Valor on Big Gas Bird

World War II veteran Alfred Murphy was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross during a ceremony last week in Rochester Hills, Mich., more than 69 years after his final bombing mission in World War II. “The dedication and self-sacrifice of airmen like … Murphy set a standard of excellence for today’s Air Force,” said Col. Philip Sheridan, commander of the Michigan Air National Guard’s 127th Wing, at the April 21 presentation. Murphy, then a technical sergeant, completed 35 missions as a B-17 gunner, mechanic and radio operator with the 91st Bomb Group based at RAF Bassingbourn, England. Even when half his squadron’s B-17s were lost on a mission to Merseberg, Germany, “we never aborted and we never turned back. Not on a single mission,” said Murphy in a release. Murphy’s crew commander vowed to recommend the crew of “Big Gas Bird” for the medal after it survived its tour, but for unknown reasons, that never materialized.