HomeNewsFeaturesDisplay

Travis celebrates World War II veteran’s 100th birthday

Travis celebrates World War II veteran’s 100th birthday

Dick Marsch, left, a World War II veteran cuts a cake in honor of his 100th birthday during his tour at Travis Air Force Base, California, while his good friends Marietta and Dermot O’Kelly look on, October 29, 2018. Marsch flew the Martin Marauder B-26 from 1942 to 1945 while assigned to North Africa and Sardinia, Italy. (U.S. Air Force photo by Louis Briscese)

Travis celebrates World War II veteran’s 100th birthday

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. John Welch, 9th Air Refueling Squadron commander, presents a scarf to Dick Marsch, a World War II veteran who was celebrating his 100th birthday touring sites at Travis Air Force Base, California, October 29, 2018. Marsch flew the Martin Marauder B-26 from 1942 to 1945 while assigned to North Africa and Sardinia, Italy. (U.S. Air Force photo by Louis Briscese)

Travis celebrates World War II veteran’s 100th birthday

Dick Marsch, a World War II veteran celebrates his 100th birthday touring sites at Travis Air Force Base, California, October 29, 2018. Marsch flew the Martin Marauder B-26 from 1942 to 1945 while assigned to North Africa and Sardinia, Italy. (U.S. Air Force photo by Louis Briscese)

Travis celebrates World War II veteran’s 100th birthday

Dick Marsch, a World War II veteran celebrates his 100th birthday touring sites at Travis Air Force Base, California, October 29, 2018. Marsch flew the Martin Marauder B-26 from 1942 to 1945 while assigned to North Africa and Sardinia, Italy. (U.S. Air Force photo by Louis Briscese)

Travis celebrates World War II veteran’s 100th birthday

An Airman looks at old photographs provided by Dick Marsch, background, a World War II veteran who was celebrating his 100th birthday touring sites at Travis Air Force Base, California, October 29, 2018. Marsch flew the Martin Marauder B-26 from 1942 to 1945 while assigned to North Africa and Sardinia, Italy. (U.S. Air Force photo by Louis Briscese)

Travis celebrates World War II veteran’s 100th birthday

U.S. Air Force Col. Matthew Leard, left, 60th Air Mobility Wing vice commander and Chief Master Sgt. Derek Crowder, 60th Air Mobility Wing command chief look at old documents provided by Dick Marsch, a World War II veteran who was celebrating his 100th birthday touring sites at Travis Air Force Base, California, October 29, 2018. Marsch flew the Martin Marauder B-26 from 1942 to 1945 while assigned to North Africa and Sardinia, Italy. (U.S. Air Force photo by Louis Briscese)

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. — When Richard “Dick” Marsch took to the skies over southern Europe during World War II in the 1940s, the stakes of his missions varied from lethal to humorous.


He retold the stories of some of them, including his 65 combat missions, during an Oct. 29 visit to the 9th Air Refueling Squadron auditorium at Travis Air Force Base, California. The visit coincided with the veteran pilot’s 100th birthday.


The event was not just a chance to celebrate a milestone birthday but for Travis Airmen to connect with Air Force heritage.


"It's important that we honor and celebrate with our veteran family and remember their legacy,” said Maj. Dominik Niziol, C-17 pilot and 60th Air Mobility Wing Commanders Action Group director. 


“We have a proud history dating back before 1947; and as time passes, there are fewer and fewer opportunities for our Airmen to hear from our WWII aviators who set the stage for the Air Force of today."


As for combat missions, Marsch fought in the Battle of Anzio, a six-month siege in 1944 to break a German supply line in Italy. The centenarian said pilots bombed railroads and bridges in an effort to disrupt the supply chain of Axis forces.


“We bombed those bridges repeatedly,” said Marsch. “It turned out to be a success because we did isolate the German forces. They were unable to supply the troops and they finally had to break the line and start moving back up in Italy, which is what (we) wanted to do.”


The successful campaign allowed Army Gen. Mark Clark and the Fifth Army to push forward toward Rome, capturing the city in June 1944.


Marsch flew in the Martin Marauder B-26 from 1942 to 1945 while assigned to North Africa and Sardinia, Italy.


