Distinguished Flying Cross for World War II Airman

Robert Giles, who, as a B-17 navigator, saved a crewmate’s life in the skies over Berlin, Germany, on April 18, 1944, has received the Distinguished Flying Cross, another form of long-overdue recognition for his heroism that day nearly 67 years ago. Last April, Giles received the Air Medal for those same actions. Then a second lieutenant, Giles managed that day to help the B-17’s severely wounded bombardier safely escape the doomed aircraft after German fighters had ripped it up. Giles himself had sustained a broken arm. Upon reaching the ground, the Germans captured both airmen; they remained POWs until May 1945. “I never thought that I did anything that any person wouldn’t have done under the same circumstances,” said Giles, who received the DFC during a Dec. 29 ceremony at Kirtland AFB, N.M. (Kirtland report by John Cochran)