Monday, April 11, 2011

To Honor and Remember

I have been posting my
father's memoirs now
for over a year, and
throughout this amazing
journey I never gave
up the search for members
of the crew's family;
I felt it was important 
to be able to share
this blog with them. 
This blog was created to
honor twelve brave young
men in hopes that their
heroism and service
to their country would
always be remembered.
                   Liz Bacher

Sgt. Raphael Gonyea,
Gunner, Radio Operator
of the 415th Bomb Squadron
of the 98th Bomb Group

Flag of the Oneida Indian Nation                                                       

By the age of 26 in 1945, Tech Sgt. Raphael Gonyea,
member of the Oneida Indian Nation and Wolf Clan,
was a veteran of numerous combat missions in the
European theater.  He had joined up in 1942 and
became a gunner and radio operator on a
B-24 Liberator, flying in 25 combat missions
for the Army Air Forces.  

During Raphael's stint of duty his plane
was hit twice.  The first time was on his
seventh bombing mission over Germany.
The plane had to make an emergency
landing perilously close to the front lines
just before Christmas.

His 25th bombing mission over Germany
was even more dangerous.  Once again
the plane was hit by flak with the pilot
attempting to get the hobbled plane back
over Allied lines.  However, it became
necessary for the crew to parachute
to safety in a small town in Yugoslavia.
The same flak that hit his plane also
struck his leg, leaving him with an injury
that would lead to his Purple Heart.

(Click on article to enlarge)

This is an article that appeared in I believe the
 Syracuse Herald Journal.   Sgt. Gonyea is
pictured here with his son, Ray.  He had been
missing in action and had just returned home.
Sadly, his 83-year old father died the day
following his arrival home.

                                             Dad with John, Fred (seated)
                                             and Cousin Pete and Steve
                   Dad and Ma with Tony, Steve and John
                   Taken in 1987 or 1988.

Picture of Dad at an airshow alongside a B24

Picture of Dad with members of his crew

                   This picture was taken in 2003 at the
                   Montgomery Airport, MD.
                   The B24 in the background is
                   a part of the Collins Foundation.
                   Steve Gonyea