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65 year wait over, World War II veteran to receive the Purple Heart

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Don Accamando
  • 171st ARW Public Affairs
3/2/2009 - 171st Air Refueling Wing, Coraopolis, PA - A World War II veteran, 86 year-old David Rohm will be awarded the Purple Heart here Saturday, for injuries he sustained bailing out of his crippled B-17 aircraft, sixty-five years ago.

On March 8th, 1944, Rohm, then a twenty-one year-old Tech. Sgt. in the Army Air Corps and radio operator/gunner on the "Flying Fortress," was on a daylight bombing mission to Berlin, Germany.  "We came under fire by two German fighters," said Rohm.  "Two of our four engines were disabled and our aircraft caught fire."

The young airman sustained a broken pelvis when his parachute opened, and was immediately captured by German forces upon landing.  He would spend the next fourteen months as a prisoner of war in two different German prison camps.

News that Mr. Rohm was going to receive the Purple Heart would not come on his first petition to the Air Force Review Board.  Though unable to provide the medical documentation needed to prove his injury, on his first attempt, Rohm was able to supply his personal account of the injury, and the brutal treatment he sustained at the hands of his captors on the "German Death March."

For more then two years Rohm exchanged information with the Air Force and on December 28, 2008, notification came.  Mr. Rohm will be officially decorated at a ceremony at the 171st Air Refueling Wing, at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 7, 2009.

Brig. Gen. Roy Uptegraff, Commander of the 171st Air Refueling Wing will pin the Purple Heart on Mr. Rohm in the presence of family, friends and members of the Air Refueling Wing.

Members of the media interested in attending should contact the 171st Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs Office at (412) 776-7350.