British DFC For Maj. George T. Lee
WITH THE 12TII AAF—Major George T. Lee, 26 Rock street, Norwood, a veteran pilot with a Twelfth Air Force Fighter group, was recently awarded the British Distinguished Flying Cross, a singular military honor, at his group’s base.
Besides this decoration, Major Lee has also been awarded the American DFC and the Air Medal with eleven clusters and is a member of a Thunderbolt group which has been awarded the Presidential Unit Citation.
The Award which was made by Air Vice Marshal John H. Dalbiac, deputy commander of the Mediterranean Allied Tactical Air Force, was accompanied by a citation which described the action meriting it. In part, it states
“, . . Major Lee, leading a six-aircraft flight to a close support target on the Sangro front, saw . . . eight FW 190’s strafing . . . His flight jettisoned bombs over the enemy and dived to attack. In the ensuing dogfight, two of the FW’s were destroyed and another damaged. Since their target could not be bombed, and not satisfied with breaking up the German strafing attack, Major Lee led his flight to strafe some troublesome 88mm gun positions, in the face of intense ground fire. Such relentless devotion to duty, courage, and leadership, Major Lee has displayed continuously in the Tunisian, Pantellcrian, Sicilian, and Italian campaigns, to win the respect of his command as well as to reflect great credit upon the Allied Air Forces. . . .”
Major Lee commenced combat operations with the Western Desert Air Force in March, 1943. He has flown 183 combat missions and has to his credit three enemy aircraft destroyed and two damaged. The “Flying Butcher Boy,” who was an A&P meat cutter before he joined the service, has been back to the states on furlough. Lee rejoined his group as a squadron commander.
Matola Saves Drowning Comrade, Wins Citation
HEADQUARTERS, SOUTH PACIFIC BASE COMMAND —T/Sgt. Elmer E. Matola, husband of Mrs. Catherine Matola of 46 Wilson street, Norwood, has been commended for meritorious service by Major General Frederick Gilbreath, commanding the South Pacific Base Command.
The commendation reads as follows :
“On April 2, 1944, while swimming at a beach at Bougainville, you disregarded your personal safety to swim to the aid of a drowning comrade. Despite an unusually heavy surf and treacherous undertow, you bravely combined your efforts with others to hold the distressed soldier above water until another rescuer arrived with an inflated mattress upon which the man was eventually borne safely to shore. Your assistance was an indispensable factor in saving your comrade’s life.”
Technical Sergeant Matola is a member of the America! Division.
Parachute Rigger Establishes Fine Record In England
Chute Packers Have Clean Slate
AN EIGHTH AIR FORCE FIGHTER STATION, England -Sgt. Andrew F. Costello, son of Mr. and Mrs. Martin Costello, 1284 Washington Street, Norwood, is a man with a weighty responsibility He is assigned to a special shop as a parachute rigger.
According to word received here by The Free Press, Sgt. Costello’s outfit has a clean slate with no reports of ‘chutes failing to operate to mar the record. He points out that a pilot with the knowledge of a good ‘chute up there with him relaxes and flies better.
Receives Silver Wings, Flight Officer Rating
Awarded the silver wings of a pilot and appointed a Flight Officer in the Army of the United States, Air Corps, Albert James Billingham, son of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Billingham, 384 Walpole Street, Norwood graduated at Spence Field, Ga., September 8.
A graduate of Norwood Senior High School, Billingham trained at the AAF Pilot School (Advanced Single Engine) at Spence Field, Moultrie.
Combat Infantry Badge Awarded To Sgt. Vitaitis
Sgt. Raymond S. Vitaitis Jr., son of Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Vitaitis, 27 St. John Avenue, has been awarded the Combat Infantry Badge for exemplary conduct in action against the enemy.
Sgt. Vitaitis completed his training at Camp Croft, S C., and additional training at Pine Camp, N Y. He is now serving in Italy where has lias participated in two major battles.
Before entering service in January, 1942, he was employed at Winslow Bros. & Smith.
(All articles originally published in the Norwood Messenger)