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    Pa. WWII pilot repatriated in 2016 to be inducted into Hall of Valor; Nominated by Pa. Guard

    Pa. WWII pilot repatriated in 2016 to be inducted into Hall of Valor; Nominated by Pa. Guard

    Courtesy Photo | U.S. Army Air Corps Capt. Arthur Halfpapp will be recognized for his bravery with an...... read more read more



    Story by Maj. Angela King-Sweigart 

    Joint Force Headquarters - Pennsylvania National Guard

    FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa.-Capt. Arthur Halfpapp, a WWII pilot and Steelton, Pa. native will be inducted into the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum’s, Joseph A. Dugan Jr. Hall of Valor in Pittsburgh March 26. The hall honors nearly 700 Pennsylvania Veterans, living and deceased, for demonstrating valor “above and beyond the call of duty” in action against the enemy. A plaque honoring each Veteran inductee will hang in the Hall of Valor for two years before it is scanned and made available at a searchable computer kiosk.

    Halfpapp’s valor will be recognized more than 70 years after he went missing.

    Returning home
    On April 24, 1945, U.S. Army Air Corps Capt. Arthur Halfpapp’s P-47 Thunderbolt crashed in Italy on an armed reconnaissance mission. His status changed to non-recoverable in 1948. But then, in 2014, Italian archeologists located what they believed to be his plane. Finally, in 2016, Halfpapp returned to Pennsylvania for a full military funeral at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery. The Pennsylvania National Guard provided the military honors.

    Additionally, the Pennsylvania National Guard provided the casualty assistance officer (U.S. Army Capt. Randall Hall) to the family. Casualty assistance officers provide help to families of the fallen by preparing and submitting paperwork to various government agencies and continuing the support as long as the family needs it. Frequently, casualty assistance officers maintain ties with the families long after their official duties are completed.

    “It was an honor to assist his family with the process,” said Hall. “For the family, they never got over the loss of their relative. To be a part of bringing him home was a humbling experience.”

    A fellow pilot
    U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Tony Carrelli, the adjutant general of Pennsylvania and a fellow pilot, was also moved by Halfpapp’s story. Carrelli is a state cabinet-level appointee for the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and the commander of the Pennsylvania National Guard. In this role, Carrelli assists with programs for Pennsylvania’s more than 894,000 veterans. Carrelli flew several planes including the A-10 Thunderbolt II.

    Today’s A-10 Thunderbolt II is named after Halfpappf’s WWII’s P-47 Thunderbolt. Both planes are considered to be aerodynamically ‘ugly’, with the A-10 Thunderbolt II’s nickname being ‘Warthog’ and the P-47 Thunderbolt nickname as ‘the Jug’. Both aircraft provide close air support to ground-troops and were designed to withstand heavy damage.

    “As a fellow ground attack aircraft pilot, Halfpapp’s story and bravery moved me,” said Carrelli. “I believed we should tell more of his story and take the necessary steps to honor him further.”

    “The Pennsylvania Soldiers & Sailors Hall is a fitting place to honor Capt. Halfpapp because it is the nation’s only military memorial dedicated to honoring the men and women of all branches of service from all generations and conflicts,” said Carrelli.

    The nomination
    With assistance from several officers of the Pennsylvania National Guard including: U.S. Air Force Maj. Karen Bogden, and U.S. Army Maj. Dave Marous, the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs submitted Halfpapp’s nomination to the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum.

    Halfpapp’s submission included the award for bravery he earned before his untimely death.

    He received the Distinguished Flying Cross. for completing a fighter-bomber attack against an enemy artillery gun post position in Italy, on November 6, 1944. Upon the approach he was fired upon, the damage eventually crippling his P-47 on the return flight. Despite the damage to the aircraft, he dove to minimum altitude and release his bombs on a building that housed enemy guns.

    “Capt. Arthur Halfpapp was a true hero, one who gave his life to our nation. As Pennsylvania’s adjutant general, I am committed to ensuring the sacrifices of our Veterans are remembered,” said Carrelli.

    The induction event is free and open to public. Those interested in attending may visit the link here.

    Founded in 1747 the Pennsylvania National Guard is comprised of nearly 20,000 Soldiers and Airmen in more than 90 communities across the commonwealth.



    Date Taken: 03.01.2017
    Date Posted: 03.01.2017 08:26
    Story ID: 225310
    Hometown: STEELTON, PA, US

    Web Views: 323
    Downloads: 0