Thursday, May 11, 2006

Arthur Barton, Decorated WWII Hero – R.I.P.

Lt. Arthur Barton (Ret.), a decorated WWII veteran passed last Sunday in Glenview, IL. Art grew up in Chicago as a first generation German/American in the old German area on the city’s North Side. During the late ‘30s Art was recruited by the German American Bund to travel to the fatherland and fight for the German people. The world was lucky that Art resisted those folks. Art eventually entered the Army Air Corps and became a bombardier stationed in England. As a bombardier he had a cat’s luck; he was the only man out of his first crew to live through the war. He flew in numerous planes that barely limped back to England and he carried shrapnel from the Ruhr Valley in his back through most of his life. He ended up flying nearly three times the normal allotment of 25 missions.

As Art went from plane to plane during the war he amassed so many missions that the Air Corps wanted him out of the theater and back in America selling War Bonds as a bona fide war hero. They were also worried that after so many missions he was starting to enjoy them. When Art was getting the necessary paper work done in order to return to the States, he was pulled out of line. The officers who pulled him out of line asked him if he would like to train for a secret bombing mission in the Pacific theater. Art replied that he had already cabled his mother to tell her of his imminent return and that he couldn’t disappoint her. Art likely would've trained for a mission to carry a nuclear weapon but he wouldn't disappoint his mother.

Art came home, went on that War Bonds tour and then used the GI Bill to attend Northwestern University’s Law School. Art was a successful lawyer here in Chicago for many years and he raised his family in Kenilworth, IL. He was a Republican but he was always quick to defend the rare North Shore Democrat like my father. Cruelly Art had Alzheimer’s during the final years of his life, but he’s gone to see those buddies of his youth; they’ve been waiting for him.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bravo! Godspeed to a True American. And thanks to you, Mr. Debris, in putting his story on the 'net. In ancient Egypt, Pharoh's heros went to their rest among the Immortals of Heaven. May Art Barton's name ring throughout the ages, and may we never forget his bravery and humility in our lifetimes.


3:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Art's daughter here, with many thanks to a dear friend for posting such a lovely tribute to my outstanding father. He loved you and your dad immensely and would be proud of the wonderful writer that you have become.

All my love & friendship,


9:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Just an FYI---dad went out on leave and lost his entire squadron (the 8th), sadly, not just his crew but the whole squadron and it stayed with him his entire life losing his remarkable comrades in arms.



9:40 PM  

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