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Millinocket Vet, 89, Gets Purple Heart For World War Ii Service


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#1 Boblane

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 10:48 PM







I was honored to be a part of this story in my hometown of Millinocket, Maine. Ed is a lifelong friend an here is his story. The link has photos and below it is a link with the Television story.


http://bangordailyne...war-ii-service/

http://www.wcsh6.com...in-World-War-II



MILLINOCKET, Maine — Edwin Waite suffered a leg wound, had several terrifying experiences and gained an enormous sense of pride from his service as a B-17 bomber pilot during World War II.

What he’s never had is a Purple Heart for his wound — until Thursday, that is.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, helped pin the medal on the 89-year-old U.S. Army Air Corps veteran’s chest during a brief ceremony at the Waite family’s home on Thursday.

Waite alternately beamed and cried as the kitchen full of friends and family saluted him with a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. Waite said he was deeply honored by the ceremony and didn’t mind having to await the recognition for so many years.

“Nobody knew anything about it,” Waite said in response to a question about why it took so long to get the Purple Heart. “When it happened, I was in a plane at 20,000 feet.”

Collins said she was pleased to help.

“I am the daughter of a veteran, so I really enjoyed the honor of helping this to happen,” Collins said. “He really is a wonderful man.”

Waite was a copilot, a second lieutenant flying his eighth bombing mission over Germany on May 12, 1944, when he suffered his leg wound, he said. His B-17, which was unnamed — “you just grabbed whatever plane they gave you,” he said, “you didn’t get to keep to one” — came under strafing attacks from a German ME-109 fighter.

Hit by machine-gun fire, the B-17 started to burn and dive when most of the plane’s crew bailed out. Waite, pilot Tom Williams, the plane’s radioman and engineer stayed behind, Waite because his parachute flew out of the plane during its evasive maneuvers, he said.

The plane were heading south toward France when a bullet — Waite believes it was a .30-caliber machine gun round — struck his left calf, Waite said. Williams and Waite struggled to keep the plane’s descent level as they brought it down, arcing the bomber over utility wires strung along a road before crash-landing in a field. German planes followed them right to ground, he said.

The landing, Waite said, “was either very skillfully or very badly handled.”

Waite and his three crewmates spent four days hiding in the woods near their crashed craft before they were captured by the Germans. A squad of German militia appeared after two villagers fed them and turned them over to the Luftwaffe, which ran prisoner-of-war camps at the time, Waite said.

Waite was among hundreds of prisoners liberated by Gen. George Patton’s Third Army on April 29, 1945, and he was mustered out as a first lieutenant shortly thereafter, he said.

Waite might have received a Purple Heart sooner, he said, but lost Veterans Administration records and an inability to provide independent proof stymied his efforts — at least until his children started working on the case last year. Waite will wear the medal with pride, he said, but don’t expect to hear much from him about how he got it.

“I don’t talk about it much,” he said. “It makes me cry.”

















































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Nick Sambides Jr.2 weeks ago




Let me tell you, folks: Interviewing Mr. Waite was among the biggest thrills of my career. I love history, WWII history especially -- books everywhere around here -- but to hear him recount his tale, to experience the dignity and deep emotion of it, to feel it come alive in his words, was matchless. And he was FUN, too. He got me a few times with some very humorous comebacks when I started sassing him a little bit. It was WONDERFUL! Reminded me of Papa Bear tagging a bear cub with a gentle backhand when the cub starts acting like he's all that.

I wanted to hug him when we were finished. What an honorable man. You root for every breath he takes and hope that all of his remaining days are good and satisfying.




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croshaul2 weeks ago




The secrets men keep!I worked for Eddie 30 years ago,never heard a word about this! Congratulations for the honor you so proudly deserve.




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Amanda2 weeks ago




Thank you for your service and congratulations!




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corinnaman2 weeks ago




From one war vet to another..thank you so much for your service and understanding...Glad you finally got your medal!




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huhinpi2 weeks ago




our ww2 heros are leaving us quickly. apreciate and honor them now, they were the kids who helped save millions and helped stop one of the craziest of leaders this world has seen.




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Bonnie LaCava2 weeks ago




Thank you Mr. Edwin Waite for your honor and bravery as many should know our freedom does come as a cost,as all our children should be taut about the price we have to pay for our freedom. You most certainly deserve all the respect.




