World War II Airman Receives Distinguished Flying Cross

Retired Col. Claude Schonberger, a B-24 bomber pilot during World War II, has received a long-overdue Distinguished Flying Cross for his heroism in February 1945 in the skies above Regensburg, Germany. “Despite the fact that it’s taken over 60 years for this day to arrive, time in no way diminishes the courageous actions of my fellow airman, Claude Schonberger,” said Lt. Gen. David Deptula, Air Staff lead for intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance who presented the DFC to Schonberger during Monday’s award ceremony in the Pentagon. Schonberger, then a lieutenant, was recognized for his actions over Regensburg on Feb. 16, 1945. Although his aircraft received considerable damage and caught fire, he continued on the bomb run and released the bombs with considerable accuracy. “I share the Distinguished Flying Cross award with my former B-24 crew members who flew with me on most of my missions, many of whom were fatally injured,” said Schonberger. (SAF/PA report by MSgt. Russell P. Petcoff)