92 Year Old WW II Vet Returns to North Field for 70th Anniversary of the Invasion of Saipan and Tinian

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Tinian, CNMI –  A ceremony was held at the historic North Field in Tinian this morning commemorating the 70th anniversary of the invasion of Tinian and Saipan.

 

One of those present was  92 year old Ret. Lt. Col. Raymond Russell Kelly. Lt. Col. Kelly was a radar operator on a B-29. He was a member of the 482nd Squadron, 505th Bomb Group, 313th Bomb Wing stationed at Tinian’s North Field.

Kelly is now a resident of Santa Rosa, California. He was accompanied by 4 of his 5 children.

A poignant moment came when two buglers from the III Marine Expeditionary Force Band, Camp Foster, Okinawa, played Echo Taps. One bugler stood at the side of the historic building, with a second bugler on Runway Able from which the Enola Gay took off to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

A poignant moment came when two buglers from the III Marine Expeditionary Force Band, Camp Foster, Okinawa, played Echo Taps. One bugler stood at the side of the historic building, with a second bugler on Runway Able from which the Enola Gay took off to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

[Posing in front of the former Japanese air Operations Building are: (L-R): Col Philip Zimmerman, USMC, Col. Kim Brooks, USAF (Andersen), Rear Admiral Tilghman Payne, Commander Joint Region Mariana’s, Ret. Lt. Col. Raymond Russell Kelly, LCDR Ted Harre, USCG, Lt. Colonel Gregorio M. Sablan, US ARMY (Saipan native)] [photo courtesy Dianne M. Strong]