World War II bomber pilot is veteran of the month
American Legion Post 44 Commander John Lilley with relatives of veteran of the month Eugene Bull. BZ photos
The late Eugene Bull, a World War II veteran who lived in Kent, is American Legion Post 44 of Bantam’s veteran of the month.
Bull, who died April 26, 1996 was honored during a service Post 44 held at the Bantam Borough Hall on Saturday. His daughter, Cynthia Osborne of Kent, attended the service.
Bull enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941 and graduated from flight school as a 2nd lieutenant qualified to fly the B-17 bomber.
With the 429th Bomb Squadron, Bull flew many missions before his final one on Feb. 21, 1945. While on a bomb run over Vienna, Austria’s central freight yards, Bull’s bomber was hit by German flak that severely damaged the plane and forced him and his crew to parachute out.
Bull’s chute was damaged by German fire and he landed fast and hard, suffering serious back injuries in the process. He managed to escape German troops and was taken in by the Russians, who strapped him to a board, plied him with vodka for his pain, and gave him an occasional slice of bread.
The Russians turned Bull over to U.S. troops and he returned to the U.S. on April 25, 1945, his 25th birthday. After being honorably discharged on Dec. 4, 1945, Bull was awarded the Purple Heart, the Air Medal and the European Africa Middle East Campaign Ribbon with four battle stars. He returned to Kent and married Jean McCandless on April 26, 1947.
In Kent, Bull was a founding member of American Legion Post 153, was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and served on many town boards and commissions. He was a member of the Kent Volunteer Fire Department, was the town’s postmaster for 31 years, was the historian and marshal at St. Luke’s Masonic Lodge in Kent, and was a charter member of the Kent Lions Club.
Bull is survived by three daughters, three grandchildren and one great-grandchild. He is buried at the Congregational Church Cemetery in Kent.
Post 44 also recognized Dawn Young of Warren, the widow of March veteran of the month Dewey Young, and Owen Moore, a Post 44 member. Young and Moore served in the Korean War. Dawn Young and Moore each received a book on the history of the Korean War.
Litchfield High School’s National Honor Society was recognized as well for service to Post 44. Each month, three students from the NHS help set up the Bantam Borough Hall for the veteran of the month service. Students on duty Saturday were juniors Faye Devaux, Allie Davenport and David O’Hara. Post 44 presented them with a donation of $300 for the NHS.
Post 44 Commander John Lilley, left, presents Post 44 member Owen Moore with a book on the history of the Korean War.
Nick Gandolfo, a veteran of the Korea War and a member of the Northwest Detachment of the Marine Corps League, with Dawn Young, widow of March veteran of the month Dewey Young, and the Young's daughter, Gloria Swiger.
Post 44 member Reggie Harrison with Litchfield High School National Honor Society students, from left, David O'Hara, Faye Devaux and Allie Davenport.