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Obituary, Donald B. Hudspeth, 91

Replies: 2

Re: Obituary, Donald B. Hudspeth, 91

Posted: 1386879617000
Classification: Obituary
Edited: 1386906949000
Surnames: Hudspeth; Iavecchia
My apologies for questioning some of the above details of Donald Hudspeth's military history. I believe the following to be factual:

My father, Veto Iavecchia (d. May 29, 2013), was the bombardier of the B-24 Liberator "Mistah Chick" that was disabled (20 June 1944) by flak after dropping its bombs on a synthetic oil refinery in Politz Germany. Mr. Hudspeth (who maintained life-long contact with Veto) was a gunner on that flight. The crew was given the choice of setting down on German soil and becoming POWs.....or risking a dangerously uncertain crossing of the Baltic Sea toward neutral Sweden. They opted for Sweden, and (absent hydraulics) crash-landed there, without fatalities.

Families stateside immediately received MIA telegrams, but within a week or two, they received highly confidential letters that the crew was safe. The classified details could not be shared with the families: the crew were now internees of the neutral (and secretly friendly) Swedish government. They were not POWs (though 50 years later, some pols petitioned for Internees to receive commendations like those bestowed on true POWs). The Swedish Internees were generally treated as respected guests: they were clothed, fed, and free to move about their assigned towns and socialize with the locals.

Secretly violating neutrality laws, Sweden negotiated with the U.S. to facilitate the return of internees to U.S. command. My father was returned after 5 months in Sweden; his crew-mates were likely returned on a similar time-table.

My father reunited with some of his crew-mates on a handful of occasions in their senior years, and I believe Mr. Hudspeth attended some or all of those joyful reunions.

Godspeed, Mr. Hudspeth, and thank you for your defense of Freedom.
SubjectAuthorDate Posted
RonCollins10 1349697822000 
aiavecchia 1386879617000 
RonCollins10 1386894828000 
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