Last night the Washington Capitals and Boeing honored Retired 2nd Lieutenant John Pedevillano of the United States Army Air Corps during the opening ceremony and singing of our National Anthem.
Second Lieutenant Pedevillano is a World War II Veteran and was a prisoner of war (PoW) in Nazi Germany for more than a year before being liberated on April 29th, 1945, by forces led by General George Patton.
Pedevillano served as the youngest B-17 bombardier in the 306th Bomb Group during WWII. He flew bombing missions over Europe and was shot down behind enemy lines during his sixth mission. Fifty German fighters attacked the flight, taking down 16 bombers during a 40-minute fight. Pedevillano’s bomber was hit and heavily damaged, but was able to still fly over the target and drop the bombs before crash landing. Pedevillano and his crew were taken prisoner after the crash near Niederumelsdorf, forced to march over 300 miles and then detailed for a year in a Nazi prison.
Pedevillano, a 93-year-old resident of College Park, MD and was honored in July 2015 with a presidential unit citation.
A video of the ceremony can be found here:
By Stephanie Judge