Press-Republican

Spectrum

February 24, 2013

WWII veterans to embark on flight of honor

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“It was my job,” he said.

In a briefing before one mission, Edwards was told he would get “either a DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross) or a Purple Heart.”

In other words, it would either be a dangerous, potentially deadly mission or a great success.

He was to fly for two hours only 50 feet above the ocean waters to avoid detection on enemy radar.

“We met the enemy climbing,” he said.

Before he knew it, an enemy plane was only 100 feet from him.

The plane dove, and he followed.

“I squeezed the trigger, and 100 rounds went into his cockpit,” he recalled.

He lives a quieter life now on Willow Hill Farm in Keeseville with his wife, Julie.

BEACHES OF NORMANDY 

Napoleon “Nap” Light will accompany Cowles and Edwards on the North Country’s first Honor Flight.

He was drafted by the U.S. Army in 1942 at the age of 20.

Light traveled to various bases on the east coast for training, and he set sail for a 10-day journey to England with 5,000 other troops in January 1944.

A member of the 30th Infantry Division, he was on the beaches of Normandy just a few days after D-Day in June 1944.

His company traveled east from Normandy into northern France, then to the Rhineland, where Light crossed the Rhine River into Germany.

The American and British troops were joined by Russian forces, and they all continued to push their way into Germany from their position about 35 miles east of the Elbe River, Light said.

Germany eventually surrendered, and Light was honorably discharged.

BUILDING SUPPLY ROUTE

Delumyea, who is originally from Rouses Point, served in the 1,160th Service Command Unit of the U.S. Army as a stationary diesel electronic operator, supplying and maintaining electro-diesel power plants for combat troops, he said.

After serving in the Pacific for about seven months, he was transferred to Alaska, where the Army began building a highway in March of 1942 known as the “Shortcut to Tokyo” that was intended as a supply route. At that time, the United States feared an invasion of the Japanese-occupied Aleutian Islands.

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