From U.S. Air Force

Dr. Suzanna Vass flew during Desert Storm

Suzanna Vass served four years active duty in the Air Force, first as a medic and then 22 years as an Air National Guard with the 171st Air Refueling Wing. Now a Venice resident, she works on the emergency room staff at Venice Hospital and on the side she has a side business called “ER-2-YOU.”

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.

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…

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.

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.

Ed Jaworek flew bombers and transports in WW II, Berlin Airlift, Korea and Cuban Missile Crisis

Ed Jaworek was a co-pilot who flew a Mitchell B-25 twin-engine attack bomber on low-level combat missions for the 8th Air Force in Europe during World War II. He took part in the Berlin Air Lift, in 1949 and piloted a C-46 twin-engine “Commando” transport in and out of Berlin. When the Korean war rolled around, in the 1950s, he flew a medical air transport C-47 “Gooney Bird” during the last months of that war. A C-119 “Flying Boxcar” was his plane during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

Man flew some of Merrill’s Marauders to safety

It wasn’t the brightest move on his part, former Sgt. Pete Chisholm admitted more than 60 years later in the comfort of his Southwest Fla. apartment. “I volunteered to help some of Merrill’s Marauders out. At the time I was an engineer on a C-47 (twin-engine transport) flying out of Dum-Dum Air Base just outside…

Cold War pilot tells of time in the sky

Maj. Robert Thompson was a citizen soldier and a “week-end warrior” — a member of the 141st Tactical Fighter Squadron of the New Jersey Air National Guard based at McGuire Air Force Base in central New Jersey.

B-17, B-24 bombers pounded Germany and Japan into submission during WW II

America’s airborne military might in Europe during World War II was hammered home by thousands of four-engine B-17 “Flying Fortress” and B-24, four-engine “Liberator” heavy bombers that dropped thousands of tons of bombs on Hitler’s “Fortress Europe” from 1943 until the end of the war two years later. By then, there was little left of…

‘Leggy Lady’ was a bomber like no other

Ret. Staff Sgt. Linwood Brown of Punta Gorda, Fla. was tail gunner in “Leggy Lady,” a B-25 Mitchell medium attack bomber, part of the 10th Air Force flying bombing raids in the China, Burma, India Theater in Burma, China and Thailand in late 1944 and almost until the end of World War II in ’45.

Japanese Zeros shot down his B-24 bomber down

“Glamour Girl” is what Lt. Joe Hart and his B-24 “Liberator” crew were going to call their World War II bomber. But they never got a chance to paint it on the nose of their four-engine plane because they were shot down by Japanese fighters over China on their second combat mission during WWII.

Arnold Heins survived Pearl Harbor

Cpl. Arnold Heins escaped death when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor 61 years ago today because he had just gotten off dining room duty at the mess hall at Hickam Field in Honolulu.

Facing death in a B-29 while bombing Japan in WWII

By Jim Hussmann Special to the Sun After graduating from the Air Corps’ Navigation School in San Marcos, Texas in December 1944, Jim Hussmann of Plantation Golf and Country Club south of Venice, Fla. was ordered to report to Alamogordo, N.M., where he and 10 other airmen specialists were to begin training as B-29 bomber…

2nd Lt. Ted Weatherhead flew 101st Airborne to D-Day jump, June 6, 1944

Ted Weatherhead was a 21-year-old green 2nd lieutenant and co-pilot of a C-47, twin-engine, transport plane — a member of the 316th Troop Carrier Group, 44th Troop Carrier Wing, 9th Air Force — that dropped 19 fully-equipped 101st Airborne paratroopers behind enemy lines on D-Day hours before the June 6, 1944 Allied invasion of Normandy…

1st. Lt. Bob Wachter flew last B-29 mission over Japan in WWII

1st Lt. Bob Wachter of Port Charlotte, Fla. was the navigator on a B-29 bomber called “Old Upper Cut” that flew on the last “Super Fortress” mission of World War II. When his squadron left Guam on Aug. 14, 1945, he didn’t know they would fly not only the last, but the longest bomber raid…

He flew ammo, food to Marines under siege at Khe Sanh during Vietnam War

Lt. Fred Buckingham flew his C-130 “Hercules,” four-engine transport plane to Vietnam just in time for the North Vietnamese Army’s siege of the Marine base at Khe Sanh, the biggest single battle of the war, and the enemy’s massive Tet Offensive, where every major city and many American military bases were attacked in a countrywide…

Aviation has been the life blood of Bill Stowe’s family

Aviation for Bill Stowe’s family is a way of life. For 38 years he worked as a civilian employee for U.S. Air Force Systems Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio overseeing the testing and development of some of this nation’s most important military and civilian airplanes.

Maj. Gen. James Andrews had his ‘Fail-Safe’ moment one day in 1977

Maj. Gen. James Andrews of Punta Gorda, Fla. graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 1970. He spent most of his 30-plus years in the service flying Strategic Air Command tankers, commanding air wings and serving in various capacities from Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense to Air Mobility Commander and Inspector General.

2nd Lt. Carl Citron flew 33 missions in 8th Air Force

2nd Lt. Carl Citron hadn’t been in England but a few weeks when his unit, the 466th Bomb Group, 786 Squadron, of the 8th Air Force, was assigned to a low-level bombing mission in their B-24 Liberators against the German submarine pens at Brest along the coast of Nazi-occupied France.

Col. Carl Citron takes last flight on WW II B-24 bomber

Col. Carl Citron (Ret.) took a sentimental journey last Thursday morning at Venice , Fla. Municipal Airport on a B-24 “Liberator” bomber like the one he piloted a lifetime ago on 33 combat missions over Nazi occupied Europe in World War II. He was in ecstasy during the 30 minute flight down memory lane as the four-engine heavy bomber circled Venice a 1,000 feet below.

Little known World War II surrender signed

Despite what you may have read in history books or seen on the History Channel, the Japanese at the close of World War II surrendered first on Ie Shima Island before surrendering to Gen. Douglas MacArthur aboard the battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.

Last of the 7 Bailey Brothers was Tuskegee Airman

Lt. Charles Bailey, Sr. was the last of the line. He was the last of Punta Gorda, Fla.’s “Fighting Bailey Brothers.” The last of a family of seven sons and two daughters who distinguished themselves in war and in life during World War II, Korea and much of the 20th Century.