Denise Rohan

2018-4-15 Rohan

Denise Rohan was elected national commander of the 2 million-member American Legion on Aug. 24, 2017, in Reno, Nev., during the 99th national convention of America’s largest veterans organization.

Born in McGregor, Iowa, Denise (Hulbert) Rohan lived in Elkader, Iowa, until leaving for U.S. Army basic training at Fort McClellan, Ala., in 1974. She served on active duty as a stock control and accounting specialist and repair parts specialist course instructor at Fort Lee, Va., until her honorable discharge in August 1976.

Rohan and her husband, Mike, currently live in Verona, Wis., where she has served The American Legion since 1984. Prior to her transfer to Post 385 in Verona, she served as the commander of Post 333 in Sun Prairie, Wis., where she established a Sons of the American Legion squadron and chartered a Boy Scout troop. She has also served as the department commander of Wisconsin.

Rohan and Mike are both 2006 graduates of the National American Legion College and 2015 graduates of the Wisconsin American Legion College-Basic Course, and have gone on to serve as department and national American Legion College facilitators.

Rohan was employed with the University of Wisconsin Madison as the assistant bursar of student loans until her retirement in 2012. She managed the University of Wisconsin Madison, University of Wisconsin Green Bay and University of Wisconsin Colleges $120 million loan portfolio made up of approximately 200 different federal, institutional and state programs in compliance with all laws, regulations and policy. She was responsible for the efficiency and design of the computerized student loan accounts receivable system.

She is a graduate of Mount Senario College in Ladysmith, Wis., and The Collegiate Management Institute.

Rohan served the Family Readiness Group as a civilian volunteer with the Wisconsin Army National Guard 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team and 1-105th Cavalry Squadron.  She also served with the 115th Fighter Wing, Wisconsin Air National Guard Airman and Family Readiness Program.

Her theme as national commander is “Family First” and her fundraising project is the Legion’s Temporary Financial Assistance program and the Legion’s service officer program. TFA awards cash grants to minor children of veterans who are eligible for American Legion membership. These grants help families in need meet the cost of shelter, food, utilities and health expenses, thereby keeping the child or children in a more stable environment.

Rohan has been married to Mike since 1976, and they have a son, Nicholas, daughter-in-law Angie, and two grandchildren, Sawyer and Isla. Mike is very active with The American Legion on both the state and national levels and is a past department adjutant. Nick and Sawyer are members of Squadron 385, and Isla is a member of Unit 385.

We honor you, Denise Rohan.

(#Repost @American Legion)

Lt. Col. Jimmy Kilbourne Sr.

2018-4-3 Kilbourne

Retired Lt. Col. Jimmy Kilbourne Sr. (pictured bottom right), 84, received two Silver Stars and three Distinguished Flying Crosses as an A-1E Skyraider pilot with the 602nd Fighter Squadron and later the 602nd Special Operations Squadron, in Vietnam and Thailand. His 25-year career also included service in the Korean War.

In a November 1997 interview with the late Robert Noyer, Kilbourne said he was most proud of the Silver Star with Oak Leaf Cluster awarded for valor in leading a large-scale effort to rescue the surviving crew members of three helicopters shot down by hostile ground fire Nov. 8, 1967, on a mountainside a few miles inside Laos.

The helicopters had been shot down during their attempts to extract a 12-man reconnaissance team of American and South Vietnamese soldiers that had been ambushed by a North Vietnamese Army battalion as they returned from a secret mission on the Ho Chi Minh Trail. In his interview with Kilbourne, Noyer wrote that “excerpts from the citation … tell a story of a pilot who would not give up his rescue efforts in spite of enemy fire which severely damaged his A-1E Skyraider aircraft.”

“While flying at low altitude to locate the survivors, and to pinpoint enemy gun positions, he received several hits, damaging a gun pod and external fuel tank. With the enemy firing on the survivors, then-Major Kilbourne strafed the gun emplacements, receiving more hits, this time in vital areas ― generator, propeller, internal fuel tank, hydraulic system, and worst of all, the engine. He was able to escort a successful rescue helicopter from the scene in spite of his plane being almost unflyable, returning to his base with navigation equipment inoperative. The landing, almost anticlimactic, was successful in spite of the heavy damage to his aircraft.”

Kilbourne’s first Silver Star was awarded for actions in July 1967 supporting the rescue of a downed Navy pilot just 40 miles south of Hanoi.

All told, Kilbourne flew 160 combat missions during two tours of duty. Some of his decorations resulted from the many resupply missions he flew. These included “an emergency humanitarian flight to aid Father Hoa and his Swallows,” Noyer noted. “Father Hoa, a Catholic priest, operated an armed enclave in the Delta, resisting nightly Viet Cong forays.”

