Thanks to Tim Vezeau for this account
and the photo as well.
DEAN VEZEAU -- WWII
My uncle, 2nd Lieutenant Dean F. Vezeau, served in WWII as a bombardier in the U.S. Army Air Force. Most of his missions were bombing runs over Japan.
Per the WWWeb, a bombardier (French for "bomberman"), in the United States Army Air Forces and United States Air Force, or a bomb aimer, in the Royal Air Force and other Commonwealth air forces, was the crew member of a bomber responsible for assisting the navigator in guiding the plane to a bombing target and releasing the aircraft's bomb load. In the modern age, the position has fallen into disuse due to a rise of computer technology and smart bombs.
In the United States, the position of bombardier was held by an officer. In the Commonwealth, one could be an officer or (more frequently) a senior non-commissioned officer. During World War II, US Army Air Force bombardiers were recognized with the award of the Bombardier Badge.
During a bombing run over Japan on 3 May 1945, his plane was badly shot up and crashed as sea. He was one of only two officers to survive the crash and was eventually spotted floating in the water and was rescued by a submarine. To the end of his life, he felt the loss of his fellow crew members that fateful day so many years ago.
Here is an official report of that flight:
"Mission 137) 42-24873 (M-7), 19 BG: Lt Robert Spencer's ship was hit by flak over the target and lost fuel. They ditched about 80 miles of shore. Five of the crew were lost, while the surviving crew members were picked up by submarine."
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