The planes flew in formation, Marsch said, so closely that their wings overlapped. They would take their cue from the bombardier in the lead aircraft, aiming for the far ends of the bridges.


Marsch said this was done without the support of fighter aircraft. He said fighters at the time were unable to carry enough fuel from American-held locations to reach the drop zone and return safely. However, Axis powers typically kept their fighters farther north, meaning the most difficult obstacle for Marsch and the other pilots was anti-aircraft fire.


In addition to combat missions, Marsch flew a variety of other taskings. A December 1943 flight to Algiers, Algeria, picked up mail for troops who may not otherwise have received letters in time for the holidays.


The holiday mail delivery, which occurred shortly after he arrived in Italy, made him the go-to person in his unit for additional duties. Marsch said other missions took him around the Mediterranean Sea, bringing troops to rest camps.


Another flight involved Marsch delivering Italian USO troops to entertain detained Italian forces. He jumped at the opportunity.


Additionally, Marsch taught French and South African pilots how to fly the B-26.


Marsch enlisted March 27, 1942, in the Army Air Corps. He received his wings and his commission Feb. 6, 1943, and began training on the B-26.


The 100-year-old said American forces were training more pilots than they had landing space, so he was among a group that practiced on the Stearman PT-13 in the field of a farmer near Ontario, California.


“When we weren’t flying, we were eating the farmer’s watermelons,” said Marsch.


His combat tour lasted one year, from November 1943 to November 1944. After the war, Marsch joined the reserves and returned to work for AT&T. He married a clerk who worked in his father’s jewelry store and had four sons. His son Jim Marsch, the youngest of four, said he worked for AT&T Company in various capacities, moving to several cities in the western United States before landing in San Francisco, California. He retired from the company in the early 1980s.


In retirement, he moved to Fairfield, California, to be closer to his son and grandchild. In addition to his four sons, he has three grandkids and two great-grandkids. His wife died in 2012.


His son said he was an avid golfer until about 10 years ago, when his back began complicating his game.


Jim Marsch said when he grew up that his father wasn’t forthcoming about his experiences during World War II, learning more once the younger Marsch became an adult.

“He’s not somebody to really bolster or build up himself and those experiences he had,” said Jim Marsch. “He seems to have found the good memories to remember that era by.”

