|John R. Bertie|
|Ens. John R. Bertie, City, Wounded Twice, Bags 3 Jap Planes in Tinian Raid|
|ABROAD A CARRIER FLAGSHIP OFF THE MARIANA ISLANDS,
February 22 (Delayed) —
(AP) The "four black chickens" were the first American planes to hit Tinian
Island in the bold sunrise attack today and to open the day of devastation for Japan's medium bomber
base on the Mariana Islands.
Only three "Black Chickens" returned to their carrier, and one of these was injured, but the little fighter squadron brought home a bag of five Zeros to help compensate for the missing member.
The squadron leader, Lieutenant Commander Evan Peter Aurand, Houston, TX, son of Major General Henry S. Aurand, Sixth Service Command, Chicago, led the flight through a rain squall for a strafing run on the large Tinian Airfield.
Enemy bombers and fighters were parked wing to wing, three deep at points.
After the first pass, Aurand climbed and dove again to find some Zeros just taking off.
After the third run, Aurand became separated from his
wingman, Ensign John R. Bertie, Eau Claire, WI, who became the outstanding ace of
the day in the next few minutes.
|Purple Heart to Bertie, Now Lieutenant 'jg'
Former Local Boy Recently Promoted
|According to the ship's paper, published by the plane carrier on
which he is serving, Lieutenant (junior grade) John R. Bertie, U.S.
Naval Flier, formerly of
Eau Claire but now of St. Paul, has been awarded the Purple Heart. Recently, he
was awarded the Naval Cross for his feat in downing three Jap Zeros in his first air battle
in the South Pacific and the Purple Heart decoration was for the wounds he received in that battle.
He has also recently been promoted from Ensign to Lieutenant, junior grade.
The paper also lists him as the only member of the crew of the carrier, which is now observing its first anniversary in the service, to have won the Navy Cross.
In a letter to a friend here, received recently, he said it would probably be two months before he
would be able to write him again, and it is believed that he has been engaged
in some of the recent naval and air actions in the South Pacific.
|Navy Cross Award to Ensign Bertie|
|Ensign John R. Bertie, son of Mr. and Mrs. John B. Bertie, now of St.
Paul, but recently of Eau Claire, has been awarded the Navy Cross, according to a story carried in the
Paul Pioneer Press.
The Cross was sent to his mother, along with the citation.
Ensign Bertie attended St. Patrick's Grade School and also St. Patrick's High School, from which he was graduated two years ago.
Cites Heroic Conduct
"By February 22, he had already so distinguished himself by heroic conduct, superior airmanship, and disregard of personal safety in the execution of a certain mission that he was awarded the Navy Cross.
"Bertie won the Cross after an assignment to destroy enemy aircraft at Tenian and Saipan Islands. After participating in four strafing runs on enemy airfields, he destroyed an enemy airborne fighter plane, according to his citation. Then, despite wounds in his left arm and leg and damage to his plane from enemy fire, he engaged and shot down two more fighter planes.
"Without a compass, he then navigated his plane 133 miles back to his carrier by the sun. Although weak from loss of blood and with his left arm incapacitated, he succeeded in manually lowering his flaps and wheels, putting his guns on safety, and landing."
Written by Harold (Diz) Kronenberg
After graduation from St. Patrick's High School, John R. Bertie entered the Navy. He entered pre-flight school and later became a Navy pilot. He was sent to the Pacific Theater of Operations where he flew the F6F Navy Hellcat fighter against the Japanese.
On one mission, while flying from Tenian and Saipan Islands, he shot down three enemy airplanes, two of them after he was severely wounded in his left arm and leg. Despite his injuries and without any navigational instruments, he flew his fighter plane 130 miles back to his aircraft carrier and landed safely.
For his heroic actions, Ensign Bertie received the Navy Cross. Next to the Medal of Honor, the Navy Cross is the highest medal given by the Navy for actions above and beyond the call of duty.