Second Lieutenant John R. Pedevillano was a 22-year-old U.S. Army Air Corps bombardier who flew six combat missions before being shot down by Nazi fighter pilots behind enemy lines over Germany on April 24, 1944. He and his crewmates were later held as prisoners in the notorious Nazi prison Stalag Luff 7, where they were eventually liberated by Gen. George Patton’s forces.
The young American bombardier’s recognition has been a long time coming. He‘s now 93. But John McCain, joined by Gen. Larry Spencer, Vice Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force, is honoring him in a ceremony today —- presenting him with the Presidential Unit Citation with one Oak Leaf Cluster.
As the Arizona senator gears up for his sixth six-year senate reelection campaign, retired Army Air Corps 2nd Lt. Pedevillano provides the opportunity to showcase McCain’s own service and imprisonment during the Vietnam war as the unpopular politician faces 2016 challengers.
Honoring the valiant wartime missions and ordeals of Lieutenant Pedevillano is laudable. The timing and political aspects are suspect.