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1st. Lt. Robert P. Coseo,
322nd BG, 451st BS

December 7, 1941, a day that will live in infamy, resonated with Bob Coseo.  He enlisted in the Army Air Force on 3/17/42. Preliminary flight training occurred at Parks Air College in East St. Louis and advanced training at Pampa Army Flying School. In July 1943 Bob began his trip overseas and like most servicemen started a "Short Snorter".  For aircrew men, a short snorter was a chain of paper currency, taped together end to end, from various countries they visited. Longer short snorters meant free drinks at the bar.  Since the person with the shortest one had to buy a round.  Along the way people signed the short snorter with the comment. "When you get safely home, have a snort on me." Bob's 'snorter" chronicled his trip overseas and included a dollar bill and currency from the Landsbanki Islands, off Iceland, and Ireland, the two legs of the flight from the U.S. to England.  Another piece of currency significant to Bob was a silver dollar given to him by a relative before he went overseas as a token of good luck.  The well rubbed silver dollar accompanied Bob throughout his life.  It seemed only fitting that he carry the good luck token into the nest life.

Bob piloted the B-26 Martin Marauder. The Martin Aircraft Company built a total of 5157 of these medium range bombers, primarily used in the European Theater.  The plane had a crew of six: pilot, co-pilot, bombardier, radio operator and two machine gunners. The Marauder had a high landing speed of 130 mph requiring a significant level of training from its crew. Once mastered, the Marauder was a highly effective aircraft with a very low operational loss rate.

Bob was a member of the 9th Air Force, 322nd Bomb Group, 451st Bomb Squadron. During Bob's service, the Squadron was based in Great Sating. England and later moved to Beauvais/Title, Fr, A-61. The 451st supplied air support for ground troops in northern France, Belgium. and Germany.  Bob flew 100+ missions and logged over 723 hours of flight time. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with 13 Oak Leaf Clusters.  Bobs DFC award reads in part: The courage displayed by Lt. Coseo is typical of the highest traditions of the Army Air Corps."

The 451st sponsored annual Christmas parties for war orphans in England and France. One has to assume Bob was instrumental in their organization. The 451st was disbanded shortly before V-E Day. Bob was shipped stateside to Louisiana and later Florida where he served as a flight instructor and test pilot. He was honorably discharged in October 1945.

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