Maj Wintford “Dick” Bazzell

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Dick Bazzell was born on December 6, 1925, in Delta, Missouri. He served in the U.S. Merchant Marines from September 1943 to July 1944, and then enlisted in the U.S. Army on September 7, 1944. After completing basic training at Fort McClellan, Alabama, he was assigned as an infantryman with 1st Platoon, Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 324th Infantry Regiment of the 44th Infantry Division, deploying to Europe from February to July 1945. SSG Bazzell received an honorable discharge from the Army on June 28, 1946, and later enlisted in the U.S. Air Force Reserve on September 20, 1948. He was commissioned a 2d Lt in the Air Force on February 17, 1951, and went on active duty beginning September 30, 1951.

Lt Bazzell next completed Radar Observer Training at James Connally AFB, Texas, in February 1952, followed by Aircrew Interceptor Training at Tyndall AFB, Florida, in April 1952. He served as an F-94C Starfire Radar Intercept Officer with the 58th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Otis AFB, Massachusetts, from April 1952 to March 1953, and then completed pilot training, earning his pilot wings at Bryan AB, Texas, in February 1954. After completing F-84 Thunderjet Combat Crew Training, Lt Bazzell served as an instructor pilot with the 3625th and then the 3626th Combat Crew Training Groups at Tyndall AFB from June 1954 to November 1958. Capt Bazzell served as a Weapons Controller and Operations Officer with the 720th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron at Middleton Island, Alaska, from December 1958 to December 1959. His next assignment was as a Weapons Controller and then Detachment Commander of Detachment 1, 728th AC&W Squadron at Pope AFB, North Carolina, from December 1959 to September 1961.

He then received an Air Force Institute of Technology assignment to complete his bachelor’s degree at Oklahoma State University from September 1961 to August 1963. His next assignment was in the Telemetry Section Range Development Laboratory with the 3208th Test Group at Eglin AFB, Florida, from August 1963 to February 1964, followed by service as a Physicist in the Data & Telemetry Branch with Headquarters Air Proving Ground Command at Eglin from February 1964 to October 1966. He next completed F-105 Thunderchief Combat Crew Training in March 1967, and then served as an F-105 pilot and Chief of Briefing-Scheduling with the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing at Korat Royal Thai AFB, Thailand, from May 1967 to February 1968. Maj Bazzell’s final assignment was as a Laboratory Staff Scientist with the Air Force Armament Laboratory, Armament Development and Test Center with Air Force Systems Command at Eglin AFB from March 1968 until his retirement from the Air Force on March 1, 1974.

Bizzell earned 11 Distinguished Flying Crosses during his time of service. His 10th (of 11) reads:

“Major Wintford L. Bazzell distinguished himself by heroism while participating in aerial flight as a Pilot over North Vietnam on 19 December 1967. On that date, Major Bazzell was a member of a flight of four F-105 Thunderchiefs assigned to engage hostile surface to air missile sites in support of a major attack. Under continuous fire from eight surface to air missile sites and countless antiaircraft artillery sites, Major Bazzell made repeated attacks on the missile sites threatening the strike force. As a direct result of his courageous actions, the force was able to successfully attack its assigned target in the most heavily defended area of North Vietnam without the loss of a single aircraft. The outstanding heroism and selfless devotion to duty displayed by Major Bazzell reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.”

We honor you, Wintford Bazzell.

(#Repost @Veteran Tributes)

Capt Mark Weber

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Seven U.S. Armed Forces members — including one whose parents live in southern Denton County — were when a military helicopter crashed in western Iraq, according to information from Moody Air Force Base and Bartonville Mayor Bill Scherer.

Bartonville residents Ron and Margaret Weber lost their son, Air Force Capt. Mark Weber, 29, in the crash on March 15, 2018, according to the news releases.

