Pastor Ola Campbell was recently recognized by Rapid City Mayor Sam Kooiker as Veteran of the Month. Campbell spoke to the Black Hills Veterans Writing Group on Saturday, March 9, 2014, at the Western Dakota Technical Institute in Rapid City, 9-11 am. Campbell’s citation (and family photo) is on the Rapid City Council’s “Veteran of the Month” (Veteran of the Month) page:
Mr. Ola Campbell enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1942 and attended flight school from March 1943 to January 1944. He was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant, deployed to Europe and flew B-24 heavy bombers for the 15th Army Air Corps, 454th Bombardment Group, 738th Squadron. Lt. Campbell participated in bomb raids over the enemy occupied countries of Romania, Yugoslavia, Hungary and Austria. He and his fellow airmen of the 15th Army Air Corps decimated the Reich’s ability to conduct offensive operations in the southern part of Europe and contributed to the defeat of Nazi Germany.
Lt. Campbell successfully concluded 35 missions over the perilous skies of southern Europe. His unit was responsible for halting Nazi Germany from producing weapons and fuel and de- ploying combat troops. These missions included strikes against Third Reich aircraft and tank factories in southern Europe, the critical Pelosti oilfield and synthetic oil production refineries, as well as German troops staging for combat missions against allied forces. He and his squadron faced great danger and distinguished themselves by displaying tremendous courage and extraordinary capability, bringing great honor upon their unit, themselves and the United States of America.
Lt. Campbell was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), the Purple Heart and the Third Oak Leaf Cluster to the Air Medal. The DFC was awarded to Lt. Campbell for his extraordinary bravery and quick thinking that saved his crew during their 35th and last mission.
Having served his Country with pride, honor and integrity, Lt. Campbell is a true patriot of our Country, the United States Army Air Corps, and his City. He is most deserving of Veteran of the Month. Thank you for your service!
COMMENT RECEIVED 2-28-15:
I'm looking for information on my Great Uncle SSG Joseph S. Sanchez, who flew under Lt. Ola D. Campbell (Ship #44-50362). I'm trying to find out what his planes nickname was, the missions he flew on and if their are any pictures of his fellow crew members or their airplane. My grandmother has some information of the missions that he flew on from his journal. I'm just trying to find out more about his story. If Mr. Campbell has any information, I would love to meet him and hear about their stories.
OLA CAMPBELL, February 23, 2016 (thanks to Bill Casper):After a long, long search, I've located Ola Campbell! He is alive and well, considering he will be 95 in May, and he and his wife Grace are living at the Medalion Nursing Home in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Some time ago a gentleman from Aberdeen named Maxwell Stoltenburg contacted us regarding Ola. It seems Max's great uncle flew on Ola's crew. His name was Joseph S. Sanchez. All Max was ever told was the number of the plane so he was trying to get in touch with Ola to see what he could remember.I tried a bit at the time to find out about Ola and where he was, but ran into a deadend and then forgot about it.Over the past several days I've been up-dating my WWII vets mailing list preparatory to sending out invitations to my next luncheon and ran across Ola and Max's name. Curiousity got the better of me so I started looking again. The last I had heard was that Ola was living in Colo., but I kept being led to Gillette, WY! Then I ran across a newsletter put out by the Western District of the Wesleyan Church that mentioned an Ola Campbell. So I looked it up and found it related to his talk to us back in 2013. Sh-t! However, on the side of the piece was the name of the church's representative who happened to live here in RC so I thought I would give him a call. Luck! His wife gave me Ola's phone number and also the name and address of Ola's daughter. I struck out with the phone number, but when I e-mailed his daughter she gave me all the info I needed! I called Ola and we had a nice visit for about twenty minutes. His mind isn't as sharp as it used to be, but if one is patient things start to tease their way out. He would love to hear from people here so this is the information should anyone want to contact Ola. Ola Campbell: 1719 E. Bijou, Apt. #2, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 80909. Phone: 1-719-444-4918.Should you want to call him the best times to do so are: 9-11 am, 1-4:30 pm, and 6-8 pm. He said he and his wife go to bed at 8.Ola's son is a full time pastor at the home so Ola gets to see him almost every day. Brad, I won't be at the next writer's group meeting in March as it is the time for my annual golf & baseball trip to Phoenix so would you mention this to the group? There may be people there that would like to make contact with Ola.