Friday, November 11, 2016

Remembering my Uncle Lloyd. WW II Hero

On Veterans Day, I remember my Uncle Lloyd Karch of  California. My uncle Lloyd was a torpedo pilot in the second world war.  The truth of the matter is that Uncle Lloyd didn't talk much about his service when I saw him at family get togethers.  I knew that he had been a pilot.  I knew that danger was involved, but over the years, he pretty much kept the details to himself, for reasons I think that many Vets will understand.   It is only in recent years, when he opened up to interviewers of the Veterns History Project, that the full depth of is heroism became apparent to me.  The Veterans History project of the American Folklife Center collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war.   I would urge you to visit the History Project by clicking on the link.  There, you will find countless personal stories that tell the story of the the sacrifice of Veterans .
Uncle Lloyd served in the Navy in the VT-18 Torpedo Squadron, flying off of the USS Intrepid in the 3d fleet.  He is one of the Vets who took part in the Veterans History project and you can find out a whole lot about the dangerous missions that these courages pilots flew in his entry in that project.
 (Click Link here).   My uncle Lloyd was awarded the Navy Cross for valor in the battle of Lleyte Gulf. 
The citation reads:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Lieutenant [then Lieutenant, Junior Grade] Lloyd Elwood Karch, United States Naval (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Torpedo Plane in Torpedo Squadron EIGHTEEN (VT-18), attached to the U.S.S. INTREPID (CV-11), in action against enemy Japanese forces during the Battle for Leyte Gulf, on 24 October 1944. Boldly flying through intense anti-aircraft fire to press home an attack against an enemy Battleship Task Force to within approximately 1,000 yards, Lieutenant Karch succeeded in scoring a direct and damaging hit on the stern of a hostile vessel and, although his plane was damaged, made a safe return to base. His outstanding airmanship, courage and devotion to duty were contributing factors in the infliction of costly damage upon the enemy and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Torpedo missions, and my uncle flew many, took great courage, because the pilot had to deliver his torpedoes through airspace that was exposed to significant hostile fire, often at low elevations.   I remember my Uncle Lloyd, who passe from us last year, this Memorial Day as one of the many Vets who risked everything for their Country. 

I also take this opportunity to remember the contribution of my father Richard Von Korff, biochemist.   A soldier he was not.  As a young man, he joined the efforts of the Northern Regional Laboratory in Peoria Illinois, where he worked on the project to synthesize penicillin.  There, he lent his work ethic and talent for science to that project and was recognized in several of the patents leading to the ultimate result.  The results of fermentation research on corn steep liquor at the Northern Regional Research Laboratory at Peoria, Illinois, allowed the United States to produce 2.3 million doses in time for the invasion of Normandy in the spring of 1944 and saved many lives of soldiers who would otherwise have died from battlefield wounds and infections.