A Comrade's Tribute to Brig. Gen. Frederick W. Castle A.A.F., a War Memorial

A Comrade's Tribute to Brig. Gen. Frederick W. Castle A.A.F., a War Memorial (HM222T)

Location: Atwater, CA 95301 Merced County
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Country: United States of America
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N 37° 21.922', W 120° 34.383'

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Inscription

1908-1944

The heart is torn of late by the almost daily reports of heroes killed in action: Bottcher, Preddy, and now Castle. They all seem to have been made from a knightly stamp. Gallant and chivalrous men whom the Gods themselves will welcome. Brig. Gen. Frederick W. Castle, killed while leading an Air Division of B47's over Europe, lived in Washington. He had earned a rare distinction among the younger Air Corps Generals. Many of these officers have risen quickly to high rank because of their ability as staff officers. Others have won stars as combat leaders. Castle was outstanding both as staff officer and as combat leader. Although he had been a civilian for eight years when he donned a captain's uniform early in 1942, he promptly shouldered one of the most formidable jobs of the war. This was to go to Europe with General Eaker to help create what is now the Eighth Air Force. Castle as Air Chief of Staff, A-4, was responsible for the planning of an elaborate system of Air Bases, spare parts, and overhaul depots and supply installations for a huge air force, not yet in existence. He worked for a year in this key position, with brilliant effectiveness, but his urge for flying combat got the upper hand, and he was given command early in 1943 of a heavy bomber group of B-47's, which he led when the bombers were flying against the Luftwaffe.

The
"flying Colonel" had a propensity for ducking the easy missions, but when tough mission came through on the field order, like the Regensburg Mission, when thrusts were ordered deeper into Germany, Poland and finally to bases in Russia, Castle was out at the hard-stand of the lead ship at take-off time. The pilots said "whenever Colonel Castle led a mission we knew he would take care of us."

Castle must have known that the percentages were accumulating against him, but this was secondary in his mind and heart to giving his last full measure of contribution to duty. Castle's enormous capacity for work appalled his colleagues when he was a staff officer. He flogged himself on beyond the point of normal endurance; arising from the same real devotion to duty was a sense of self-consecration that drove him into the cockpit before a scheduled mission whenever the worst fighter opposition and the blackest flak loomed ahead. No man can say how far it is to the top of the sky, but those who have fought the enemy in the blue sky, in the blue upper levels where the vapor trails form, and where the mist between life and death is thin. Believe that men like Castle fly on at that higher altitude from which none return to earth.
An editorial "Sky Hero" by Lt. Colonel Beirne Lay Jr., Air Corps-Washington Post-January 20, 1943.
Details
HM NumberHM222T
Series This marker is part of the Medal of Honor Recipients series
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Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, October 11th, 2017 at 4:02pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)10S E 714919 N 4138168
Decimal Degrees37.36536667, -120.57305000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 21.922', W 120° 34.383'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 21' 55.32" N, 120° 34' 22.98" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)209
Closest Postal AddressAt or near D St, Atwater CA 95301, US
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