Social Media

Facebook Twitter
#TeamTravis, as we enter wildfire season you may have seen news reports about PG&E Public Safety Shutoffs. Public Safety Shutoffs are preemptive/deliberate power outages during high heat, low humidity and high wind periods where the fire risk due to a downed power line is high. Currently, Travis AFB has been categorized as a Tier 1 fire risk, which is the most unlikely tier to be de-energized due to fire risk and we are currently NOT expecting to be affected by a public safety power shutoff. Should we receive a notification from PG&E of a public safety power shutoff we will provide notifications via AdHoc (PLEASE make sure you've updated your information on the new system) and Balfour Beatty's "One Call Now" service. Informally, we will also post our Facebook and Twitter (@Travis60AMW) feeds. Thank you and #NoBounds!
"It hasn’t always been this easy. I grew up in small-town east Texas and enlisted in the United States Air Force when Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) was alive and well. For many years, I experienced a great deal of societal pressure to quell a fundamental part of myself in order to succeed. As a young Airman, I never felt completely relaxed, almost as if I had to keep looking over my shoulder, and the paranoia of losing my career–my livelihood–prohibited me from fully engaging with my new Air Force family. I don’t need to tell you about how deeply loneliness and feelings of alienation can affect a person. It ultimately led me to self-report suicidal ideations because I couldn’t find a way to reconcile being a service member and being gay. If it wasn’t for the few allies who believed I belonged in the our Air Force, despite my identity, I’m not sure where I’d be. Those leaders carried me through my turbulent, formative years until I was able to finally breathe. Though throughout that time I made my fair share of mistakes, and certainly gave my supervisor some unique challenges, I was gifted with the opportunity to show the Air Force my cards as an 11-month formal investigation into my sexual identity was terminated following the complete repeal of DADT. On September 20, 2011, I skipped throughout my building high-fiving everyone I saw without saying a word as to why. I have been high-fiving as many Airmen I can every September 20th since then. It’s my own special holiday. I had won… but what was I to do with myself now? The universe had given me a chance to become a whole new Airman and I decided that I wasn’t going to waste it. Since then, I’ve strived to be the best Airman I can be. I volunteered to serve as a Military Training Instructor, I’ve helped organize several military Pride month events, and I’ve sincerely tried to live up to our Core Values. The freedom to be who I am has given me the freedom to fly, fight, and win. I will never forget, nor be able to completely thank, all of the people who helped get me here. However, more importantly, I will never stop advocating for the importance of diversity and acceptance in our Air Force because I know what both sides of that spectrum can do to a person. Pride month isn’t about celebrating individual preferences. It’s about celebrating inclusiveness and how when we practice it, it makes us all better versions of ourselves. We are a mightier Air Force when we show our Pride." —Tech. Sgt. Shannon Ouimet-Amaro, 60th Air Mobility Wing executive assistant to the command chief #HumansOfTravis #LoveIsLove #Pride2019 #🏳️‍🌈
Travis leadership: Happy #NationalDoughnutDay, #TeamTravis! Can't wait to finally have that Dunkin' on base, huh? The rest of base:
Martinez-native Jake Larson was only 21 when he stormed Omaha Beach on #DDay. Back then, his unit had a motto: “To the last man.” Now, 75 years later, Jake is the last man—the last surviving member of that unit, and if becoming so has passed to him a single nugget of wisdom, it’s this: “Freedom isn’t free.” Read more about Jake’s revisiting of Omaha Beach in the article below.
The events of #DDay were a testament to the strength and resolve of this nation. For those who survived the invasion, Omaha Beach represents both a reminder of those they’ve lost and a promise to preserve their memory. With the help of virtual reality, join them as they recount the events of that fateful day. #BecauseOfThem
75 years ago, the U.S. military, along with other Allied nations, enacted one of the most ambitious amphibian assaults in history. Today, we celebrate the courage and sacrifice of the service members who invaded Normandy on #DDay, and whose actions still stand as one of the most impressive rebukes of evil in human memory. #BecauseOfThem
Sometimes the best part of the #TravisLife is what's (literally) beneath our feet! #NorthernCalifornia has a brilliant assortment of wildlife and flora—even right in your front yard. What makes the #TravisLife sweet for you? Show us in the comments!
A lot of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) readiness exercises start with a single "what if" question. In the case of #NorthernEdge, that question was "What if the Indo-Pacific were to suffer a crisis?" The answer involves about 10 million pounds of fuel 😳 Read more about it below!
Rapid global mobility wouldn't happen without these beautiful #TTails or the maintainers and crew that keep them in the air. Happy #TTailTuesday, Team Travis. #NoBounds #ProudToBeAMC #TeamTravis #FindAWayOrMakeOne #MilitaryLife #AirForce #Maintainer
