes and others rode scooters, however, all had the same smile stretched across their face as they watched the doors of a display B-17 Flying Fortress aircraft swing open for them to enter. After touring the historic aircraft and the remaining museum attractions, the group headed to the March Air Reserve Base flight line for a tour of the KC-135 Stratotanker and the C-17 Globemaster III.

Retired Lt. Charles Mueller, a B-17 navigator during WWII, was amazed to hear how the C-17 can fly using named waypoints to anywhere in the world with an accuracy of about 27 feet. The difference in the technology used in WWII compared to today’s Air Force, was very apparent.

“We used an octant to shoot at least three stars in order to get a triangulated position of where we thought we were. If you could be within three miles, you were a pretty good navigator, if it was within a mile, you were the best,” said Mueller. “Our radar compasses sometimes weren’t very accurate because of solar radiation and on pond crossings from Canada to England, the magnetic compass wouldn’t work very well either, so it was up to the navigator to get us close enough to the airfield so the pilots could land the airplane.”

The long awaited citation recognition ceremony was based on the events that transpired on April 7, 1945. High over the skies of Kaltenkirchen, Germany, 38 B-17’s assigned to the 452d BG took off from their base in England and delivered a damaging blow to one of Germany’s most ferocious airfields. The group, comprised of members from the 728th, 729th, 730th and 731st Bomb Squadrons, dropped more than 176,000 pounds of bombs, crippling the runway and making it impossible for the Germans to launch their ME 262 fighter aircraft out of that airfield for weeks. Their efforts are remembered as a defining moment in the air war of WWII.

For their service, members of the 452d BG were awarded the Distinguished Service Award, later known as the Presidential Unit Citation. Unfortunately, many of the men were shot down, captured, or returned home having never received the actual award.

Lt. Col. Paul Blenz, commander of the 729th Airlift Squadron wanted to right that wrong. “It is important for our members to understand and know the heritage of our unit, but more importantly, it is crucial for us to recognize the men and women that came before us and gave us that heritage,” said Blenz. “I also wanted the past members of the 452d Bombardment Group to know that we have not forgotten them, and never will.”

In a ceremony held at the 729th AS building, Blenz presented Presidential Unit Citations, along with the original general orders to nine surviving members that had never received the award. In addition, he pinned each with a Presidential Unit Citation ribbon after reading the General Orders from that day.

More than 16,596,000 Americans served during WWII. By 2020, it is estimated that we will only have 17,000 members from that era alive, which equates to the passing away of almost one every two minutes. The 452nd Bombardment Group lost more than 30 original members last year.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Megan Crusher

Team March pays respect to fallen

U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Megan Crusher Chief Master Sgt. Brian C. Wong, command chief, 4th Air Force, salutes the grave of Abraham W. Shuman, Company H215, Pennsylvania Infantry Volunteer Regiment, who died Aug. 5, 1903...
 
 
Courtesy photo

Taming the TDY beast of single parenting

Courtesy photo Taming the beast together makes for one big happy family, right? Greetings my fellow service members. I have just come from the belly of the beast and I would like to share my experience with everyone. You may be...
 
 

101 Critical Days of Summer reminders

With summer vacations just around the corner, we have entered the 101 Critical Days of Summer. No matter what your choice of recreation is, planning it ahead of time and taking some basic precautions will keep you safe and make your time much more enjoyable during these 101 Critical Days of Summer! Following are tips...
 

 
MD-5

Memorial Day weekend

Courtesy photo A young, patriotic volunteer pauses to salute those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for this country. She was helping her family place flags on veteran’s graves at Riverside National Cemetery for Memorial ...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Tiffany Lindemann

Army National Guard recruits visit March Field

U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Tiffany Lindemann Maj. Cliff Atherton, pilot, 336th Air Refueling Squadron, talks to new Army National Guard recruits and their friends during a KC-135 Stratotanker tour, as part of the Guard’s...
 
 
U.S. Marine Corps photo/Cpl. Isaac Ibarra

Joint Task Force 505 begins drawdown in Nepal

U.S. Marine Corps photo/Cpl. Isaac Ibarra U.S. Marines and Nepalese soldiers unload tarps off of a UH-1Y Huey at Orang, Nepal, during Operation Sahayogi Haat, May 19, 2015. Joint Task Force 505 is drawing down its earthquake re...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin