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Remembering John Kushner

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B24 crew of Sgt. Robertson. Standing Bob Fromkin, Don Ostrand, Evert Kron and Tony DeRose. Kneeling: John Kushner, Joe Kling, George Lawson, Charles Gill, Joe Kruger, and Bobbie Robertson. All survived the war but Bobbie.

John Kushner was a dear friend and a parishioner of mine at Holy Spirit Church in Forestville, MD. He was a daily communicant. Crippled, partially blind, he still loved to ride motorcycles. He was also an American hero. He was called to report back for active service when he was sick and in his 80’s. It took some arguing that the powers-that-be had made a mistake. No one had the qualifications he had, but they had neglected to look at his date of birth. Had they allowed him, he would have reported to serve. Whenever Andrews AFB had an air show they would call him because no one else knew how to repair the old planes. John was a Flight Engineer and had served 33 years in both fronts of WWII, Korea and Vietnam. He tells the story of coming back from a mission over Germany and the plane is shot full of holes. He held his best friend in his arms as he bled to death. In Vietnam they tied him to a boom and he would grab the wounded while a helicopter made quick passes through the sharp grass. It cut him like razer blades. He had about every medal you could think of. When I knew him, he was an old man who missed his wife Mary and regularly fed the deer outside the church doors. When consulted about lasers on the new planes he insisted that it was a mistake to place them in the nose. No one listened to him. He was an old man. What did he know? A few weeks later the technicians came back to him and asked, “Okay John, where would you put the lasers?” John shook his head, knowing that the poor pilots would be blinded by the light. He said, “There is only one place you can put the laser, in the belly of the plane!” Guess what, that is where they are… now. John is circled in the picture here with his gang from a B24. Miss you John. Rest in peace.

Birth: Dec. 24, 1922 / Death: Sep. 29, 2011 / Forestville, MD

M.Sgt., U.S. Air Force – John J. Kushner passed away on September 29, 2011. He is survived by his daughter, Teresa Kushner.

Spouse: Mary Sue Kushner (1934 – 2000)

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2 Responses

  1. Wow what an amazing man! I bet he had many many great stories to tell. I’m sure he will be missed. May God bring comfort to his family and friends.

  2. Thank you for this, Father Joe! I don’t pause often enough to reflect on the sacrifices of our service members. May he rest in peace

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