When Indianapolis veteran Robert Pedigo started flying his combat missions in the 453rd Bomb Group, he was in his late teens. Like so many of our WWII veterans, they were of high school or early college age. Morning after morning he would climb from his cold bunk and into a cold B-24 Liberator where he served as a gunner. For a period of time he served under Col. Jimmy Stewart, the actor turned bomber pilot for the war effort.
Recently EAA’s B-25 Mitchell Berlin Express landed just outside of Indianapolis for a tour stop. While members of the media were set to fly, two other seats were set aside — one for Robert Pedigo and one for Daniel Roberts, EAA 1435923. Daniel is roughly the same age Mr. Pedigo was when he started flying combat. Daniel is a recent recipient of a Ray Aviation Scholarship, which he is using to attain his private pilot certificate. He is also a lover of history. “Having the privilege to ride in the B-25 with Mr. Pedigo gave me a great perspective on training and life as he had another perspective on the time period,” Daniel said. “During the war many kids my age were training, but not for the joy of it. They were training for war and to defend our way of life.” Daniel felt the power of the history that is in the B-25 as he commented, “Kids were climbing into these stations and they didn’t know if they were going to make it back. Having the chance to take this flight with a real WWII veteran next to me is priceless.”
Daniel summed it up perfectly. “The B-25 represents a piece of living history, and the continued operation of it will preserve the memory and sacrifice of the American population during the Second World War. I am very thankful for this opportunity today.”