Letters to the Editor | March 29, 2023

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One lucky son of a gun

In the March 9 issue of Washington Jewish Week, a short obituary appeared about Lawrence G. “Larry” Goldstein that did not do his life and career justice. Larry, who died on March 2 at age 101, was a member of the Greatest Generation, a B-17 radio operator who earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters.

In February 1944, Larry and the crew of Worry Wart took part in several missions during the six-day Big Week series of attacks, the first involving more than 1,000 heavy bombers, designed to damage Germany’s ability to resist the coming invasion. On 6 March 1944, Larry and the crew of Worry Wart were also part of the 672 heavy bombers that comprised the first daytime bomber raid on Berlin in which 69 bombers were shot down. It was also Larry’s 25th and last mission which, while ending safely, had been shot up by a German fighter that followed them almost all the way back to England.

Eighth Air Force losses during the air war were such that, in the early months, American commanders established a 25-mission limit for crews. The casualty rate was assessed at 89% making those, like Larry, who survived, 10 percent-ers, hence a “Lucky Bastard,” complete with certificate attesting to that distinction.

With Larry’s passing, the entire crew of the Worry Wart are once again reunited.

Sheldon A. Goldberg, Ph.D.
Lt. Col. USAF (Ret)
Rockville

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