Oklahoma, Richard Oliver move to California before
enlisting in 1939 to the US Army. Trained as
a bombardier, he joined the crew of B-17E 41-2446
in Hawaii replacing their original bombardier.
Oliver had the misfortune of being involved
in two crashes that occurred on the 23rd
of the month, first a B-24 off Hawaii on
January 23rd, and second the force landing
in the swamp on February 23rd.
After their escape,
Oliver had good news: his wife had given birth
to his first son while he was missing. He received the Silver Star for his role in the
February 23, 1942 mission, and later, field commission. Oliver flew about 30 more missions as
a bombardier in the Pacific, including the Battle
of the Coral Sea.
He then returned to the United
States to train new bomber crews, lecturing and
doing war bond sales for the military with his
story of survival while training new bomber crews
in Texas. After the war, he retired from the military.
Later, Oliver re-enlisted opting to stay in the US
Army as a Master Sergeant and served a year and a half in Korea in an engineering unit. In the military,
he worked in the Pentagon finally retiring a Colonel
in December 1969. He lived in retirement in the
San Francisco area.
Oliver passed away August 2009, and was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery on November 10, 2009. Thanks to Karen Braughton (Oliver's daughter) for additional information.