A graduate of the US Air Force Academy, Capt. Weber is survived by his parents, according to Scherer, as well as four siblings: Leah Weber, currently serving overseas in the U.S. Air Force; Kathrine Weber, serving in the U.S. Coast Guard; Lori Weber, a nurse; and Kristen Weber, a writer and Christian stand-up comedian.

Capt. Weber was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Air Force in 2011 and served as a Combat Rescue Officer, according to Scherer’s statement. Capt. Weber was assigned to the 38th Rescue Squadron, 23rd Wing, Moody AFB, Georgia, and was serving in Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.

Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) pilots and crews face the most highly dangerous and hazardous missions risking their lives going into combat zones in an effort to rescue the wounded and downed pilots.

Capt. Weber also did rescue work in the United States during the hurricanes just last year.

“We are indebted to Capt. Weber’s service, commitment, and sacrifice to our nation,” Scherer’s statement said. “Because of his bravery and selflessness, we enjoy daily freedom and security. It is our duty to honor and never forget the sacrifice that Capt. Weber made.

“The Town of Bartonville extends heartfelt prayers and condolences to the Weber family and all affected by this tragedy.”

We honor you, Mark Weber.

(#Repost @Cross Timbers Gazette)

1st Lt. Mary L. Hawkins

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On Sept. 24, 1944, 1st Lt. Mary Louise Hawkins was evacuating 24 patients from the fighting at Palau to Guadalcanal when the C-47 ran low on fuel. The pilot made a forced landing in a small clearing on Bellona Island. During the landing, a propeller tore through the fuselage and severed the trachea of one patient.

Hawkins made a suction tube from various items including the inflation tube from a “Mae West.” With this contrivance, she kept the man’s throat clear of blood until aid arrived 19 hours later. All of her patients survived. For her actions, Hawkins received the Distinguished Flying Cross.

We honor you, Mary Hawkins.

(#Repost @National Museum of the US Air Force)

Harvey Jacobs

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We were assigned to the 497th Bombardment Squadron of the 344th Bombardment Group located at Stansted, Bishops Stortford.

Towards April and May, we were instrumental in creating havoc in German transportation system by hitting more and more marshalling yards plus railroad bridges, including several over the Seine River. Although fighter reaction was diminishing, the threat of flak was still quite prevalent.
We became aware that the “big day” was approaching, but when it would be was still a mystery. A feeling of exhilaration consumed us that morning of June 6th for we realized that our efforts, along with all of the others, had made this day possible.
The Nazis had taken tremendous punishment from both the strategic and tactical air forces and. were reeling. Now it was up to the boys on the ground to finish them off. We knew our task was not finished as we would be required to give air cover and support to the advancing troops.

On June 5, 1944 all officers were instructed to carry their Colt 45 automatic on all future missions. We hit the sack about midnight and after an hours sleep, were awakened and told to prepare for a mission.
When we arrived for briefing, the giant map showing our route to and from the target was, for the first time, covered with a sheet. Our Commanding Officer Col. Vance, with a dramatic flourish removed the sheet, and announced that the planned invasion of the continent was about to begin.

This was it…D-Day was here and the Normandy invasion would be launched at 06:30 hours by the biggest concentration of soldiers, sailors and airmen ever amassed in the history of warfare. The American troops would make their landings on Omaha and Utah beaches and the assignment of the B-26 groups was to knock out the coastal gun installations.
Our targets were the gun emplacements at Utah, specifically La Madeleine, Beau Guillot and St. Martin de Varreville, and we, as the lead group, were to start all bombing operations at H-hour minus 20 (06:10 hours) and every two minutes thereafter another wave of bombers would send their regards whistling down to the enemy below.
As history relates, the weather that morning was horrendous, the worst it had been in over 100 years. We could not reach our normal flight altitude as the cloud cover was anywhere from 4,000 to 6,000 feet, so in essence, we went in at low level.
As I was flying on my flight leader’s left wing I was the 15th plane over Utah on that historic day. Our box of 36 planes led by my squadron commander, Col. Del Bentley had St. Martin de Varreville as our assigned target and after dropping our load of destruction at precisely 06:09 hours, we headed west over the Normandy peninsula and then in a northerly direction towards England.

