WWII veteran from Fox River Grove visits France for D-Day 80th anniversary

Edward ‘Bud’ Berthold was a Air Force bomber co-pilot who flew over France the day of the invasion

Bowler Ed Berthold, 103, shares a laugh with friend Bridget McGuiness, 93, during his weekly bowling league game Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022, at Bowlero in Deer Park.

The D-Day operation is remembered as a pivotal point in World War II to clench the Allied Forces’ victory by using land, air and sea to invade Normandy, France. Now 80 years, later at the age of 104, Air Force veteran and Fox River Grove resident Edward “Bud” Berthold returns to the same French beaches to commemorate that historic day.

Berthold is joined by 52 other veterans across America to revisit the D-Day battlefield, an effort put on by the nonprofit organization Best Defense Foundation with Delta Air Lines. During the two-week trip, the veterans will participate in a ceremony, autograph signing, parade and a school visit. This is the third year Delta Air Lines has flown World War II veterans back to Normandy.

“The 80th Anniversary of the D-Day Landings in Normandy will be a very special opportunity to honor WWII Veterans through various events, and also to pass the torch of remembrance to the next generation,” President of the Normandy Region Hervé Morin said in a Delta Air Lines news release. “We will also pay a special tribute to the memory of all those who fought to restore peace in Europe. They sacrificed their youth and endured immense suffering, and Normandy wishes to express its deep and eternal gratitude.”

Berthold went into active duty service in 1943 and trained as a B-24 bomber co-pilot, according to the Best Defense Foundation. His third mission was on D-Day where he co-piloted a mission to bomb the town bridge of St. Lo in France.

“As time passes quickly for our WWII generation, it is our duty and honor to provide this opportunity of closure and camaraderie for those who gave so much,” President and Co-Founder of Best Defense Foundation Donnie Edwards said in the release.

While serving in the Army Air Corps during the war, Berthold found bowling as a hobby. An engine fire on his B-24 bomber forced his flight crew to wait 30 days in Iceland for replacement parts. He and fellow crew members passed the time by ice fishing and bowling on ice. Ever since he’s been bowling regularly at Bowlero in Deer Park.

Other Chicago-area WWII veterans on the trip are Dick Rung, 99, of Carol Stream, and Jack Kinyon, 101, of Bartlett.

The Veterans Assistance Commission of McHenry County commemorates D-Day by reminding veterans and their families of the resources provided by the organization. Financial assistance, help with disability and pension benefits, caregiver and wellness programs are some of the ways the commission supports local veterans.

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