Newspaper article provided by the 450th Association Archives
Before he enlisted in the Army Air Corps in the fall of 1942, the farthest 20-year-old James Keleshian had traveled from home was the Jersey Shore.
By the time he was honorably discharged in the fall of 1945, the West Philadelphia native had criss-crossed the United States, pit stopped in Brazil, strolled the streets of Casablanca and taken in the sights of Italy, Germany, France, Austria, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Yugoslavia through the bomb bay doors of his B-24 Liberator.
I had never been away from home before, said Keleshian, an aerial engineer and waist gunner who flew 50 combat missions during World War II. I liked it. I got to travel the world and see places I never would have seen. It was great as long as they weren't shooting at you.
For his service, Keleshian, who has lived in the 200 block of Warren Boulevard in Broomall for more than 55 years, received the European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with four bronze stars, Good Conduct Medal, Air Medal with two bronze and one silver cluster, and two Presidential Unit Citations.
The 89-year-old's most recent commendation came last month at the French Embassy in Washington, D.C., where he and 23 other American World War II veterans who fought in France were presented with the Legion of Honor Medal.