RAPID RIVER - SSgt. Stanley W. Lundquist will be honored during a Veteran of the Month ceremony Tuesday at the Walter W. Cole American Legion Post 301 of Rapid River.
Patterned after a national program established by the American Legion, a new Veteran of the Month is honored each month in a formal service at the Legion. The program will begin at 7:15 p.m.
The veteran was born April 22, 1923, to Hugo and Sophia Lundquist of Ensign. He was educated through the eighth grade at the Ogontz School.
SSgt Stanley Lundquist
Lundquist and the former Jean Casey of Wells were married on Jan. 22, 1943, at St. Joseph Church in Escanaba.
He entered military service on March 11, 1943, in Marquette, and served in the Army Air Corps. He transferred from Hammer Field in Fresno, Calif, to the army air field at Tonopah, Nev., where he served until he was sent overseas.
Following his deployment, he served as a belly gunner on a B-24 with the 455th Bombardment Group in Europe.
During the summer of 1944, Lundquist was reported as missing in action while presumed on a bombing mission over Austria. On July 23, it was reported that his plane had been shot down on June 26. Although initially listed as "missing in action," it was later announced that he was a prisoner of war in Germany.
The report that was sent to his wife, Jean, read: "Report received through the Red Cross that your husband, SSgt. Stanley Lundquist is a prisoner of war of the German government."
While Lundquist was listed as a POW, his wife was presented with the Silver Star and the Air Medal that were awarded to him.
Major General J.A. Ulio said in a letter to Jean dated Feb. 19, 1945, "Since these awards cannot be formally presented to your husband at this time, the decorations will be presented to you. The Silver Star and the Air Medal will be forwarded to the commanding general, Sixth Service Command, Chicago, Ill., who will select an officer to make the presentation."
The Silver Star citation read as follows:
"For gallantry in action. On 26 June 1944, this gallant crew of a B-24 type aircraft participated in a highly important bombing mission against a vital oil installation. Prior to, during, and after the target, the formation was subjected to vicious attacks by approximately 150 enemy aircraft. During these attacks, one of their aircraft, apparently out of control, plunged head on into their aircraft as it was entering upon its bombing run.
"Despite the loss of one engine sheared off and a second afire, this gallant crew, well disciplined, exemplified their devotion to duty by continuing to defend their aircraft and enabling it to make a bombing run in which excellent hits were observed on oil storage tanks, power plant, communications and other installations. Immediately after this successful operation, their bomber was seen to explode.
"By their gallantry against terrific enemy opposition and their extreme devotion to duty, these men have reflected great credit upon themselves and the Armed Forces of the United States of America."
The Air Medal was awarded "For meritorious achievement in aerial flight while participating in sustained operational activities against the enemy from 6 May 1944 to 2 June 1944."
He was liberated from the Nazi prison camp at the close of the war in Germany, and Lundquist was formally discharged from military service on Oct. 27, 1945, at AAF Separation Base, Baer Field at Fort Wayne, Ill.
In addition to the Silver Star and Air Medal, Lundquist was awarded the Distinguished Unit Badge, Good Conduct Medal, and European/African/Middle Eastern Service Medal.
Following his discharge from the military, Lundquist worked as a heavy duty mechanic/welder at V Gross and Company for 40 years, retiring in 1985. He was a member of the American Legion, Teamsters Union, VFW 2998, and St. Anthony's Church in Wells.
Lundquist died on Nov. 6, 1987, in Escanaba and is buried at the Gardens of Rest in Wells. In addition to his wife, Jean, now also deceased, the veteran is survived by his five children, Carol Nygaard, Pam Kercheval, Patricia Rudden, Bob Lundquist, and Judy Lynch, and a sister, Elma Thinglum.