During the month of December, the 28th Enlightenment for Peace Flag at Fort Taber – Fort Rodman Military Museum honors the memory of Albert S. Broadland, formerly of 17 Buttonwood Street, New Bedford, who served his country honorably during the WWII with the 98th Bomb Group of the US Army Air Corps.
Albert was born September 2, 1913 in South Dartmouth, MA. He spent most of his life as a resident of New Bedford. He graduated from New Bedford High School in 1933 and attended New Bedford Textile School. He was employed by Morse Drill and Machine Company before being inducted into the US Army Air Force on February 14, 1941 at the age of 27. He served with the Coastal Artillery at Fort Wright, NY before volunteering for overseas service on the day Pearl The Harbor was attacked.
Broadland was awarded the rank of TSgt. (Technical sergeant) as head of aircraft maintenance and air gunner. He served from March 14, 1941 until May 31, 1945, participating in numerous battles and winning both the Silver Star and the Air Medal for his courageous efforts.
According to an undated Standard-Times article, Broadland narrowly escaped injury while posted to an army transport service as a member of a gun crew. While serving on the military transport, he made three trips to Iceland, one to Scotland and one to Africa and Egypt. On one of these trips, his transport was sunk by an enemy submarine and he narrowly escaped with this life.
Broadland then received its Gunner’s Wing in 1942 and flew its first mission over Munich in June of the same year. He took part in major bombings in all parts of the Balkans, Austria, Germany and northern Italy.
He got the Silver Star for “Gallantry in action as a air gunner on a B-24 Liberator Bomber”. The presentation was made by Brigadier-General Hugo P. Rush, his squadron commander at a heavy bomber base in Italy. The quote reads: “On July 1, 1944, as a B-24 type aircraft-sized machine gunner, Sgt. Broadland participated in a bombing mission against an enemy aircraft factory in Germany. Arriving in the target area, anti-aircraft fire so intense was encountered that fragments struck an ammunition crate in the tail of this aircraft, causing the ammunition to explode. Instantly realizing the grave danger to his plane and crew, Sgt. Broadland, with complete disregard for personal safety, picked up the still exploding ammo box and threw it off the plane. Sgt. Broadland’s swift action unquestionably saved his plane and crew from serious damage and allowed them to continue and drop bombs directly on the target.
According to the quote, Broadland participated in 35 successful missions against the enemy. “Through his exceptional bravery, initiative and dedication, as evidenced by the 35 successful missions against the enemy, Sgt. Broadland brought honor to himself and to the armed forces of the United States of America. “
Throughout his military career, Broadland traveled 200,000 miles of ocean, circling the world twice and landing on every continent. It has crossed the Atlantic Ocean eight times, the Indian Ocean four times and the Pacific Ocean twice. According to an article in the Standard-Times newspaper, “Broadland has crossed the equator 10 times, making him a full member of the Sons of Neptune.”
Marineinsight.com explains that “sailors who have crossed the equator are called Shellbacks or Sons of Neptune”. This unofficial term comes from the belief that “King Neptune would be the ruler of the seas”. Celebrations are often organized to “appease the king by showing him respect, to keep a sailor away from the dangers of the sea and to bring him luck”.
The Army Air Corps Museum provides details of the movements of the 98th Bombardment Group during TSgt. Broadland’s service as follows. The unit was activated on February 3, 1942 and moved to the Mediterranean theater in July 1942. The bombing group entered into combat in August 1942, bombing maritime and port facilities in Libya, Tunisia, Sicily, Italy, in Crete and Greece to cut off the enemy’s supplies. lines to Africa. They also affected airfields and railway installations in Sicily and Italy. The unit received a Distinguished Unit Citation for its actions against the enemy in the Middle East, North Africa and Sicily from August 1942 to August 1943. The unit also received another Distinguished Unit Citation for its participation in a low-level assault on oil refineries in Ploesti, Romania, on August 1, 1943. Subsequently, the group carried out numerous long-distance missions in Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, in Hungary and the Balkans to bomb strategic targets such as industries, airfields, ports and communications
TSgt. Broadland served his country honorably and won the following awards for his service: Good Conduct Medal, Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, Silver Star, Defense Service Medal American, European-African Middle East Campaign Medal, Asian Pacific Theater Ribbon with 4 Service Stars, and American Theater Campaign Ribbon.
Albert S. Broadland passed away at the age of 80 on November 21, 1993. He was the son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Ole S. Broadland and the husband of Helen Broadland of New Bedford, MA.
Linda Ferreira, of Empire Ford of New Bedford, researches the life stories of area residents. American flags are supplied by Empire Ford of New Bedford. The flags are hoisted by the staff of Fort Taber – Fort Rodman Military Museum. Those wishing to honor a local veteran in the future can contact Ferreira at [email protected]