Europe, December 1944
At the start of my tour in Europe I took this photo at a London studio for the folks back home. The bar on the hat defined my officer status. Flight Officer was blue, 2nd Lt. Gold, and 1st Lt. Silver.
After 6 months, on 8/11/44, I was officially promoted to 2nd Lt. I have only my pilot wings as decoration on the officer’s jacket in this photo (left).
Three months later, on 11/1/44, I was promoted to 1st Lt. So now as the only 1st Lt. on the Howling Banshee, I supposedly had some clout over the rest of my crew. Honestly, I had a great crew. I can’t remember them giving me any flak.
During my 8 months in Europe, I received the Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters and the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC).
On 12/2/44, I was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for extraordinary achievement.
The orders read:
“For extraordinary achievement, while serving as a Pilot of a B-24 airplane on many bombardment missions over Continental Europe. Displaying great courage and skill, this officer has materially aided in the successful completion in each of these missions and his actions are inspiring examples for his fellow flyers. The courage, coolness, and exceptional skill displayed by this Officer on all these occasions reflect the highest credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of the United States. By command of Major General Kepner.“
Major Charles N. Breeding, the 753rd Squadron Commander, presented the DFC Award to me and my fellow officers.
I was so very proud to have this added to my Air Medal and 3 Oak Clusters which I received on earlier occasions. I also received the European-African-Middle Eastern Theater Ribbon with 5 Bronze Stars for Air Offensive Europe, Normandy, Northern France, Germany, Ardennes.