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Paschal recalls his days serving overseas

VALLEY — Bernard Paschal has quite a story to tell about his service in World War II.

He grew up in the River View community and still lives there today. He’s been an active member of American Legion Post 67 for many years and is looking forward to his 94th birthday on July 2.

“I was a radio operator and a waist gunner on a B-25 in the South Pacific,” he said.

He was in the Army Air Corps and flew 69 combat missions over Japanese-held territory in New Guinea and The Philippines.

“I was with the 13th Air Force, 42nd Bomber Group, 69th Bomb Squadron,” he said. “I was to fly 50 combat missions but had to fly 19 more than that due to the lack of reserves. I had to fly 69 in all.”

Paschal was on duty when Japan surrendered in 1945. That was a pretty happy time for the guys in service. It meant that they’d done their job for their country and would be going back home again.

Paschal keeps some exacting records of his service time.

“I was in for two years, two months and 17 days,” he said. “One year, one month and 23 days of that was overseas.”

He’s always considered himself fortunate that he made it back home to the good life in River View, Ala. A lot of good men he served with didn’t make it back home.

The first week in July has always been a special time of year for him. His birthday is on the 2nd and Uncle Sam’s is on the 4th. For years he’s celebrated with red, white and blue signs in front of his Columbus Road home.

Back home, Paschal worked at Riverdale Mill until he retired at age 64. Blessed with long life, he’s had a good retirement. He lost his wife three years ago, but still has strong family support from daughters Juanita Leak and Janice Fields and son John Paschal. He’s proud of his seven grandchildren.

Paschal said that he enjoys going to Post 67 meetings and appreciates its efforts to help veterans.