PISTERZI, ENRICO EMILIO "Hank", Technical Sergeant, # 18069493, USAAF
Enrico Emilio Pisterzi was born on 13 July 1915 in Sunnyside, Utah, to Giuseppe “Joseph” Pisterzi (1887-1981) (Anasene, Italy – arrived 1903) and Clementina Pizterzi (1888-1977) (married 14 October 1909, Amasemo, Italy – she arrived U.S. 1914). Siblings included Antonio John Pisterzi (1912-1952) (Italy), Olga Pizterzi (1917-1958), Theresa Eleanor Pisterzi (1920-2008), and Joanna Jane Pisterzi (1928-1982). He attended Regis College, Denver, Colorado. He was married to Barbara (Windholz) Pisterzi (1921-1981) and they had two daughters.
He registered for the WW II draft on 16 October 1940, resided at RFD 2, Arvada, Adams Co., Colorado and described himself as 5’, 125 lbs, with blond hair and blue eyes. He enlisted in the USAAF on 10 January 1942. He was trained as a gunner on the B-29 Superfortress and was sent overseas to India. On 14 December 1944, a B-29 40BW, # 42-24574, assigned to 20th Air Force, 40th Bomb Group, 45th Bomb Squadron, departed the airfield at Chakulia, India, on a bombing mission at 20,000’, over Rangoon railway yards, Burma, and Bangkok, Siam (Thailand). He was the tail gunner. It crashed about 70 to 80 miles west of Rangoon. Its last known location was near 16º 46’ North & 94º 46’ East. According to 1stLt Etherington, the crew was able to bail out, were captured by enemy Burmese and turned over to the Japanese enemy, who imprisoned them in the Rangoon Cantonment (old British Prison). The pilot, co-pilot, navigator, bombardier, engineer, and radio operator bailed out through the nosewheel well. The waist gunners, senior gunner, tail gunner, and radar operator bailed out through the rear door. The co-pilot sprained an ankle upon landing. The rest were uninjured by the jump. Therington, Benedict, Fletcher, Majors, Oglesby, Pisterzi, Basche, and Cochran were marched through the jungle by the enemy for 65 miles when the Japanese abandoned them in a Burmese village about 10 miles NW of Pegu, Burma. By 29 April 1945, they were liberated by the British Army. Shanks, Lentz and Sommers were imprisoned in Rangoon. He was treated and returned to duty after liberation on about 1 May 1945. He was separated from the USAAF on 21 August 1945. He died on 9 January 2000 in Arvada, Colorado.
His brother, Antonio J. Pisterzi, born 6 March 1912, enlisted in Denver, Colorado, on 12 December 1942. He died on 26 March 1952 in Seattle, Washington, and is buried there in the Calvary Cemetery.