WWII veteran honored for last combat mission

Col. Richard Bushong
Col. Richard Bushong(Deputy James Allerton / Pima County Sheriff’s Department)
Published: Jun. 26, 2021 at 2:10 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - On Saturday, June 26, the 390th Memorial Museum of Tucson, Arizona hosted a special event featuring the story of a World War II veteran’s last combat mission.

Col. Richard Bushong detailed the final mission he flew to Augsburg, Germany on April 13, 1944.

Col. Bushong’s last mission was especially harrowing because the B-17 he was piloting, Belle O’ the Brawl, was damaged by flak, causing it to lose power to two engines and experience significant systems loss.

In that moment, Col. Bushong called on all his training and safely landed his plane at the 390th Bomb Group’s base in Framlingham, England. All crew members walked away from the mission unharmed.

“With so few remaining WWII combat veterans, we’re a full-court press to get these opportunities out to the public,” explained 390th Memorial Museum Executive Director Alex Wright said. “This is true American History you can learn from someone who made it. That’s a terrific opportunity for all.”

Col. Bushong’s story was followed by a unveiling of the commissioned artwork depicting Belle O’ the Brawl.

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