Military News

Thursday, April 16, 2015

World War II hero visits Barksdale

by Airman 1st Class Luke Hill
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs

4/15/2015 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE La.  -- Lt. Col. Thomas Vaucher, a decorated World War II veteran, visited with fellow service members at the Fox Run Golf Course Clubhouse April 10.

Vaucher flew several bombers over the course of his career and operated under a mission similar to Barksdale's.

Vaucher served as a pilot and commander in the Army Air Corps from 1940 to 1946. Some of his accomplishments include piloting the first B-29 Superfortress heavy bomber, the first B-29 at 38,000 ft., the longest World War II combat mission which was just under 19 hours, as well as being the commander to the largest and most destructive combat mission against Japan.

The World War II veteran gave a brief history about himself and what made him join the Army Air Corps in April 1941. He said flying is something that had always fascinated him and also mentioned Hap Arnold as being one of his sources of inspiration for flying.

The hero also recounted his most difficult mission, which involved dropping mines into a river to prevent transportation from a Japanese oil refinery. There were eight bombers in total, and the military was willing to lose all eight of them to accomplish the mission, according to Vaucher.

"They made us fill out a will before the mission," said Vaucher.

Vaucher dropped both of his mines successfully. However, during the flight home he ran into trouble. One engine caught fire because of a mechanical error, and he was left with only three engines.  It was questionable if he had enough fuel to make it home, but the plane had just enough fuel to return safely.
The World War II hero's legacy serves as an inspiration to future Airmen under Global Strike Command and is living proof of the success and support our Air Force provides to the security of our nation and its allies.

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