New England Air Museum
Alfred L. Rinaldo

 

Alfred L. Rinaldo
Alfred Rinaldo, WWII

 

Recent Address:  

633 Fairview Drive, Woodland, CA 95695

Email:  

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Family Information:  

Parents: Placido and Mary; Wife: Margaret; Children: Alfred, Maryann, Concetta, Loreta, Regina, Terisa

Hometown:  

Akron, OH

Date Entered Service:  

November 3, 1940

Service Number:  

15014877

Bomb Group:  

444th

Squadron:  

676th

Location of Unit:  

Great Bend, KS; October 1944

Missions Flown:  

35

Hump Missions Flown:  

Approximately 15-20

Targets:  

Bangkok, Yawata(2), OShima, Nagoya, Hamamatsu, Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka (3), Omuta, Kure, Chiba, Sendai, Fukui, Tsu, Hachiogi

Awards/Decorations:  

Air Medal with 5 Oak Leaf Clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross, Western Pacific Campaign Credit Star, Distinguished Unit Citation, Battle Participation Award, India-Burma Campaign, China Campaign

Service Schools Attended:  

Curtiss Wright Tech Apr-Sep 1941; B-29 Armament Jun 1943; Flight Engineering Sep 1943

Military Specialty(ies):  

MOS 1028-Aircraft Observer, Flight Engineer (VHB), MOS 750-Aircraft Maintenance Technician/Crew Chief

Rank Upon Discharge:  

2nd Lt./Lt.Col.

Crew Type:  

Flight crew

Airplane Serial No.& Name:  

42-6307 Blue Bonnet Belle

Were you a POW?  

No

Were you interned?  

No

Date Transferred from the 58th:  

 

Date Discharged from the 58th:  

January, 1946

Post-WWII Military Service:

I maintained my Air Force Reserve Status, and in 1960 I retired from the USAF Reserve as a Lt. Colonel.

Post-WWII Civilian Occupation(s):

Attended Cal Aero Design Engineering School, Glendale, CA. ; Jul-Sep 1946 - Aircraft Engine Testing, United Airlines, Cheyenne WY; Dec 1946-Dec 1954 - Flight testing Model Missiles to determine the aerodynamics flight characteristics for Naval Air Missile Test Center, Point Mugu, CA; Dec 1954-Jul 1982 - Lockheed Missile and Space Co., Palo Alto & Sunnyvale, CA as Senior Administrator in Research and Engineering Div.; Missile and Space Engineering Div., Advanced Program Office & Staff Sr. Administrator; Trident II Program Office Operations Planning Specialist and staff to the Vice President. Retired from Lockheed Missile and Space Co. in July 1982.

Today I am a Real Estate Broker, Councilor and Advisor in Real Estate Development and Sales.

Thoughts on the 58th Bomb Wing:

It was on November 11, 1944, on a mission out of China that the Blue Bonnet Bell iced up and the crew was ordered to bail out. Six crew members and I were fortunate to survive. Four crew members were not so fortunate and crashed into the mountain side. The seven remaining crew members were picked up by local Chinese and reassembled in a town called Wanyuan. Our four comrades' remains were gathered by the seven survivors, identified and buried at the local cemetery. With the aid of the Chinese Army, six comrades and I walked or rode in carts drawn by oxen or horses. Sometime we rode horses, but most of the time we walked. Eleven days later we arrived at Chung King, China. There we were flown back to the Chengtu Valley to our base. After the war I learned that the Chinese people removed the bodies of our four crew members, flew them back to the States where they were buried with Military Honors.In my mind, Capt. Bill Wyatt, our Ship Commander, was a hero and deserves high honors because he was waiting for other crew members to bail out, but the Tail Gunner never had a chance. We found him still seated in the tail section. Two of the gunners had made a pact with the Tail Gunner that they would hold his parachute open when the plane went into a spin (severe ice had formed on the wings). The centrifugal force made it impossible for the tail gunner to move let alone escape. Why the left Side Gunner never made it out, I will never know.

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