93rd Bomb Squadron pays tribute to Medal of Honor winner

  • Published
  • By Capt. Cody Burt
  • 307th Bomb Wing

The 93rd Bomb Squadron and thousands of attendees at the Thunder Over New Hampshire Air Show honored the legacy of  World War II Medal of Honor recipient Capt. Harl Pease, Jr. during a ceremony here Sept. 10, 2023.

On Aug. 7th, 1942, Pease, along with a volunteer crew, took an unserviceable B-17 Flying Fortress to join his fellow 93rd Bomb Squadron members on a mission that he was not scheduled to fly. After engaging and downing several Japanese imperial fighters, Pease and his crew managed to drop their munitions over their target.

On the return flight, Pease’s wounded B-17 fell behind the formation and had to take on several more enemy planes. Pease and his crew never returned to base.

“Capt. Pease’s actions during World War II are emblematic of the fighting spirit still found in the 93rd Bomb Squadron today,” said Lt. Col. Aaron Bohl, 93rd Bomb Squadron commander. “His legacy of valor and courage serves as a constant reminder of our core values and inspires all our efforts to help maintain freedom and peace across the globe.”

To honor that legacy, aircrew from the 93rd Bomb Squadron at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, provided a B-52H Stratofortress as a backdrop for the ceremony. The jet also served as a static display at the air show.  

Muriel Benton, a distant relative of Pease, brought his original Medal of Honor to display during the ceremony. She told the large assembly that Pease’s efforts should serve as encouragement for all currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

“This should be a part of here and now for future generations and for all of you who offer so much your time, effort, affection, and attention to the security of our country,” said Benton.

John Levitow Jr., the son of Medal of Honor recipient John Levitow, spoke about the many characteristics that Pease and his father shared, especially a pervading sense of humility that belied their actions.  

“He didn’t feel like he should be recognized as a hero for a mere 10 minutes of doing what he was trained to do,” John stated about his father. “He felt the only difference between his 10 minutes and the 10 minutes of hundreds of other Airmen is someone documented it.”

Pease Air National Guard Base was initially named Portsmouth Air Force Base when it began in 1956 as an active-duty Air Force base occupied by the Strategic Air Command. It was renamed Pease Air Force base in 1957.