My father, Niilo Isaacson, is an 89-year-old World War II veteran. He was drafted and left the family farm in Kettle River on May 11, 1943, to join the Air Force.
My dad was an Engineer Gunner on a B-17 bomber assigned to the 398th bomb group. He had several harrowing experiences, the worst one being an emergency landing in the North Sea on Jan. 1, 1945, where three of his crew members were lost. After the bomber sank, the three surviving men were able to get into a raft and, fortunately, the emergency radio was found floating nearby and they were able to send out their position. They were located by three P-47 Thunderbolt planes, which circled above them and indicated to them that they had been seen. Before it turned dark, the survivors saw two British bombers that dropped a lifeboat, which they all made it to. Shortly thereafter, a British rescue launch came along and the men boarded, where they were welcomed with a hearty “Happy New Year’s, Yanks!”
In all, my dad flew 25 missions, the last one being April 21. My dad is definitely one of the Greatest Generation. I am and always have been so proud of him and I not only want to thank him for his service but also for being such a good man and a good father.
Submitted by Fern Isaacson of Kettle River.
Read the article: Veterans (cont.)