Bob was born on May 1, 1924 in Minneapolis, MN. He moved to Eau Claire, WI in 1938. He enlisted on October 30, 1942, the beginning of his senior year in High School.
He received basic training at Kessler Field and more training. From Hamilton Field they went to West Palm Beach, FL and on to Trinidad where they waited for repair to their damaged plane. They moved on to Belem, Brazil on the mouth of the Amazon River and from Belem on to Natal, Brazil. They left Brazil on Jan. 16 for Dakar, Africa and then on to Marrakech, Morocco, Africa and then to Oudna Air Base, 20 miles south of Tunis.
The first part of February, they moved on to Cerignola, Italy and it was from Cerignola, Bob flew 15 missions. He bailed out of the badly damaged plan over Hungary on April 23, 1944 after assisting in the escape of the ball turret gunner who was trapped in the jammed turret. He was captured by civilians from a small village in Hungary, Rabatamasi. He spent the night in a cell with lights burning all night and men coming in to denounce Roosevelt and Churchill, spitting on the floor to demonstrate their hatred. The next night was spent in Cyor, Hungary and then he was taken by train to Budapest where he was put in solitary confinement. In the middle of May, he was moved to Stalag Luft 3 in Sagan in what is now Poland.
Bob was held in Sagan until January 1945 when the men were marched out because of the Russian advance. They marched in the bitter cold until they reached Chemnitz where they were loaded and crowded into 40 and 8 box cars that took them to Stalag 7A, Moosburg, Germany. He was in Moosburg until he was liberated on April 29, 1945 by General Patton's army. He was discharged at San Antonio, TX on Oct. 31, 1945
Bob received the Distinguished Flying Cross in September 1987 -- 40 years late because of confusion in paperwork.
In 1985 he learned that the plane from which he parachuted returned to their base and made 2 attempts to effect a crash landing. The pilot did not have sufficient control of the ship to set it down so four members of the crew parachuted to safety and the aircraft was headed to the Adriatic Sea with the A-5 rudder control set in.
He was a service technician at Sears Roebuck in Eau Claire, WI for 15 years and was a building and heating inspector for the City of Eau Claire until his retirement in 1987. He is married and has two sons, a daughter and four grandsons.