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Langsettranger12 weeks ago




Dear Mr Waite, please accept my sincere grateful thanks for the patriotism, bravery and service which you, your comrades and country gave to help democracy overcome the most monstrous fascist tyranny that the world has ever known.

From a very very grateful UK citizen and Maine and USA admirer.

God Bless You, Sir.




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walkingtall42 weeks ago




What a wonderful man! Thank you for your bravery and service, Edwin. :)




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SalArg2 weeks ago




Thank You!




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mlktmaine2 weeks ago




Congratulations and thank you for your service Edwin.




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Nick Sambides Jr. | BDN

Retired U.S. Army Air Corps 1st Lieutenant Edwin Waite of Millinocket tells the story of his time with the 332nd Squadron of the 8th Air Force during World War II. Waite received a Purple Heart Medal from U.S. Sen. Susan Collins during a brief ceremony in his family's kitchen in Millinocket on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012. Buy Photo

MILLINOCKET, Maine — Edwin Waite suffered a leg wound, had several terrifying experiences and gained an enormous sense of pride from his service as a B-17 bomber pilot during World War II.

What he’s never had is a Purple Heart for his wound — until Thursday, that is.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, helped pin the medal on the 89-year-old U.S. Army Air Corps veteran’s chest during a brief ceremony at the Waite family’s home on Thursday.

Waite alternately beamed and cried as the kitchen full of friends and family saluted him with a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. Waite said he was deeply honored by the ceremony and didn’t mind having to await the recognition for so many years.

“Nobody knew anything about it,” Waite said in response to a question about why it took so long to get the Purple Heart. “When it happened, I was in a plane at 20,000 feet.”

Collins said she was pleased to help.

“I am the daughter of a veteran, so I really enjoyed the honor of helping this to happen,” Collins said. “He really is a wonderful man.”

Waite was a copilot, a second lieutenant flying his eighth bombing mission over Germany on May 12, 1944, when he suffered his leg wound, he said. His B-17, which was unnamed — “you just grabbed whatever plane they gave you,” he said, “you didn’t get to keep to one” — came under strafing attacks from a German ME-109 fighter.

Hit by machine-gun fire, the B-17 started to burn and dive when most of the plane’s crew bailed out. Waite, pilot Tom Williams, the plane’s radioman and engineer stayed behind, Waite because his parachute flew out of the plane during its evasive maneuvers, he said.

The plane were heading south toward France when a bullet — Waite believes it was a .30-caliber machine gun round — struck his left calf, Waite said. Williams and Waite struggled to keep the plane’s descent level as they brought it down, arcing the bomber over utility wires strung along a road before crash-landing in a field. German planes followed them right to ground, he said.

The landing, Waite said, “was either very skillfully or very badly handled.”

Waite and his three crewmates spent four days hiding in the woods near their crashed craft before they were captured by the Germans. A squad of German militia appeared after two villagers fed them and turned them over to the Luftwaffe, which ran prisoner-of-war camps at the time, Waite said.

Waite was among hundreds of prisoners liberated by Gen. George Patton’s Third Army on April 29, 1945, and he was mustered out as a first lieutenant shortly thereafter, he said.

Waite might have received a Purple Heart sooner, he said, but lost Veterans Administration records and an inability to provide independent proof stymied his efforts — at least until his children started working on the case last year. Waite will wear the medal with pride, he said, but don’t expect to hear much from him about how he got it.

“I don’t talk about it much,” he said. “It makes me cry.”

#2 IRISH54

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 09:00 AM

Bob, great post. I'm glad to see that he finally got his medal, and really happy to see his kids got involved to help him get it. Thanks for the post. Sincerely, -Jim-

#3 AUSSIE

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 11:52 PM

excellent ;)

Bryan B)

#4 Boblane

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 08:30 AM

Bob, great post. I'm glad to see that he finally got his medal, and really happy to see his kids got involved to help him get it. Thanks for the post. Sincerely, -Jim-



Glad you liked it.

#5 Boblane

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 08:31 AM

excellent ;)

Bryan B)




I'm glad you enjoyed it. Eddie Will turn 90 next week.




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