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16 hours ago

Collings Foundation

Flgiht coordinator Demi just sent this great shot of the folks visiting the tour in Plymouth, MA. ...

19 hours ago

Collings Foundation

Today, September 18th, 2019, the American Heritage Museum honors our dear friend Clarence Smoyer, WWII Veteran and Tank Ace, as he is awarded the Bronze Star for his heroic actions in March 1945 in Cologne, Germany. The surprise ceremony came as Smoyer visited the World War II Memorial as part of a number of visits planned around the new book "Spearhead: An American Tank Gunner, His Enemy, and a Collision of Lives in World War II” by Adam Makos

Smoyer was hailed as “the hero of Cologne.” His tank commander told him that he and the rest of his crew would receive Bronze Star medals for their heroism in combat.

However, a few days after the battle, U.S. military police saw Smoyer standing near German kids who wanted chewing gum, Makos said. The MPs cited him for breaking an Army rule that forbade U.S. soldiers from talking with Germans.

“They pulled up, and they busted him. They said, ‘We caught you talking to these German kids, fraternizing,’ and he lost the medal over a stick of gum.”

His award of the Bronze Star today, after 74 years, was witnessed by hundreds of visitors and friends, including American Heritage Museum Executive Director Rob Collings who took these photos. Smoyer was wearing the tanker jacket given to him by AHM volunteers from the US Army Brotherhood of Tankers.

Congratulations sir! We thank you!

Read more at: www.witf.org/2019/09/18/96-year-old-army-veteran-from-allentown-awarded-bronze-star-in-surprise-c...
...

This is Hellen Kaplan at 102 years young. Hellen was escorted today by her daughter Judy Stohn-White, and granddaughter Emily White to the Wings of Freedom Tour, at Beverly Massachusetts. Hellen’s Husband was Sergeant Isidore Stohn, who served as was mechanic on the B17 Flying Fortress, from 1941-1945. Sergeant Stohn enlisted after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Ms. Helen brought with her a news article reporting that he husband was part of a crew that swapped out an engine on a B17 in the record time of 4hrs 56min. The average time for swapping an engine was between 8-9 hours. Ms. Hellen’s contribution to the war effort was working for the McKlosky Company that built self propelled ferroconcrete ships, used during the Landing at Normandy. Pictured bellow is Ms. Helen holding an inert 50 caliber bullet. Ms. Helen said she remembered coming into work and finding a 50 caliber shell on her desk, that had been fashioned into a letter opener. ...

Say hi to 95 year young, WWII Veteran, Sergeant, Frank Clocher, of the 85 Airdrome Squadron. Between 1942-1946, Frank served as a B24 Liberator and B17 Flying Fortress mechanic, mostly in the South Pacific and the Philippines. Frank spent a lot of time doing engine swaps. Frank stated; “they would throw the damaged engines in a ditch an cover them with bulldozers.” When asked what the general consensus of the B24, Frank stated; “the B24 was the greatest plane ever made.” Frank relayed a particularly disturbing moment was while waiting in line for a haircut, the mail guy asked if he could cut in line. Frank replied sure, he was in no hurry! While that guy was sitting in the chair a bullet struck him in the head, killing him instantly! Frank said; they never found the source of that shot. While returning from overseas Frank claims the best thing he ever saw, was the Statue of Liberty all lit up at night, from the air. A special thank to Dick Jirard who escorted Frank to the Wings of Freedom Tour in Beverly, Massachusetts. Dick plays in a band where Frank can still be seen dancing with his wife. ...

KT Budde-Jones spotted 2nd Lieutenant (Lt) Robert “Bob” Garabedian, along with his adorable “First Wife,”😂 of 68 years, Ms Marilyn, who came to the 2019 “Wings of Freedom Tour” at the Groton- New London stop, with two of their 12 children, #1 Steven and #9 Thomas, in order experience a P40, similar to the one Lt. Garabedian flew in the Army Air Corps.
Lt. Garabedian is currently 95 years of age, enlisting at 18 years of age in March, 1943. During enlistment training, Lt. Garabedian tested results qualified him to be a pilot, bombardier, and navigator! Lt. Garabedian chose be a pilot, citing his inspiration was the flyers in the Battle of Britain. Jokingly, Lt. Garabedian indicated that the highest scores were chosen for navigator, the lowest score were for pilots. Lt. Garabedian recalls he lost 14 friends during training; four, in the AT6, one, in the P40, and the remaining in the P47. Lt. Garabedian was part of a group that was chosen to train for a top secret invasion of Japan, however; the war ended and Lt. Garabedian discharged in September 1945! During the conclusion of my time talking with Lt. Garabedian, he simply grinned and stated; due to an intelligence leak, Japan got word he was coming and surrendered. We laughed and Ms Marilyn stated “yeah, none of us bought it either.”

Bob and Marilyn met at a church dance October 28, 1949. Bob said she was a looker as Marilyn told him to hush. They were married and have; 12 children, 25 grandchildren and 26 great grandchildren. The Members of the Wings of Freedom Tour were privileged and honored to have experienced your visit and wish both of you well. Thank you for your service sir.
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