SOMERVILLE, NJ - Aviator and World War II hero Robert Vaucher, who celebrated his 100th birthday last December, will speak about his memories of Somerville at St. John's Episcopal Church on Veterans' Day, Monday, Nov. 11th.
The 7 p.m. gathering is sponsored by the Somerville History Roundtable. The church is located at 158 W. High St.
Vaucher received a proclamation from Mayor Dennis Sullivan at a Borough Council meeting on his 100th birthday Dec. 3rd last year that recognized his patriotism, heroism and civic accomplishments during his distinguished career.
Lt. Col. Vaucher was the lead pilot in a 525-plane formation that flew over the deck of the battleship USS Missouri that was anchored in Tokyo Bay as Gen. Douglas MacArthur signed the peace treaty with the Japanese, ending World War II in 1945.
A former resident of Somerville, he now lives in Bridgewater.
Born Dec. 3, 1918, he was commissioned as an officer with a pilot rating on April 25, 1941 and flew his first combat mission on Dec. 16, 1941, fom Westover Field, MA, in a B-18 searching for German ships and submarines off the east coast, nine days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
During 46 months of active Army Air Corp service, Lt Col Vaucher flew nearly 40 different aircraft types for a total of 117 combat patrol, bombing, mining, and photography missions in Panama, Guatemala, Ecuador, Peru, Galapagos, India, China, and Tinian.
His military awards include two Distinguished Flying Crosses, five Air Medals, eight Battle Stars and thirteen War Time Commendations and Citations.
Vaucher was discharged from active duty in June 1946 and remained in the reserves until 1962.
His lifetime passion for aviation included owning a general aviation aircraft, maintaining a pilot’s license for 62 years, and serving as a member of the N.J. Dept. of Transportation Aviation Advisory Board. He was an innovative leader for 42 years in the metal working industry and has continuously served as a civic leader for 70 years in state, county, and municipal affairs.
He was married 53 years to Eleanor Hooey; the couple raised three children.
In 2013, Vaucher was inducted into the New Jersey Aviation Hall of Fame. The following year he was formally accepted as an eligible nominee for enshrinement into the National Aviation Hall of Fame.