Capt. Jervis Van Vleck Heimbach was born in 1921 and graduated from the Gunnery military academy in Washington in 1941. He enlisted in the Army Air Force in July 1942 and received pilot training at Goodfellow Field and Moore Field in Texas. He was then sent to Italy and assigned to the 15th Air Force’s 325th Fighter Group as a fighter pilot of a P-51D named “Little Butch,” and escorted bombers and strafing targets.
On his first mission he shot up a German FW-190 fighter plane. On Oct. 12, 1944, Heimbach was credited with shooting down a German Heinkel HE-111 bomber. He would soon become a flight leader. He was credited with destroying several ground targets such as locomotives and planes. Heimbach would fly 52 missions, and his numerous awards included the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with five oak leaf clusters.
His brother, Sgt. Robert Heimbach, was killed in action on May 25, 1944, and Van would name his son Robert after his fallen brother. After discharge on June 26, 1945, Van returned to Duluth to work at the family business, Heimbach Lumber Co. in Duluth. He would later be involved in the banking business at Northern City National Bank. He and his wife, Janet, live in Canyon. Van Heimbach is a true hero.
Submitted by Alvin D. Grady of Hermantown.
Read the article: Veterans (cont.)