100 yr old War Hero to return to Normandy after 80 years

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Local World War II hero, Robert E. Pedigo, is one of the 70 World War II veterans who will fly to France on a historic endeavor to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, France. On May 31, American Airlines will fly to France on a donated charter flight to honor them for their service and sacrifice. D-Day marks a pivotal moment in history, and this trip reaffirms American Airline’s commitment to supporting veterans and preserving their stories 80 years later. TriWest Healthcare Alliance, Gary Sinise Foundation, Robert Irvine Foundation and the Old Glory Honor Flight have partnered to celebrate these brave Americans from the Greatest Generation.
Among the many heroes who will return to Normandy is U.S. Army Air Corps nose gunner, Robert “Bob” Pedigo, who flew over France on D-Day (June 6, 1944) in a B-24 Liberator bomber. Pedigo’s 8th Air Force “Silent Yokum” aircraft and crew were assigned a mission to destroy a German encampment in St. Laurent, France, on that historic day.
“This will be a once in a lifetime journey for me. The last time I saw France was from the air, 80 years ago. I will finally be able to pay my respects to the 9,000 troops who never came home. That day is seared in my memory. We owe them everything and are a free country today because of their sacrifices. I’m honored to be a part of this historic event,” said Pedigo, who completed 30 missions over France and Germany during WWII and was inducted into the Indiana Military Hall of Fame in 2023.
The journey will begin with a kickoff dinner at the American Airlines headquarters in Fort Worth the night before, followed by a send-off parade at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport before the group boards a chartered flight to Paris. The veterans will spend two days in Paris before traveling to the Normandy region for commemorative events. The trip will include visits to key historical sites, concerts and special ceremonies to honor the courage and sacrifice of all who served during World War II. The trip will culminate with a June 6 ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery, where more than 9,000 U.S. service members have been laid to rest.

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