4 days ago
5 days ago
I exited the John Muir Medical Center in Concord, Ca.. as I approached the crew van, I discovered a note affixed to the van. My first thought was; there must be damage involved! 😱 The note reads as follows; “@ 19 years old, my dad flew 66 missions into France and Italy, out of Corsica- WWII. Earned Silver Star out of 2300 men! Thanks for honoring them! God Bless!” This is a modest tribute to the Collings Family, the Collings Foundation, its mission, and all those that carry it out! After all the highs and lows of volunteering and life on the road, one never knows when or where, a token of inspiration, an impact on someone’s life, a modicum kindness, or a thank you may occur. To whom ever penned this missive, Bless you and yours. Special Thanks to the courage of your dad, and all those who fought, served, and supported, the effort to mold this Country, May they never be forgotten! ...
2 weeks ago
On June 5, 2019, Gordon Boultbee and Bill Traverso brought WWII Veteran, Lt. Albert Maggini (pic below) to the Wings of Freedom Tour, at the Charles Schultz airport in Sonoma County, Ca., to see the “909,” B17, as well as the Navigators seat similar to the one he served in. Lt. Maggini served as a B17 Navigator in the Mighty 8th, 351 Bomb Group, during WWII. Lt. Maggini is 103 years of age today. Lt. Maggini shook my hand and stated, “I will be 104 in September, if I make it.” I can assure you that if his firm handshake was any indication, Lt. Maggini will make it to 104, and beyond.
The 351st Bomb Group is the same unit Clark Gabel was in, but not at the same time, recalls Lt. Maggini.
Lt. Maggini enter service in 1944, completing 35 missions and returning home in just prior to the end of the war in 1945. Lt Maggini earned the Air Medal and five clusters. Lt. Maggini was to be awarded the Flying Cross for extending his enlistment, but decided returning to his darling wife was award enough!
Lt. Maggini recalled being “Hit” and losing the #1 engine, and significant damage to the #2 engine. The option was to ditch the plane in the North Sea or try to land in Brussels. Brussels it was, “We would not have survived ditching in the North Sea,” recalls Lt Maggini! He laughingly stated; “some of the men wanted to stay because of all the women,” but he had no part in that! Lt. Maggini said the crew was picked up two days before the Germans took Brussels.
Lt. Maggini stated the worst “flack” he encountered was over the oil refineries, indicated they lost approximately 9 out of 36, B17 aircraft during each raid. After returning from a bombing run over Cologne, Lt. Maggini was presented with a piece of flack discovered lodged in his Navigator’s desk, by a ground crew member that inspected the aircraft upon its return. Lt. Maggini carries that fragment today (see pic).
Lt Maggini flew in the B17, named “Black Magic.” Lt. Maggini reported that some time later, “Black Magic” was lost during a crash landing in Belgium!
Lt. Maggini is a true hero and inspiration. I am honored and pleased to introduce him to you today! Thank you for your service sir! ...