I am sorry to hear of the passing of Art Briggs. Alan Dunwiddie, Dick Skyles, Dr. Katz Neeno, Art Briggs, and recently, Lee Rathert are the last of the World War II veterans from First Congregational Church.
I remember several years ago presenting a special acknowledgement of these people in church after the Gazette wrote their stories. Here is what the Gazette said on Art:
Art Briggs was in the Navy from 1943 to 1946, gaining the rank of 3rd class petty officer, assigned to the aircraft carrier Yorktown. His job was a rear seat gunner on a dive bomber to bomb airfields and planes in central Japan. The dive bomber was to attack almost vertically toward them, releasing their bombs and flying away. Art told me that on one of the bomb runs, a return fire came into his plane, but he was not injured. Art’s job was to keep Japanese planes away and to protect his pilot during the dive, not allowing the plane to get below 1,800 feet.
During the surrender ceremonies with the Japanese on the battleship Missouri to end the war, Art was in a group of US planes circling overhead. What a sight that must have been. Art’s last wish in The Gazette article was that we don’t forget the many veterans who are in veterans hospitals and will never leave.