We honor you, Jimmy Kilbourne Sr.

(Submission by: Ninzel Rasmuson. #Repost @AirForce Times)

WASP Marie “Deanie” Bishop Parrish

2018-3-26 Parrish

Born and raised in Florida, Marie Deanie Bishop grew up with a determination to prove herself. On her twenty-first birthday Deanie, who had learned to fly, reached the age requirement for admission to the WASP program and applied that day.

After acceptance, Deanie reported to Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas, on November 1,1943, where she began training. As a member of class 44-w-4, she was one of the first women pilots to go from primary training directly to advanced training, bypassing the basic training level. After the women successfully made that training change, skipping the intermediate “basic” level, all pilot training in the Army Air-force implemented this system.

Following graduation from flight school, Deanie was sent to Greenville Army Air Base in Greenville, Mississippi, where she was one of three WASPs on base. As an engineering test pilot, she tested and repaired new aircraft to be re-released for instructors and cadets in training. At Greenville she test-flew a twin-engine aircraft for the first time.

Because of her success in flying twin-engine aircraft, Deanie was soon selected for the B-26 Flexible Gunnery School at Tyndall Army Air-force Base in Florida. She was one of eight women pilots to pass all training tests flying the difficult B-26 Martin Marauder. One of her duties was to hold the B-26 in a flight pattern while B-24s would fly by with gunners shooting live ammunition at the sleeve target towed by the B-26. The training was crucial to prepare gunners for combat. Deanie was stationed at Tyndall for the remainder of her time as a WASP.

After the WASP disbanded on December 20,1944, Deanie continued to work in base operations as an aircraft dispatcher. She later went to Langley Air Force Base where a civil service position as chief aircraft dispatcher in base operations was created for her. In 1946 Deanie married Bill Parrish, a B-24 pilot from Tyndall Air Force Base, and she accompanied him when his orders sent him to Panama. There she became private secretary for the director of operations for the 6th Air Force.

After the war, she returned to school and graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor of science degree from the University of Houston. She served as national secretary of the National WASP Organization and chair of the WASP Steering Committee for the National WASP World War II Museum. As associate director and primary interviewer for Wings Across America, a project to document and educate others on the history of the WASP, she recorded over 103 interviews with WASPs, preserving the history of the first American women to fly military aircraft.

We honor you, Deanie Parrish.

(#Repost @What-How-When)

TSgt Charles Luther Blount

2018-3-22 Blount

Charles Blount was often the last person to see a paratrooper as he dove out of the plane over a drop zone. “I counted them as they went out,” Blount says, detailing the events that took place aboard his plane in the early morning hours of June 6, 1944. From Normandy to Holland to the Battle of the Bulge, Blount saw the beginning of three major campaigns for victory in Europe. The following is the record of the plane crash he was involved in:

The plane was loaded with approximately 150-200 Jerry cans of gasoline. As Lt Estelle lowered the landing gear and made his approach to land, he instructed his crew chief to look out the glass dome for enemy planes. Charles Blount spotted two ME-109s behind and above them. He dropped to the floor and attempted to shout a warning, but 20MM explosive rounds were already ripping through the plane. A fragment from an exploding round struck TSgt Blount in the shoulder. The impact drove him back to the floor, landing behind the co-pilot’s seat. He managed to get into the cockpit and found the pilot and co-pilot uninjured. The pilot had shut all systems down to reduce the danger of fire inside the plane. One wing was ablaze as the pilot made a safe landing. In the words of TSgt Blount, “they landed without spilling a single can of gasoline.”

Later TSgt Blount found the base of the 20MM exploding round inside the plane, which he kept as a souvenir. The fragment in his shoulder remained there the rest of his life.

In 1981 in a bar, in Michigan, two men struck up a conversation. One said he had grown up in Germany, but now lived in the US and practiced law. The two men were about the same age which caused the second man to ask if the lawyer had been in the war. He stated he had been a fighter pilot. The second man said he had also been a C-47 pilot. The German said “I shot down a C-47 one morning near Kassel, Germany.”

The two pilots had first met 26 years earlier in the air near Kassel, Germany as war time enemies.

We honor you, Charles Blount.

(#Repost @Veteran’s History Project and National Purple Heart Hall of Honor)

 

Anthony John DiBartolomeo Sr.

2018-3-21 DiBartolomeo

Anthony was drafted into the military on December 2, 1942. He was sent to Camp Kilmer, South Plain Field, N.J. From there he went to Miami, Florida for basic training, then on to Savannah, Georgia and then to Columbia AFB, Columbia, SC. He returned to Camp Kilmer and from there was shipped out to England on the Queen Mary, which was converted to a troop ship carrying 16,000 men.

