A Man of Simple Means, A Hero to His Family

“I can’t tell you what goes on, but the Italians are going to have a lot of bridges to build when the war is over.” (My father writing to his parents, dated December 9, 1944).

Daddy was a B-25 pilot, one of many brave warriors of the 321st Group, commanded by General Robert Knapp, a friend of General Jimmy Doolittle, who used the B-25 to launch a strike on Japan from the deck of an aircraft carrier.

On April 27, 1945, my father was awarded a 6th Oak Leaf Cluster to his Air Medal.  That was his well-deserved birthday present.  On April 27th this year, had he lived, he would be 99.  Daddy wrote to his parents on April 25th that he had finished 70 bombing missions over Italy, as the Allies drove the Germans back north.  I wonder if he had any premonition that his son, me, would be born exactly one year later.

On May 8th, VE Day, General Knapp pinned on Daddy’s Distinguished Flying Cross, and soon he would be home.

The photo is actually one of the B-25’s that my father flew.  Back then aircraft in the field would have various “decorations,” usually of shapely ladies.  My have times changed.

Tom Brokaw has referred to the WWII generation as America’s Greatest Generation.  All I know for sure is our father was to me, “the greatest man.”

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