Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

September 26, 2013

World War II airmen have reunion at Pipestem

PIPESTEM — During World War II, they flew long, arduous missions that protected Allied forces by forcing German submarines to stay hidden. Now four out of an original bomber crew of 10 are at Pipestem State Park for what could be their final reunion.

John Dumont, 89, of Peterstown; David Smith, 90, of Proctorville, Ohio; Walt Pugsley, 89, of Randolph, N.J.; and Bill Bizzell, of Cleveland, Miss., spent part of today talking about their service in Europe. Their bomber was designed to carry depth charges instead of  bombs, and it was equipped with radar and a power searchlight to deter German submarines, better known as U-boats.

They also recalled a particular mission that was top secret. Their crew was assigned to take a specially-modified bomber to Europe for a plan called Operation Aphrodite. Plans called for turning the bomber into a remote-controlled weapons to destroy at target in occupied Europe. Unfortunately, the plan ended when the special bomber’s crew including Joseph Patrick “Joe” Kennedy Jr., brother of future president John F. Kennedy, was killed when explosives aboard it exploded prematurely.

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