Skip to comments.Al Jaffe, WWII hero who inspired movie role, dies in South Florida
Posted on 09/03/2012 8:23:23 AM PDT by KeyLargo
The Miami Herald Posted on Sat, Sep. 01, 2012
Al Jaffe, WWII hero who inspired movie role, dies in South Florida
BY ELINOR J. BRECHER ebrecher@MiamiHerald.com
Al Jaffe was a scrappy, streetwise Jewish kid from the Bronx who climbed into a P-51 Mustang fighter plane in the last year of World War II and flew it into history.
Second Lt. Abraham Al Jaffe completed 77 reconnaissance missions in Europe, including one that helped turn the tide of the war during the pivotal Battle of the Bulge.
He was also involved in holding the bridge at Remagen, Germany, enabling U.S. troops to cross the Rhine River two months before the war ended.
His exploits inspired Henry Fondas character, Lt. Col. Daniel Kiley, in the 1965 feature film Battle of the Bulge and earned Jaffe 17 medals, including the Distinguished Flying Cross, the nations third highest combat decoration.
Jaffe succumbed to long-term heart disease at home in Weston on Aug. 20, three days after his 88th birthday. He and his wife, Edith, moved there three years ago after 45 years in North Miami Beachs Skylake neighborhood.
In his last hours, Jaffe was attended by loved ones amid an extraordinary trove of original WWII memorabilia, including his aviators log book, his Army uniforms, his decorations and their supporting citations, photos he shot at the just-liberated Nazi death camp Buchenwald, and a replica of the P-51 he named Nankie, his childhood name for sister Charlotte.
(Excerpt) Read more at miamiherald.com ...
K-L, thank you for the post. The cloudy weather caused nearly all of the USAAF recon missions over the Ardennes/Schnee Eifel area to either be aborted or return with no results. There were a couple of air recce flights that spotted some signs of a possible build up but the weather kept additional recon from confirming. Jaffee was probably flying the recce version of the early Allison powered P-51As that were referred to as a F-6 for photo recon.
I had to google to make sure this wasn’t the same Al Jaffe of Mad Magazine fame.
Death of WWII vets is an irreplaceable loss
Sunday, May 27, 2012 Last updated: Monday May 28, 2012, 6:22 AM
BY JAY LEVIN
Scan the obituaries in todays paper or any day for sobering proof that the Greatest Generation is dwindling fast.
Youll see a death notice for an American World War II veteran. Or two. Or more.
Some 270,000 World War II vets died in 2011, an average of 740 a day, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Another 248,000 are projected to die this year.
The 4 North Jersey veterans who died on the same day
A few who saw action in WWII may live into the 2030s
The United States lost 270,000 World War II veterans last year and one veteran of World War I.
Frank Buckles, 110, of West Virginia was our last surviving serviceman from “The War to End All Wars,” fought from April 1917 to November 1918.
America won’t mark the passing of its last World War II vet until well into the 2030s, or even the decade after that.
Work the math. The war officially ended with Japan’s formal surrender on Sept. 2, 1945. Department of Veterans Affairs spokesman Phil Budahn notes “there were a number of underage servicemen who went off and did their bidding” in the war. That means a 17-year-old who served at the tail end of hostilities would be 84 now. And if that 84-year-old is blessed with Frank Buckles-style genes and robust health, he’ll be turning 110 in 2038.
Taking into consideration lengthening life expectancies, the VA expects World War II veterans to be around for a while. The agency projects that 370 will be alive on Sept. 30, 2036 91 years after the end of the war.
Rest in Peace.
Well worth going to the source and reading the entire article.
And another of the GI’s reports for duty in the Heavenly Host.
FRiends, if you ever meet a GI in passing, shake their hand and tell them how proud you are of them.
You might not get a chance tomorrow...
I watched that movie with my Grandfather. He saw it, “On its first run, in Techicolor”, as he so blithely put it.
Afterwards, I asked what he thought. He said, “It was a fine movie, but no one looked cold enough.”
Grandpa passee away 7 years ago. I still miss him.
My most favored uncle told me that near the end of the war they had heard of the death camps, so they made a side trip. He often said that 'he wished he had never looked'.
On the good nights he would wake up screaming. The bad nights it was John Barleycorn to help him forget.
Thanks for the ping. May he rest in peace.
For those that do not know, that is a photo of a Missing Man Formation.
Histories :: The Missing Man Formation
The Fly Past
Looking heavenward you cannot help but shed a tear... mournful... lonesome... a hole that screams out almost as loudly as the roar of the engines that pass overhead.
This is The Missing Man Formation... perhaps the most magnificent and solemn aerial manuever ever seen. Whether flown with the wingman spiraling off into the great beyond, or, flown consistently with that awful hole where a buddy should be... this dignified, almost painful to watch manuever is a part of POW-MIA and combat history.
The genesis of this manuever is one shrouded in years of faded memories, long fought battles and countless missions almost a century old.
Rumored to have begun when British fighter pilots flew over the funeral of Manfred ‘The Red Baron’ von Richthofen as a sign of respect by his fellow aces, the formation does find its birth in World War I. At some point during the Great War, the RAF pilots created an aerial manuever known as ‘The Fly Past’... whether this was before or after the alleged von Richthofen loss is unknown. But it is British in origin and it was used infrequently and privately during the War.
The ‘Fly Past’ remained a private affair... returning aircrews signaled to the ground their losses upon their return. The first written account of the manuever shown publicly is by the RAF in 1935 when flying over a review by George V. Prior.
During World War II, it morphed and evolved into a ceremonial tradition as part of RAF programs. The US first began the tradition in 1938 during the funeral for MG Westover with over 50 aircraft and one blank file. The 8th Air Force with her legion of Flying Fortresses, the Bloody Hundredth and other combat weary groups adopted the manuever when returning home from a ‘milk run.’ Again, it signaled to those on the ground the losses incurred during the last mission... and held a place of honor for their fallen comrades.
The Missing Man formation, as used in the United States, was rarely if ever seen by the public. Only those privileged to attend military funerals and ceremonies were familiar with it. But during the Second Indochina War, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, the public at large got its first glimpse of this sobering moment.
The first time a military aerobatics unit ever performed the Missing Man Formation was during the war in 1969 when the USAF Thunderbirds flew the manuver for the first time to honor the men and women who were then POWs in Vietnam. Other aerial demonstration squadrons, both military and civilian, have adopted the formation and perform it during ceremonial events such as National POW-MIA Recognition Day, Memorial Day, during funerals and at the interrment of repatriated remains of Prisoners and Missing. Aside from the fixed wing manuever, a rotary wing version is flown by National Guard and Reservists with exceptional beauty and solemnity.
Perhaps it is fitting that the true history of this exquisite yet sad tradition should be unknown... its history with those whom it honors and is named for... Missing.
Thank you for your service sir and fly home safely.
My daddy would be 100 this October. He was a WWII veteran.
They were the Greatest Generation.....they gave us so much.