Date of Interview
Richard "Dick" Pfaffinger was born in Blue Earth, Minnesota, on 2 November 1920; one of seven children, he was raised on the family farm and graduated from Blue Earth High School in 1939. He then worked several months at an aircraft factory in Buffalo, New York, before volunteering for the US Army Air Corps in November 1943. Dick was trained as top turret gunner and flight engineer on B-24 Liberator four-engine heavy bombers. He arrived in Italy in April 1944, and while returning from his first mission on 7 April, just two days after arriving, his plane was shot down over the Adriatic Sea. A German seaplane pulled Dick from the water. He was transported to Venice, then to Verona for interrogation, before being shipped by train to Stalag Luft I Barth, in far northern Germany on the Baltic. He remained at this camp for the remainder of the war. Stalag Luft I was liberated by the advancing Red Army on 30 April 1945. Dick was evacuated to France, then the United States. He was discharged in November 1945. Again a civilian, Dick returned to Blue Earth and worked as a turkey farmer, retiring in 1987. He was married in 1973 (wife Agnes) and helped to raise four adopted children.
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Saylor, Thomas, "Oral History Project World War II Years, 1941-1946 - Dick Pfaffinger" (2004). Oral History Project: World War II Years, 1941-1946. 59.