As we turned towards home we realized that it was H-hour and the first wave of troops would be hitting the beaches.

Our route carried us through an area referred to as ‘Shit-Pan Alley’, the area between the Alderney Islands and the northwest tip of Normandy. What intelligence briefing did not tell us was that there were anti-aircraft installations at both points, and we were caught in a murderous cross-fire of flak.
Our lead ship was hit, and with one engine knocked out, he dropped out of the formation. The other wing-man and myself spread apart to allow the #4 plane to move into position but he just sat there and made no attempt to take over the lead. As a result, I took over the #1 slot and led the formation back to our base. Upon landing we noticed that MP’s were all over the area. They were making certain that we headed directly to de-briefing. Once there we were subjected to a thorough interrogation and then informed that we could not leave the room which was under armed guard. Obviously high command felt the Germans didn’t realize that today was D-Day and they didn’t want us calling them long distance to inform them of the days events.
As we were still considered on ‘alert status, we couldn’t leave the area anyhow so most of us, being slightly exhausted, napped on the benches until later in the morning when a sumptuous lunch of Spam sandwiches was served. We were able to wash this delicious repast down our gullets with our choice of either powdered milk or coffee so strong it was guaranteed to grow hair on the bottom of your feet.
Sherman was right…”War is hell”.

Shortly afterwards, mission #2 for the day was called.
The French Underground had sent word that a Panzer division was being rushed to reinforce German troops in the invasion area, and the estimated time of arrival at the Amiens marshalling yards would be approximately 14:00 hours.
We would arrive several minutes later to make certain they would progress no further. As weather conditions were still poor, we had go in at altitude much lower than normal, and as a result again received an inordinate amount of anti-aircraft fire.
As soon as bombs were away, the formation entered the cloud cover hoping to break through somewhere from 12,000 to 14,000 feet. However the clouds were so dense so dense that it was practically impossible to see the other planes in the formation. I turned 45 degrees to the right and after several minutes reverted to the original heading, climbing steadily until I broke into the clear at a little over l3,000 feet. Ice had started to form on the wings so we desperately searched for an opening in the cloud layer in order to make a safe de-sent.
Within several minutes a small hole was found and I peeled off and dove for the deck. No enemy fighters were visible and we returned safely to our base.

My tour of duty, however, was completed on D- Day plus 1.

I flew 2 missions on D-Day and 2 additional missions the following day giving me a total of 57.
Our Squadron Flight Surgeon, Captain Harry Prudowsky, had observed that my normally smooth landings had become quite bouncy, and he had been informed by some of the flight leaders that my formation flying had also become erratic.
He ordered a physical examination and discovered a sizable weight loss plus increased tension which had created a sleeping problem. In World War #1 it was called Shell Shock, but inasmuch as the euphemistic era was upon us, it became Anxiety Reaction, Moderately Severe.

On June 9th the crew was grounded and on June 10th we went to 9th Air Force HQ to meet the Central Medical Establishment.
On the llth I was interviewed by a medical officer and on June 12th, my 22nd birthday, the medical board informed me that we were to be returned to the Zone of the Interior, the good old US of A.

Almost a month later, July l0th to be exact, our orders came through and we left for Liverpool where we boarded the Mauretania for our trip home.

We honor you, Harvey Jacobs.

(#Repost @Men of D-Day. Written by Harvey Jacobs)

Brig Gen Robin Olds

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Brigadier General Robin Olds was the director of aerospace safety in the Air Force Inspection and Safety Center, a separate operating agency and an organization of the Office of the Inspector General, Headquarters U.S. Air Force. General Olds has worldwide responsibility for the development and implementation of policies, standards and procedures for programs in safety education, accident investigation and analysis, human factors research, and safety inspection to prevent and reduce accidents in Air Force activities.

