Friday, 25 November 2011


He was a pilot, born on 2nd October 1920 in a coal mining town near Scranton, Pennsylvania, USA. On graduating from high school he worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps at Quantico, Virginia in a quarry, mining stone for roads, dams and bridges in a National Park.

In August 1941 he went to Toronto, Canada and did his basic training in Owen Sound, Ontario before being sent to England via Liverpool in order to fulfil the desperate need for pilots and aircrew. After further training in England, he earned his pilot’s wings and was sent to the air gunnery school at RAF Tranwell near Morpeth, Newcastle upon Tyne where he flew target towing aircraft. He was later posted to 304 Squadron who were, at that time, in Coastal Command. His duties there were anti-submarine warfare, convoy protection and harassment of enemy shipping.

In May 1943, he was one of many Americans who were compelled to join the USAAF and was sent to Texas for training as a fighter pilot. He was posted back to Europe in January 1945 and flew Mustangs in the European Theatre until the end of hostilities. Towards the end of the war he flew ground support missions over Germany as part of the 48th Fighter Group; his aircraft was a Republic P47 Thunderbolt. In 1947, he returned to the United States.

After the war he was based at Williams Air Force Base in Arizona where he trained cadets to fly the modern fighters, later teaching combat tactics at Nellis Air Force Base in the Nevada desert.

In 1950 he played an active role in the Korean War, volunteering to fly with the 49th Fighter group. He flew Lockheed F-80C Shooting Stars as ground support to the land forces. In that conflict he extended his tour of duty on three occasions. After the war ended he continued to fly fighters until 1957 – but even then he transferred to the Reserves at Long Beach, California, finally retiring in 1972.

In an illustrious career, he was decorated by the Polish Government in exile, the British, the French,
the South Koreans, the United Nations and both the US Army and the US Air Force.

After his military service he worked as a Technical Writer for McDonnell Douglas and the Rockwell Corporation, finally retiring at the age of 72. He died on 28th March 2000 at Long Beach, California, USA.

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