Given that this year is the 75th anniversary of the end of WW II, this is a look back at Champaign County involvement. Joseph W. Walter, long-time Urbana funeral director, enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1943 and became a navigator, pilot with multiple ratings, and an officer (Lt. jg). A photo of Walter is shown here. His unit, VPB-119, included the first heavy bombers to return to the Philippines once most of the Japanese had been driven out. The accompanying photo, taken by Walter, shows their PB4Y-2’s in formation March 1, 1945, on approach to Clark Field. Each bomber had a crew of 12. Of the 30 crews, only 15 returned from combat. Lt. jg Walter was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and three air medals now on display in the Champaign County Historical Museum, which submitted these photos and information.
The not-for-profit museum depends upon donations and dues to preserve, protect, archive and display the artifacts that tell the Champaign County story. The free public museum, 809 East Lawn Ave., Urbana, is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.
Looking Back at Champaign County
The Champaign County Historical Society strives to highlight historical people, places and events throughout Champaign County. If you have photos of historical significance that you believe would be of interest to Champaign Countians, please Contact Us.