Four army draftees, John Reck, Ken Rohde, Merel Roth and John Rush were joined together on induction day in October 1941 simply because their names were in alphabetical order. The US Army kept them together for 18 months of infantry training and service in the South Pacific. After Rohde and Roth returned stateside to begin flight training in the Army Air Force, they learned the two Johns had ben "Killed in Action." As a Second Lieutenant, Rohde when to England to fly B17's and was assigned to the 457th Bomb Group of the 8th Air Force. Often, flying with over 1000 other heavy bombers, their missions lasted up to 12 hours through heavy fighter attacks to reach Hitler's most prized industrial targets. On bombing runs designed to avoid POW camps the crews flew through exploding flak shells that could be sent higher than any bomber stream. During his tour at Glatton England he received word that Roth had been killed in a dive bombing mission in Germany. In addition to being a pilot/copilot, the author flew tail gun position several times as observer in the mission's lead plane and was the first of his squadron to complete 35 missions. During the 4 war years he married his high school sweetheart Marge, fathered 2 sons and survived as the last of "The Four R's".
About Kenneth E. Rohde
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Published January 24, 2013
by James Rohde.
Biographies & Memoirs.