Vermont National Guard Logo News
Articles
News | Aug. 23, 2018

PAST MEETS PRESENT: GREEN MOUNTAIN BOYS HOST WORLD WAR II COMBAT PILOT SHORTLY BEFORE HIS PASSING

By Lt. Col. Thomas Graham 158th Figher Wing

You can’t know where you’re going unless you know where you’ve been. As the Vermont Air National Guard prepares to transition to the fifth generation fighter F‐35 Lightning II in 2019, it was only fitting they made time to learn from a Vermont native and Green Mountain Boy who was one of the oldest living combat pilots from World War II. On June 3rd pilots from the 134th Fighter Squadron welcomed Mr. Lyndol Palin and his family to the Air National Guard Base. Mr. Palin passed away six weeks later.

Lyndol Palin, who passed away on July 14th, was a 96‐year old combat veteran who flew 35 missions as a B‐17 pilot in the European theater during the Second World War. He was assigned to the 385th Bomb Group of the 8th Air Force and received the Distinguished Flying Cross while flying combat missions over Nazi‐occupied Europe. Mr. Palin grew up in Derby, Vermont, always dreaming to be a pilot, and lived there with his wife of 73 years, Evelyn.

In early July, Mr. Palin spent an afternoon at the 158th Fighter Wing, recalling emotional memories, engaging with the squadron, touring the base, and sharing stories from his experience over 70 years ago as a bomber pilot flying missions over Germany. His recollections were stirring, especially as he recalled the final mission he flew with the enlisted airmen of his B‐17 crew.

“It really set the tone when he told us how his most meaningful mission was his 32nd, after which he got to tell his aircrew they could return to the U.S. – that was really inspirational to see how that affected him,” recalled Captain Dan Lacroix, an F‐16 pilot assigned to the Vermont Air National Guard. Lacroix, a fellow Vermonter who grew up less than an hour away from Mr. Palin’s hometown, also appreciated meeting a WWII pilot face‐to‐face.

“At the [Air Force] Academy, we would have pilots from Vietnam or Korea talk to our class, but this was the first time I had the chance to hear from a World War II pilot.  I appreciated his good nature and wit. I hope I’m that sharp at 96,” said Lacroix.

The pilots were equally awed at the daunting risks that the airmen in the Greatest Generation faced on their combat missions. Mr. Palin spoke of the limited evasive maneuvers they were able to fly in the B‐ 17 due to its size and flying in 36‐aircraft formations.

“After the IP (initial point), the bombardier took over and guided the aircraft to the target with no evasive action,” Palin recalled. “The IP to target took probably a minute and a half… more like an hour and a half,” Palin joked to the appreciative crowd.

On one mission Palin returned with 160 holes in his aircraft. When asked if there were any combat missions he returned from without battle damage, he said he couldn’t recall any.

Afterwards, many pilots spoke of the fortitude required of the Airmen to stay on target with that much enemy fire all around them.


“It’s hard to imagine how much danger those aircrew faced compared to what we do flying combat missions these days,” remarked Major Trevor Callens, an F‐16 pilot with the 134th Fighter Squadron. “We shouldn’t forget the sacrifice their generation made,” added Callens as he reflected on Mr. Palin’s experiences.


For the Green Mountain Boys, Mr. Palin’s visit was a unique and increasingly rare opportunity to reconnect with Air Force history and instill pride in values and legacy they share with earlier Airmen. The Air Force owes much of its heritage to the performance of the United States Army Air Corps during World War II and the spirit of the aircrews who flew, fought, and won in the flack‐strewn skies over Europe. The afternoon’s events were an experience the Green Mountain Boys will surely preserve and pass on as they move forward into their next mission, just as Captain Palin did nearly 75 years ago
National Guard News
Washington National Guard Soldiers from the 506th Military Police Detachment conduct tactical medical training June 15, 2022 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
Washington Guard MPs Train on Law Enforcement Skills
By Joseph Siemandel, | June 28, 2022
CAMP MURRAY, Wash. – Building off last year’s comprehensive annual training, Washington National Guard members from the 506th Military Police Detachment developed their law enforcement skills during training this month.“We...

A U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker from the 191st Air Refueling Group, Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Michigan,  arrives at Sawyer International Airport, Marquette, Michigan, to support Agile Combat Employment training as multicapable Airmen during the Northern Agility 22-1 exercise, June 27, 2022. Northern Agility 22-1 tests the rapid insertion of an Air Expeditionary Wing into a bare-base environment to establish logistics and communications and enhance the ability to operate in austere environments.
Northern Agility 22-1 Begins in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
By Capt. Andrew Layton, | June 28, 2022
MARQUETTE, Michigan - U.S. Air Force KC-135 aircraft from the 127th Wing, Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Michigan, arrived at Sawyer International Airport June 27 to kick off Northern Agility 22-1, a total-force Agile...

Lt. Col. Dan Tzizik, the medical officer in charge from the New Hampshire Army National Guard Medical Detachment, screens Tara Parker Dorler, a daycare provider, during the Cherokee Nation Innovative Readiness Exercise June 5, 2022. Parker Dorler was the first patient at the clinic set up inside the Sequoyah High School in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.
New Hampshire Guard Provides Health Care in Cherokee Nation
By Staff Sgt. Victoria Nelson, | June 28, 2022
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – New Hampshire National Guardsmen and sister services provided the Cherokee Nation with more than a quarter-million dollars in health care exams and services during their joint two-week Innovative Readiness...

Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldiers from the 1st Squadron, 105th Cavalry Regiment, fire a Tube-launched Optically-tracked Wire-guided anti-tank missile during training June 10, 2022, at Fort McCoy, Wis.
105th Cavalry Seizes Opportunity to Train on Tow Missiles
By Staff Sgt. Kati Volkman, | June 27, 2022
FORT MCCOY, Wis. – Recent history and some hustle enabled the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team to train on Tube-launched Optically-tracked Wire-guided anti-tank missiles during annual...

Approximately 80 Idaho Army National Guard Soldiers with the 1st Battalion of the 148th Field Artillery Regiment and counterparts from California, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin are training with the Royal Moroccan Army in the northern Sahara Desert as part of African Lion ’22.
Idaho National Guard Participates in African Lion Exercise
By Master Sgt. Becky Vanshur, | June 27, 2022
TAN-TAN, Morocco – Idaho Army National Guard Soldiers with the 1st Battalion of the 148th Field Artillery Regiment and their counterparts from California, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin are training with the Royal Moroccan...