My uncle Tom Witt was in Washington, D.C. for work and wanted to make a point to visit Arlington National Cemetery. As I had not been there in some time, I felt it would make a great time to catch up with him and visit America’s most hallowed ground.
Arlington National Cemetery sits on 624 acres and is the final resting place of 400,000 war casualties and veterans. Included in the latter group is my great uncle, Francis Witt Jr. Francis was an Air Force officer who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. I’ve previously written about his evasion and escape after being shot down in 1944 here.
My uncle, and later joined by my wife, son and mother-in-law, spent three hours walking around the cemetery, pausing at interesting or well-known individuals and honoring the unknown Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen with a stop at the Tomb of the Unknown.
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Patrick, Rebecca, Joseph and Caroline Lowry, Barbara Witt and Christopher Witt, photograph, taken on Ohio Avenue in Youngstown, Ohio. digital image, photocopy of original, scanned in 2014 by Joseph Lowry; privately held by Joseph Lowry, [address for private use], Sterling, VA. Six individuals standing in front of door. Provenance is Mary Catherine Sanders to Joseph Lowry.
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Seated L-R: Joseph C. Roolf, with son Norman Roolf, Mary K. Ostien, Martin Witt, Elizabeth Witt, Lenora C. Witt holding Dorothy (baby).
Standing Back Row L-R: John A. Roolf, Margaret M. Ostien Roolf, Johanna Thaner Witt and John A. Witt.
|Photo provided by Marie Witt Dockry.|
This mission was part of the ‘Big Week’ or Operation Argument, a sustained bombing campaign against German aircraft factories in an attempt to lure the Luftwaffe into the sky, destroy them and achieve air superiority. The ‘Rum Pot II’ was one of 336 B-17s launched against German various airfields and railroad yards for this mission. (See here for additional information on the Big Week and mission 228.)
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Back L-R: George Marquardt (B), Clarence Stearns (P), Francis Witt (OBS/TG), Keith Garrison (N)
Aircraft: B-17G 547th BS 42-31433 SO*V Rum Pot II
“B-17G Rum Pot II, Stearns crew.” 384th Heavy Bombardment Group. Web. 4 Jan 2014. <http://gallery2.384thbombgroup.com/v/384thWWII/384th-Bomb-Group-Crew-Photos/Stearns_Crew/Stearns_crew_c.jpg.html>
|Family photo. Click to enlarge.|