From U.S. Air Force

John Nemeth of Port Charlotte looks at pictures on the wall of his home of his medals and the B-26 "Marauder" bomber he flew in World War II. Sun photo by Don Moore

Port Charlotte, Fla. man flew B-26 ‘Marauder’ in WWII

By D-Day, June 6, 1944, former 1st Lt. John Nemeth of Port Charlotte, Fla. had flown 40 combat mission over Nazi-occupied Europe in a Martin B-26 “Marauder” bomber named “Johnny Come Lately.” He would fly 27 more in his bomber dubbed “The Widowmaker” by some because of its propensity to crash during takeoffs and landings.

U. S. Air Force Sgt. Jim Laurent was a pioneer in electro-magnetic spying on the Soviet Union during the "Cold War. Photo provided

Jim Laurent worked in spy business and White House 24 years

Jim Laurent’s 24 years of service in the U.S. Air Force was shrouded in secrecy. He was a high frequency radio communication expert who spied on the Russians, kept the radio equipment running in the SR-71 “Blackbird” spy plane and spent more than five years working in White House Communications for three presidents.

He flew the longest bomber mission of WW II in a B-29 over Japan – Capt. Harold Keathley bombed Aomori in ‘Skookum’

It was Capt. Harold Keathley’s 33rd combat mission flying “Skookum,” a B-29 “Superfortress” over Japan loaded with incendiary bombs. The target: Aomori, located along the coast of Honshu, the northernmost main island. What made this bombing mission special was that the crew flew from Tinian Island in the Pacific to Aomori and back, a distance…

2nd Lt. Bob Dickinson was in his 20s and he had just graduated from Army flight school in 1956 at Fort Rucker, Ala. Photo provided

Area man flew Army planes, choppers for decades

Before he completed his 30-plus years in the Army, Bob Dickinson was a an artillery officer, a fixed-wing airplane pilot, a helicopter pilot, a military intelligence officer, a transportation officer and a colonel serving as an assistant commander of the New Jersey National Guard’s 50th Armored Division.

This was the C-130 "Hercules" crew that flew part of the 500 Belgium paratroopers to the Belgium, Congo to quell a native uprising. Norman is the airman at the far left squatting. Photo provided

Sgt. Norman Page was a C-130 ‘Cold War’ mechanic and flight engineer

For most of his 24 years of service in the Air Force Sgt. Norman Page kept C-130 “Hercules,’ four-engine transport planes flying as a senior aviation mechanic and flight engineer or crew chief. After graduating from aviation mechanics training his first assignment, a Strategic Air Command mechanic at McDill Air Force Base in Tampa in the…

Airman receives Distinguished Flying Cross for raid over oil fields

Almost 63 years after a bombing raid in a B-24 “Liberator” over German oil refineries in Romania, former Tech. Sgt. Jay T. Fish of Englewood, Fla. received the Distinguished Flying Cross in an elaborate award ceremony in Washington, D.C. on April 24, 2007 along with the other eight members of the bomber’s crew.

B-24 bomber badly shot up on flight over Berlin

Buried in a box of old pictures and military records tucked away in a chest of drawers in Vincent Durand’s Port Charlotte, Fla. home is a medal from long ago. The bronze medal with its four-bladed airplane propeller was attached to a red, white and blue ribbon — The Distinguished Flying Cross.