Event Honoring   Jim VanNostrand

 

Jim, passed on the morning of Aug. 20, 1 month & 3 days before his 90th birthday.  Another WWII vet, gone to us, but, we honored him, while he was still alive.  

Here is the LINK to some images taken at the party.

Jim is residing now at the St. John's Hospital Living Center here in Jackson.  He's 89, a veteran of WWII, a recipient of the DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross - America's 2nd highest award for valor behind the Medal of Honor) for missions over the extremely well-defended oil fields of Ploesti in Romania, a former instructor with the local skating club, a member of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the American Legion, and others.  He was a combat photographer on a B-24 Liberator with the 15th Air Force's 461st Bomb Group, flying out of Cerignola, Italy and the airfield at a now reclaimed farm at Torretta.

DFC Criteria: Awarded to any officer or enlisted member of the United States armed forces who distinguishes himself or herself in combat in support of operations by "heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight, subsequent to November 11, 1918." The decoration may also be given for an act performed prior to that date when the individual has been recommended for, but has not received the Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Navy Cross, or Distinguished Service Medal. During wartime, members of the Armed Forces of friendly foreign nations serving with the United States are eligible for the award. It is also given to those who display heroism while working as instructors or students at flying schools.

Jim at the WWII Memorial Dedication in 2004.  Photo by Walt.  Jim's actual miniature DFC medal

B-24 Liberator over Europe in WWII, photographer unk.  Aerial of field at Torretta, Italy in 1944.  Jim VanNostrand photo.

Nic Di Benedetto, is a friend of mine from Rome, Italy.  He is a WWII and a Shane buff, and we met when he came to Jackson several years ago to visit the Shane location sites.  We became good friends and he visited me again this past March and while here, I introduced him to Jim.  They established a rapport in that short meeting and on his return to Italy, Nic decided to visit Cerignola and Torretta, w/directional information I provided him - SE of Rome.  While there, he took a number of photographs and the farm manager, gave him a piece of matting that was used on the airfield for take-offs and landings.  Nic thought it would be a good idea to frame this and present it to Jim, with some other items, and have a ceremony honoring Jim that could be hosted at the Living Center.

I am coordinating this event for Nic, although he is covering expenses and has even offered to subsidize a visit by one of Jim's war buddies.  It will be held at the Living Center on Saturday, June 26, between 2 & 4pm, with some brief remarks about 2:30pm.  Refreshments will be served with various munchies.  We'll have some images & videos of the 15th Air Force in WWII, as well as other things related to Jim including some WWII era & big band music playing.  (I told Jim today (6/18) about the plans & he's looking forward to it.)

Hughes Glantzberg, webmaster for the 461st linked above and son of the unit's commander in Italy, is helping with this and will also attend the event himself.  Nic has an affinity to those Americans in WWII who sacrificed so much to free Italy and his family from a future tyranny, and he wants to express that in this small ceremony for Jim, especially symbolizing all those who served in Italy during the war.

If you wish to come, please drop me an email to RSVP, or call me at 733.2173 or 690.6909, so we'll have an idea of how many to plan for at the Living Center.  Thanks.

Italy, 1944, Receiving their DFCs, a Major, a Capt, a MSgt, & TSgt Jim VanNostrand  TSgt VanNostrand receiving congratulations on his DFC from Maj. Lott, Group S-2 (Intel) Officer.

B-24 leaving Toretta airfield

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