NIDO – Alberto A.

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Brigadier General Alberto A. Nido (1 March 1919 – 27 October 1991) is a former United States Air Force officer who during World War II served in the Royal Canadian Air Force, the British Royal Air Force and in the United States Army Air Forces. He was also the co-founder of the Puerto Rico Air National Guard.[1]

Military Career

After he graduated, he was given a job as an aviation instructor in the institution. An officer of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) who was in Tulsa looking for recruits asked Nido to consider joining them. Nido accepted the offer and on September 1941, he received a telegram from the RCAF office in New York City, requesting his presence at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Nido traveled to New York and on 7 September, was sworn in as a member of the RCAF.[1] After 3 months of intense training in Canada, Nido was commissioned a Flying Officer and sent to an air base in Quebec, where he served as an aviation instructor to bomber pilots and artillery gunners.[1] Nido returned to his homeland, to spend 15 days with his mother and three brothers Rafael, Pedro and Thomas, who were members of the United States Armed Forces. During his stay he met his future wife, Alile Colon, a university student at the “Colegio del Sagrado Corazon”, from the town of Yabucoa.[1]

World War II

Type of P-51 which Nido flew for the USAAF

On 24 December 1942, Nido was sent to London, England, and participated on the European Theater of the war as a bomber pilot. He was transferred to 610 Squadron of the British Royal Air Force and participated in various combat missions as a Supermarine Spitfire pilot. In November 1943, Nido, then a Captain, was among 10 pilots of the 67th Reconnaissance Squadron who were sent to weather school at RAF Zeals under the command of Colonel T. S. Moorman. His unit participated in 275 missions.[2] Later, in 1943, Nido and 59 other American pilots were transferred to the U.S. Army Air Forces. He was assigned to the 67th Fighter Group as a P-51 Mustang fighter pilot. Nido baptized his P-51 with the name of “Alile” in honor of the girl that he left back home.[1]

[Source: Freebase.comWikipedia; Courtesy: Wayne Saunders]

GILORMINI – Mihiel

Brigadier-General Mihiel “Mike” Gilormini (August 3, 1918January 29, 1988) born in Yauco, Puerto Rico, was a United States Air Force officer who served in the Royal Air Force and in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II. He was the recipient of the Silver Star Medal, the Air Medal with four clusters and the Distinguished Flying Cross 5 times. He was also the founder of the Puerto Rico Air National Guard.

Upon the outbreak of World War II, Gilormini offered his services to the Royal Air Force and served with them until November 30, 1942, when he joined the United States Army Air Corps with the rank of second lieutenant. In October 1942, he was assigned to the 346th Fighter Squadron and flew the P-39 interceptor. In March 1943, he was transferred to the 345th Fighter Squadron of the 350th Fighter Group in North Africa and Italy, to replace pilot losses. He stayed with the 345th “Devil Hawks” and flew a P-47 Thunderbolt until February 1945. During the war he was promoted to captain and flew a total of 200 combat missions over England, North Africa, Corsica and Italy. On May 19, 1943, Gilormini was involved in an aircraft accident when his P-39 went down over Maison Blanche, Algiers.[2][3]

In an interview, Colonel Earl Miller, a former buddy and roommate of Gilormini, recalled the following:

“Gilormini was the commander of “A” Flight while I was commander of “C” Flight. We sometimes flew together. In fact, our last combat mission was attacking the airfield at Milano. I led the attack. The flak was real heavy. The 88 shells were bursting all around and also hitting a high bank (we were flying real low) to my right. Mike said, “Dutch, you better bail out, you are on fire!” Followed immediately with, “Don’t bail out, it’s another guy.” Unfortunately, my wingman crashed and was killed.”

[4]

Gilormini and Miller flew their last flight in Italy together giving air cover for General George C. Marshall‘s visit to their group at Pisa. They both returned to the United States on the same ship. Gilormini was awarded a Silver Star Medal and five Distinguished Flying Crosses. The Distinguished Flying Cross is a medal awarded to any officer or enlisted member of the United States armed forces who distinguishes himself or herself in combat in support of operations by “heroism” or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight.

[Source: Nationmaster.com; Courtesy Wayne Saunders]

OQUENDO – William Caesar

LAC (P) William Caesar Oquendo
Serial No. R125792
Born 20 June 1915 at Catano, Puerto Rico
Killed 20 June 1942 while undergoing training at No. 2 SFTS Uplands, Ontario in the crash of a Harvard near Brockville, Ontario.

[Courtesy Wayne Saunders]