After enlisting in the Army Air Force in December 1942, Mr. Swetinski trained as a radio operator. He was deployed to the SWPA in April 1944 and assigned to the military base in Milne Bay, New Guinea.
Shortly thereafter, he was assigned to the famed “Satan Angels” 475th Fighter Group, servicing P-38 Lightnings of the 433rd Fighter Squadron. From 1944 – 1945, Mr. Swertinski participated in a number of significant campaigns as the 5th Air Force swept across the Southern Pacific Theater, capturing the Bismarck, Archipelago, Luzon, the North Solomons and Ryukus Islands.
Among the memories indelibly etched in his memory is the liberation of the Philippines and his presence on the beach as General Douglas MacArthur staged his triumphant return. When hostilities were officially concluded, Swertinski was aboard an LST heading for the final invasion of Japan that never occurred.