Biographies

Bernard Seitzinger, 364th FS, 357th FG, 7FBS

Bernard Karl Seitzinger ("Seitz" or “Ben”) was born on November 5th, 1914 in Belgrade, Minnesota. He was commissioned in the Air Reserve in 1939 and went through Air Force flight training at Randolph Field during 1940. While serving as a flight instructor at Foster Field, Ben earned the reputation as being “tough, fair, and an excellent instructor”.

In 1943, Captain Seitzinger joined with the 65th Fighter Squadron of the 57th Fighter Group in North Africa. During that summer, Ben was on a strafing mission near the base of Mt. Etna, where he took some ground fire and was wounded.  Seitz radioed for assistance, but none of the other pilots were able to get to his location.  He managed to belly-land his aircraft, but was captured by enemy troops.  He later managed to escape and evade, and made his way back to friendly lines.

Ben joined the 364th Fighter Squadron of the famous 357th Fighter Group in early September of 1944. Later that month he was flying his P-51B Mustang “Almost” in the Arnhem Affair.  Ben was shot down over Belgium that day, shortly after scoring an aerial victory. He spent the rest of the war in Stalag Luft I.

He arrived at the K-2 airbase in Taegu, Korea around the beginning of November 1951 and was soon assigned as the commander of the 7th Fighter-Bomber Squadron. Seitz was a veteran aviator with hundreds of hours of actual combat flight. This highly experienced combat pilot referred to his duty in Korea simply as "rugged".

On Tuesday, November 27th, 1951, Ben was killed while strafing boxcars in his F-84E near Chinnampo. As the area was firmly under the control of the North Koreans, no attempt was undertaken to recover his remains.  Bernard was a courageous airman who volunteered for combat duty in Korea, and who gave his life in the service of his country. Though he may lie in an unmarked grave in some forgotten, nameless field in Korea, he is still remembered. Written by Curt Brown in honor of Ben

The picture was taken around Christmas 1951 at Taegu, Korea (K2). Members of the 7th FBS.
     I don't remember the fellow squatting down, but the others are, left to right: Lt Ray Matera, Lt Doyle Back, Lt John Schobelock, Lt Colonel Paul Hall (squadron commander), Lt Fred Moore, Lt John McCulloch, Lt Robert Trumble.

I'll attach a couple of pictures, sort of "before and after". The first shows my wife-to-be, Elizabeth, pinning my wings on, with my dad in the background. The location was Williams Air Force Base, Phoenix, AZ. I was a member of Class 50C. The date was June 23rd, 1950. We were married the next day, June 24th. And the next day, June 25th,  North Korea invaded South Korea! Bad timing!

She's has grown more beautiful, and I have just grown!

     Between the times that those pics were made, I served 3 years of active duty, flying the F-84 almost exclusively. I did fly the F-94, T-28, and B-25 while going through the all-weather instrument school at Tyndall AFB.
     After going on inactive status in June 1953, I was in business in Roanoke, VA for 3 years. I then flew for Eastern Air Lines for 30 years and decided to take early retirement in 1986. I have lived in Naples, FL for the past 21 years.
     I am still flying. In fact, I am having an aircraft built that is wilder than anything most people have ever seen! It is a Clipwing Monocoupe type of airplane that will gross 2 thousand pounds and have a 400 horse engine, with a 98" three bladed prop! It should have over a 4 thousand feet a minute climb and cruise well over 200 mph. From 250 mph I expect to go straight up, nearly out of sight!
The second picture shows Elizabeth and me, with our daughter Karen, 52 years later.


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