Maj. William R. Fredenberg of the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin walked on July 21. He was a retired United States Air Force veteran and a distinguished member of the tribe.
“On behalf of the Menominee Indian Tribe, I extend to Major Fredenberg’s wife Elizabeth and to his children our heartfelt sympathy. We also express our deepest appreciation for his extraordinary service to our country. His continuous acts of bravery in the face of adversity will forever remain symbolic of a Menominee warrior,” Craig Corn, tribal chairman, said upon learning of his death according to a Menominee press release.
Fredenberg, who enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1942, went to Europe where he was assigned to a fighter-bomber squadron, flying bombing missions following his graduation from flight training. He was shot down over France and taken prisoner during his 27th mission on June 17, 1944. He led a successful escape of 13 prisoners, joining the Free French in sabotaging and attacking the enemy.
Fredenberg returned to Europe in October 1944 and was discharged in 1945 after receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters.
But for Fredenberg, his service time wasn’t over. In 1950 he re-entered the Air Force and was sent to Japan. After three years, he returned to the United States and became an instructor pilot only to head back into combat during the Vietnam War.
According to the press release, “[o]n August 2 and 3, 1966, he distinguished himself by extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as an AC-47 Gunship pilot near Pleiku Air Base [, Vietnam]. For his courage, skill and resolute determination, he received his second Distinguished Flying Cross. He retired from active duty in 1969 having been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters and the Air Medal with 15 oak leaf clusters.”
A memorial services was held for Fredenberg on August 18th.