Kettering WWII veteran to receive Congressional Gold Medal

A World War II B-24 bomber gunner and longtime Kettering resident will receive the Congressional Gold Medal for his military service.

Col. Russell “Cliff” Hastler Jr., 93, was a part of the U.S. Army Air Forces. His unit, the 801st/482nd Bombardment Group, were forerunners to the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command.

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Hastler also worked with the Office of Strategic Services, the predecessor organization to the CIA.

Congressman Mike Turner, R-Dayton, will present the award to Hastler next week.

Known as the “Carpetbaggers,” Hastler served as a gunner on the warplane that few on secret night missions from Harrington Field, England, to supply the French resistance and drop parachutists in preparation for D-Day, according to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.

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