General Olds was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, the son of Army Air Corps Maj. Gen. and Mrs. Robert Olds. He spent his boyhood days in the Hampton, Va., area where he attended elementary and high school. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y., and was commissioned as second lieutenant in June 1943. A member of the academy football team, he was selected as All-American tackle in 1942. He completed pilot training in 1943.

General Olds is rated a triple ace, having shot down a total of 17 enemy aircraft during World War II and the Vietnam War. He began his combat flying in a P-38 Lightning named “Scat 1” during World War II, and at the end of the war he was flying “Scat VII,” a P-51 Mustang, and was credited with 107 combat missions and 24.5 victories, 12 aircraft shot down and 11 1/2 aircraft destroyed on the ground.

During the Vietnam War in October 1966, General Olds entered combat flying in Southeast Asia in “Scat XXVII,” an F-4 Phantom II. He completed 152 combat missions, including 105 over North Vietnam. Utilizing air-to-air missiles, he shot down over North Vietnam two Mig-17 and two Mig-21 aircraft, two of these on one mission.

General Olds was wing man on the first jet acrobatic team in the Air Force and won second place in the Thompson Trophy Race (Jet Division) at Cleveland in 1946. He participated in the first one-day, dawn-to-dusk, transcontinental roundtrip flight in June 1946 from March Field, Calif., to Washington, D.C., and return.

His duty assignments in England, Germany, Libya, Thailand and the United States have included positions as squadron, base, group and wing commander; staff assignments in a numbered Air Force, Headquarters U.S. Air Force and the Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He is a graduate of the National War College, 1963.

In February 1946 General Olds started flying P-80 jets at March Field, Calif., with the first squadron so equipped. In October 1948 he went to England under the U.S. Air Force – Royal Air Force Exchange Program and served as commander of No. 1 Fighter Squadron at Royal Air Force Station Tangmere. The squadron was equipped with the Gloster Meteor jet fighter.

He assumed duties as commander of the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing at Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, in September 1966. He returned to the United States in December 1967 and served as commandant of cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy through January 1971.

General Olds assumed the position of director of aerospace safety in the Air Force Inspection and Safety Center at Norton Air Force Base, Calif., in February 1971.

His military decorations and awards include the Air Force Cross, Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star with three oak leaf clusters, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with five oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with 39 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, British Distinguished Flying Cross, French Croix de Guerre, Vietnam Air Force Distinguished Service Order, Vietnam Air Gallantry Medal with Gold Wings, Vietnam Air Service Medal, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. He is a command pilot.

He was promoted to the temporary grade of brigadier general effective June 1, 1968, with date of rank May 28, 1968.

We honor you, Robin Olds.

(#Repost @USAF. Picture @This Day in Aviation)

Chuck Machin

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ALTA VISTA — Engineering skills came in handy for a 1957 Osage High School graduate while he was stationed in Vietnam.

Chuck Machin, Alta Vista, enlisted and first served in the Air Force from 1958 to 1962, later working as a foreman in an Osage body shop for a few years.

“I didn’t have no money to buy the place, so that’s when I decided to go back to the Air Force,” said Machin, 77, who re-enlisted and served from 1965 to 1969.

While in the Air Force, Machin attended six different schools, learning to repair aircraft with sheet metal and to X-ray planes to find internal cracks.

He had no combat training when he was deployed to Vietnam in 1965 at age 26.

Although Marines could fix aircraft in a neighboring hangar with an M16 slung across their back, Machin said he wasn’t allowed to have a weapon due to his lack of training.

“When I got there, they took our rifles away,” he said. “I didn’t have a rifle or pistol the whole year there, no protection.”

Machin worked on planes within a guarded perimeter in Da Nang, the central part of the country. Since he had to “start over” when he re-enlisted, he often worked on big jobs, which meant a number of second shifts.

 

While their compound was supposed to be guarded, Machin said they were overrun by the enemy one time.

“I had bullets flying by me,” he said.

