|Birth: ||Mar. 21, 1922|
New Jersey, USA
|Death: ||Feb. 2, 1945|
In WWII, enlisted aviation students who had failed USAAF pilot training were given the opportunity to continue to fly as liaison pilots. Many of them had existing flying skills from civilian life and had already soloed. Their wings bore an "L" in the center. They flew critical yet anonymous missions in unarmored and unarmed puddle-jumpers, usually single-engine Piper Cubs with no radios and very little navigation or flight instrumentation. These pilots flew a variety of hazardous missions in and out of small, rough fields and roads for photographic and intelligence missions to observe enemy positions or troop movements, for medical evacuation from forward areas, to deliver munitions, mail and other supplies to the front lines. They ferried personnel, including saboteurs and spies into remote sites and rescued downed pilots. One such Liaison Pilot was Bruce Bode of Radburn, RHS '39.
"Steve" was born March 21, 1922, was an only child and lived with his parents at 7 Burnham Place. His father worked for the Dictaphone Corporation in New York City. While at Ridgewood High School, between study sessions he played intramural basketball, was in the international club, was treasurer of the German Club, sang in the Second Choir and the A Capella Choir, was in the Red Cross play, on the cafeteria committee, the town council and the library staff.
He went to college and was a senior at Columbia Business School when called to the service in December 1942, entering active service September 19, 1943. He trained at Camp Davis, Camp Edwards and Fort Sill before going overseas as a pilot of a "Mosquito" Piper Cub.
Lt. Bode died February 2, 1945 in Forges-les-Eaux near Rouen, France of third degree burns to his face, legs and arms suffered in an accident the previous day. He was awarded the Soldier's Medal, posthumously "for heroism not involving actual conflict with an enemy on 1 February, 1945, in France. In taking off from a temporary airfield the engine of the plane which he was piloting failed from unknown causes. To avoid crashing into an occupied house with children playing in the yard, Lieutenant Bode deliberately changed his course, fully aware such action would lead to a stalling turn at very low altitude and a certain crash at risk of his own life. In the ensuing crash he received injuries which resulted in death. His unusual courage, self sacrifice and strong devotion to duty reflect the highest credit upon Second Lieutenant Bode and the armed forces of the United States." At death Bruce Bode was 21 years old.
From book "At Death he was 25 years old" by Christopher C. Stout (F.A.G. contributor #48289027)
Specifically: Interrment Unknown
Created by: JimmyH
Record added: Nov 21, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 120634735