Posted: Dec 29, 2012 9:09 AM by Jen Fenter MTN News
Updated: Dec 29, 2012 9:10 AM
World War II veteran Jack Gamble has finally received the recognition he earned decades ago.
Gamble enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1941 and became a gunner.
During the war, he completed more than 50 aerial combat missions and had several brushes with death.
This week, after his family fought for more than a decade for the recognition that he earned, he was formally presented with the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Gamble recalled, "I look down and see this bomb loose on there turning. And I knew right then we were in big trouble. I opted to call the bombardier who opened the bomb bay, we got over the ocean far enough, and I told them we can open the doors any time. And they opened the doors and it went out. And I was relieved."
His heroic actions earned him the Distinguished Flying Cross, but he says that's not why he did what he did: "Things happen so fast you don't consider all of that. You just do it because you're there and you're in charge and you have to do it. I just did what I was supposed to do."
While Jack may not be in awe of his actions 70 years ago, his family is.
His son Jim took it upon himself to make sure his father got the recognition he deserved and started researching in 1999.
Jim said, "So by 2006, when (former US Senator) Conrad Burns was out of office, I had pretty much given up. I hit dead ends. We couldn't find anything specific."
But with the help of Sheila Rath, a staff member for U.S. Representative Denny Rehberg (R-MT), the search picked back up in 2010, and his father was properly honored in his hospital room on December 19th.
Jack is battling stage 5 kidney failure, and Jim says he's thankful his father got to hold the medal he earned.