They arrived in England in March 1944. On June 13, 1944 his squadron, the 83rd Airdrome, 9th Air Force landed on Omaha Beach, Normandy, France. There they were attached to Patton’s 3rd Army and followed him to the end of the war.

Anthony returned to the USA and was honorably discharged in November 1945. He returned to his job and worked there and other jobs till October 1951, when he was hired as Middlesex’s 1st regular Italian Officer.

During his twenty-six year career, Anthony was awarded as the “Police Officer of the Year” by the America Legion and the Middlesex Jaycee’s.

He was also a marksman shooter on the Middlesex Police department Pistol Team. In 1955 Allentown, PA. He came in second place in a National Shoot. He and another person both shot 299 out of 300. Anthony had eighteen times in the black and the person who came in first had twenty-two times.

We honor you, Anthony DiBartolomeo Sr.

(#Repost @Andrew’s Mortuary)

Maj Gen John L. Borling

2018-3-17 Borling

John L. Borling was born in Chicago, Illinois in March, 1940. He graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 1963, and received his pilot’s wings in 1964. By 1966 then-Lieutenant Borling was flying combat missions from a base in Thailand over North Vietnam. His F-4 Phantom was shot down on June 1, 1966 while flying his 97th mission. Borling spent the next six and a half years in enemy prison camps, including the notorious Hanoi Hilton. During the first few years as a prisoner of war (POW) he was kept in solitary confinement, subjected to torture and barely survived on a Spartan diet. In order to keep his mind active, Borling wrote poetry and passed it along to his fellow POWs by tapping them on the walls using a code system they developed themselves. Treatment of the POWs improved in the early 1970s. He and the rest of fellow captives were released on February 12, 1973.

Following his release, Borling received pilot refresher training, then was selected to be a White House Fellow from August 1974 to August 1975, serving during the Gerald Ford administration. He then attended the Armed Forces Staff College and following that he was assigned to the 94th Fighter Squadron, the famed Hat in the Ring squadron, which he soon commanded.  Borling attended the National War College, and he followed this with a tour at the Pentagon where he served as the chief of Checkmate Strategic Studies Group. In February of 1982, he was sent to Ramstein, West Germany where he commanded the 86th Fighter Group. He followed this assignment with a tour at the Supreme Headquarters, Allied Powers – Europe (SHAPE) in Belgium.

In June of 1986 then-Colonel Borling was assigned to Headquarters, Strategic Air Command (SAC) at Offut Air Force Base, Nebraska. By June, 1987, he was the commander of SAC’s 57th Air Division, based at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota. He followed this with senior level assignments in SAC before returning to the Pentagon as a Major General, serving as the director of operational requirements from January 1991 to January 1992. Major General Borling finished his military career with a four-year tour at Allied Forces North (AFNORTH), NATO in Norway, first as the Deputy Chief of Staff-Air, and then as the Chief of Staff for AFNORTH-Europe in Stavanger, Norway. He retired on August 1, 1996 after thirty-three years of service.

We honor you, John Borling.

(#Repost @Pritzker Military Museum & Library)

WASP Marion Hodgson

2018-3-8 Hodgson

A truly remarkable Georgia “peach”. Marion’s father was the Athletic Director at the University of Georgia, so she and her sister never lacked for male companions. Her main interest in high school, other than boys, was playing basketball, and she was very good.

In 1941 she took the Civilian Pilot Training course at the University of Georgia, graduating that year with a private pilot’s license and a degree in Journalism.

She then went to Chicago and worked as a journalist, but when she heard about the AAF experimental flying training program, she applied, was accepted and headed for Texas.

Marion was in the first class to arrive at Avenger Field. There were aviation cadets still there who were in training, just as she was. The “powers to be” soon decided that they must be transferred, because having the two sexes on the same field training to fly military aircraft, was not working.

Upon graduating and receiving her WASP wings, Marion was sent to Love Field, Dallas, to be a member of the 5th Ferrying Group. She ferried aircraft, primarily new training aircraft, to training bases all over America.

After the WASP, she married her fiance, a Marine pilot. For the first three years, with no children, she spent much of her time writing – mostly about the WASP. Then she had 2 children, and when they became independent, she began writing again in a variety of venues – articles for McCall’s, Guidepost, etc, and books several of which have been published, with much success.

Marion is featured in the 8th Air Force Museum in Savannah, Georgia.

We honor you, Marion Hodgson.

(#Repost @Wings Across America)