A lot of things can fit into a C-5M Super Galaxy! That's why when Los Angeles Air Force Base, Home of Space and Missile Systems Center asked us if we could load the latest Advanced Extremely High Frequency - 5 satellite, we gladly obliged and shot this cool timelapse. #NoBounds For more info on the AEHF system, visit: https://www.afspc.af.mil/About-Us/Fact-Sheets/Display/Article/249024/advanced-extremely-high-frequency-system/ NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Happy Birthday to the man, the myth, the legend... Clint Eastwood turns 89 today! He served in the U.S. Army and at 21 years old he had a brush with death when the plane he was on went down off the California coast near Point Reyes National Seashore. Eastwood and the Captain made it the two to three miles to shore after the U.S. Navy AD-1 Skyraider crashed into the ocean.
#CaptionThis! From Military Fresh Network
#tbt to May 2014 when Travis got its first introduction to FRED. #DidYouKnow the cargo compartment of the C-5M is big enough to fit an eight-lane bowling alley? #TheMoreYouKnow #BougieButNotThatBougie #NoBounds
🎶 We just took a DNA test turns out we're 100%... America's finest mobility force 🎶 We can't carry as good a tune as Lizzo, but we can for sure carry whatever payload is needed at a moment's notice. #GoodAsHell #NoBounds
“Hopping.” It’s what bunnies do. Or, if you’re an enterprising DoD card-holder with aspirations of travel, it can be your way of checking out some of the world’s best vacation hotspots...for FREE! Check out the video below for some “hopping” pointers.
Exciting new changes are taking place within Phoenix Horizon, AMC's company grade officer leadership and force development program. Click on the link below to find out more. https://www.amc.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/1855452/amc-expands-junior-officer-force-development-program/fbclid/IwAR3L-VFvea218JaNQRsvwyQ3SwabuUesjhCoDRLNgDoiqwqXgKAvqW7N3Ww/
"Hate to see you go, but love to watch you leave." Today's #TTailTuesday is brought to you by these couple of outbound beauties. Show us your favorite T-tail photo in the comments! #NoBounds #ProudToBeAMC #LookingGood
Are you doing the #MurphChallenge today? Named for Lt. Michael Murphy who gave his life in the performance of his duties in Afghanistan, the “Murph” stands as the definitive physical tribute to those who’ve fought and died for our freedom here and overseas. If you are, comment the name of who you’re remembering this Memorial Day. #RememberTheFallen
As Memorial Day weekend begins, enjoy the cookouts, relaxation and hanging with family and friends, but be sure to take time to remember the heroes who paid the ultimate sacrifice to make the moments we enjoy this weekend possible. #WeRemember #NeverForget
When we’re foot-stomping the same stuff we were foot-stomping seven years ago, you know it’s real. Today’s #fbf reminds you to hydrate, especially during these critical days of Summer. Check out the article for more tips on staying cool ahead of this season’s rising temperatures. #HydrateOrDie #TeamTravis
RT @AirMobilityCmd: Any rated Air Force veterans out there missing active duty? Learn more about the Voluntary Retired Return to Active Du…
RT @TRICARE: Do you get care at @Travis60AMW, @lemoore_nas, or @POMgarrison? The @DeptofDefense's new #MHSGENESIS patient portal goes live…
RT @AirmanMagazine: Your @usairforce news: ✓ Staff sergeant promotion results are released ✓ The 419th Civil Engineering Squadron helps r…
@PopMech Thanks for sharing our work about base #innovation. Might be of interest to know that they are not 3D prin… https://t.co/IK1IXWC1Ar
Do you have high blood pressure? A weak heart? According to the @American_Heart , you may want to think of somethin… https://t.co/EfnXPE3az2
Forget 2020, #TeamTravis' 60th Maintenance Squadron is living in 3020. Using a new industrial-grade 3-D printer, th… https://t.co/RfYea3jKoB
RT @USAFHealth: Airmen with the 375th AES were headed to Travis AFB for a training mission, when a passenger on-board their commercial flig…
RT @USAFRecruiting: The mission of the @usairforce to fly, fight and win in air, space and cyberspace has stood strong for over 70 years. T…
RT @AFSpace: Thanks in part to mobility Airmen from Travis AFB, the #AEHF5 communications satellite was launched into #space. Before the AE…
RT @damgoodtimes: Joint-nation alliance meets, trains at Travis AFB https://t.co/hiUoqU4XyY https://t.co/aXeRh7BaJt
Who said our aircraft can't pack a punch? Our KC-10 aircrew help make the pararescue mission possible. Check it out… https://t.co/M0tgADBAce
RT @AirMobilityCmd: Today is #NationalAirborneDay! Mobility Air Force is proud to deliver the most lethal assets to the fight ... #Airborne
RT @NBCS49ers: “It’s because of what you do, that I’m allowed to do the thing that I love to do, play football.” George Kittle and the 49e…
RT @jenniferleechan: #49ers @jstaley74 @mmcglinch68 @gkittle46 all spent time greeting the 50 service men and women from Travis Air Force B…
RT @jenniferleechan: After practice #49ers TE @gkittle46 spoke to the 50 service men and women from #TravisAirForceBase who watched practic…
When @AirMobilityCmd says anytime, anywhere... we mean it! https://t.co/LsmobXwiQW
.@GenDaveGoldfein visited #TeamTravis Aug. 13 on his way to @JointBasePHH. The #CSAF will be traveling through the… https://t.co/tZcTob1CG8