WWII D-Day veteran set to turn 103, gets visit from U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth to honor birthday later this month – Shaw Local


Edward “Bud” Berthond, left, shakes hands with U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth and her husband, Bryan Bowlsbey, ahead of his 103rd birthday later this month. Duckworth stopped at his Fox River Grove home on Friday, Nov. 4, 2022. (Janelle Walker)
A casual conversation among friends Thursday night brought a surprise for Edward “Bud” Berthond on Friday – a visit from a U.S. senator.
The Fox River Grove man turns 103 on Nov. 20. A friend, Ole Sinberg, was talking to his daughter-in-law and mentioned his friend’s upcoming birthday.
Wouldn’t it be nice, thought Kristina Zahorik, the McHenry County Democratic Party chairwoman, if Sen. Tammy Duckworth stopped by to wish the World War II veteran a happy birthday?
Berthond received his pilot’s wings in September 1943 in Tuscon, Arizona. He was 24 years old and flying a B-24 bomber in the days leading up to D-Day on June 6, 1944. His job was to clear the air and ensure that when soldiers landed on Normandy, they had “showered the Germans” from the air, Berthond said.
At almost 103 years old, Berthond lives alone. He also admits his memory fails him when thinking back to details from 78 years ago.
Edward “Bud” Berthond, greets U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth ahead of his 103rd birthday later this month with his friend, Ole Sinberg, and Duckworth’s husband, Bryan Bowlsbey, looking on. Duckworth stopped at his Fox River Grove home on Friday, Nov. 4, 2022. (Janelle Walker)
He knows they were flying under 10,000 feet in the days before because they didn’t need oxygen in the cabin. He also remembers how many missions he flew as a U.S. Army pilot.
“We were supposed to fly 25,” he said. “As they were getting ready [for D-Day], it was 30.”
He said it went up to 35 before his flying days were done.
A Chicago native, Berthond came back and looked at getting his commercial pilots license. But the airlines wanted people with instrument flying experience, which he did not have. He ended up working for Electrolux in Peoria right after the war. A girlfriend at the time decided she didn’t want to get married and move.
“That was the end of that,” Berthond said.
When Duckworth and her husband, Bryan Bowlsbey, arrived, most of the conversation centered on their love of aircraft, flying and the different types of military aircraft they had all flown. Duckworth was Black Hawk helicopter pilot before she was shot down in Iraq on Nov. 12, 2004.
Edward “Bud” Berthond, who turns 103 later this month, shows a photo of the day he received his pilot wings 79 years ago. Sen. Tammy Duckworth stopped in to wish him a happy birthday on Friday, Nov. 4, 2022. (Janelle Walker)
“He flies gliders now,” Duckworth said of her husband’s hobby, noting that she didn’t trust anything without an engine. In his own military service, Bowlsbey said, he was a spotter, not a flyer, because of his eyesight.
Berthond told the senator of the missions he flew, noting many of them were shorter, bombing the Germans ahead of troop movements. For much of that time, he was out of the Royal Air Force base in Tibenham in the U.K., Berthond said.
His friend, Sinberg, found Berthond’s military bonafides online. He was with the 445th Bombardment Group, 701st Bomb Squadron.
Edward “Bud” Berthond, who turns 103 later this month, points himself out on a photo from the day he received his pilot wings 79 years ago. Sen. Tammy Duckworth stopped in to wish him a happy birthday on Friday, Nov. 4, 2022. (Janelle Walker)
Sinberg flew in the military as well, but for the Danish Air Force. Another friend who stopped by Friday, Rob McCutcheon, flew for the U.S. Navy, and both Sinberg and McCutcheon later flew for United Airlines. They became friends through their membership in the Experimental Aircraft Association.
Duckworth asked whether Berthond ever got to go back to Normandy on the annual D-Day memorial. When he said he had not, she suggested Berthond and his daughter reach out to her office before the 2023 event to get him there.
“They will roll out the red carpet for you,” Duckworth said.
Duckworth was in the area to join McHenry County Democratic Women, including Zahorik, to kick off a phone bank event for Illinois Supreme Court candidate Judge Elizabeth Rochford.
Copyright © 2022 Shaw Local News Network
Copyright © 2022 Shaw Local News Network

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