 

He was often in downtown Da Nang riding around in trucks, something he said wouldn’t have been safe near the end of war. “They would have shot you in a minute,” he said.

Skilled in plumbing and carpentry, Machin transformed his tent into deluxe accommodations, making a screened-in porch, floor, sidewalls and picnic table. He also had electricity, but since the wattage was different the light from bulbs was dim.

“I was kind of an engineer,” he said.

 

A handmade sign on the entrance read, “Home sweet home.”

But sometimes it wasn’t so sweet, sleeping close to the flight line.

“The young lieutenants would take off straight up, causing a sonic boom,” Machin said. “It was terribly noisy.”

 

He was also responsible for installing plumbing in a building that went up and he made a couple of inventions — a motor-operated sled ejection system and an apparatus to keep hands from getting burned while using flares at night.

Machin, who was married at the time with a family, was paid $3,000 — about $23,000 in today’s dollars — for his year in Vietnam. He fixed bicycles as a side job and used some of his earnings to buy equipment to shoot photos and video.

He also got to see a couple of celebrities — Roy Rogers and Dale Evans — in a USO show while in Vietnam, and was able to see Bob Hope from a distance.

He laments the fact that he missed an opportunity to talk with John Wayne by just a couple of minutes.

 

As he repaired bullet holes on aircraft, Machin was exposed to Agent Orange, which he said was stored in huge tanks inside the planes.

“It soaked into my shoes,” he said. “They didn’t wash the aircraft, so you had to watch your step because it was slippery.”

 

Machin has since had health problems he believes are related to Agent Orange exposure. He also struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder, which he says “comes and goes.”

“My opinion of PTSD, it is real and it will get you,” he said.

After he returned home from Vietnam — to “not one person shaking your hand, no party, no parades” — he built an auto body shop in Topeka, Kansas.

 

Machin, who says he struggled in school and had trouble reading, has since owned five businesses and has been a plumber for 58 years. He is also a classic car enthusiast.

Proud to wear his newly-acquired Vietnam veteran cap, Machin has kept track of everyone who’s thanked him for his service — 30 people to date, he says.

We honor you, Chuck Machin.

(#Repost @https://globegazette.com/news/local/they-served-with-honor-chuck-machin-alta-vista/article_71455f69-876e-560c-91fe-4c5b5f70e485.html)

CPT Louis Richard Emerson Jr.

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I was the pilot of a C-47 towing a Waco CG4A glider with 13 troops i it. The glider cut loose successfully at the appropriate time and then I took ground fire which caused both engines in the C-47 to quit and the plane was on fire. I successfully crash landed in a small field by dragging the right wing on the ground in order to swing the nose of the plane around to get it between 2 trees breaking the speed of the plane. The crash broke the fuselage in two and the wall immediately behind the co-pilot and I collapsed and the other 3 men (crew chief and radio operator and a Lt. Col getting credit for a combat flight) falling through. I sustained broken ribs on the left side because the control wheel hit me hard upon landing. .The co-pilot’s left arm had a compound fracture, but the other men were not injured. Fortunately, I had picked up out my footlocker at the barracks a small compass which came in handy finding our way to Utah Beach.

We exited through an escape hatch over the pilot’s seat and took shelter in a ditch beside the crashed plane. Immediately upon exiting, a German machine gun kept us pinned down until dark. Because of our injuries, we had to open gates that separated the farmers fields to gate through and we had been told the gates could be boobie trapped. Fortunately none we opened were, but it made me nervous each time I opened one. We found a band of American paratroopers, i took a gun and ammo from a dead paratropper and we hiked and drove after obtaining a captured jeep fighting our way through the German troops to Utah beach. There we found an American first aid tent, got a can of pork and beans, coffee and 4 cigarettes. Next we were picked up and loaded on a “duck” and transported to an LST ship and taken to England.

We honor you, Louis Richard Emerson Jr.

(#Repost @National Purple Heart Hall of Honor)