Panama City Beach - Pearl Harbor Day is the day our nation remembers the attacks that prompted the US to join World War II. The events of that day, 70 years ago, inspired World War II veteran Joseph Limberg to become an Air Corps cadet. He flew 55 combat missions in Europe. Limberg, who now lives in Panama City Beach, will formally receive a French combat medal this weekend for his heroics.
Highly decorated World War II veteran Joseph Limberg remembers the events of Pearl Harbor like it was yesterday. "The president got on the radio and gave a very moving speech," said Limberg. He joined the Air Corps cadets and just three months after getting married was deployed to the European theater with the 12th Air Force's 95th bomb squadron.
He flew 55 combat missions in Europe, most of them over Italy. "All through Italy our job was to keep the enemy from getting anything, whether it be reinforcements or armament replacements, anything. That is what we were doing, it made us feel good," said Limberg.
It was while flying over Corsica that his B-26 Marauder was struck by anti-aircraft fire. "It was my 13th mission and we got shot up pretty good but we got back to the field and crash landed. Three of us were really injured and got purple hearts."
On Saturday he'll be formally awarded the French legion of honor medal for his efforts to protect the French. "When we were in Italy for the French army they were in trouble. They had a very large force against them. First we bombed the German force then we had to try to keep them from getting any reinforcements and supplies. We destroyed all the roads and bridges."
Decades later, Limberg says being awarded the medal was unexpected and "It feels wonderful." Limberg will be formally presented with the French legion of honor this saturday at the American Legion post in Lynn Haven at 11:30.