February 3, 2012
EAST PROVIDENCE — Riverside’s Roland E. Stumpff flew for more than 68 years. He was a World War II B-24 bomber pilot who participated in the dangerous raids on the Ploesti oil fields. On his 13th Ploesti mission, his aircraft was hit by flak over the target and lost two engines. With a wounded co-pilot he nursed his B-24 to a dead-stick landing. He and his crew were captured and held in a Bulgarian POW camp.
“When Bulgaria dropped out of the war in late 1944, he and more than 200 allied POWs eventually made their way to Istanbul and safety. In a little-known footnote to history, he and a handful of others volunteered to go back into Bulgaria with the OSS to identify and round up those guards who has mistreated prisoners. Through his team’s actions, some 135 were brought justice,” according to the Rhode Island Aviation Hall of Fame.
After the war, Mr. Stumpff continued to fly with several Air National Guard units, including a stint flying F80 flyer jets with the New York Air Guard. After working for Trans-Ethiopan Airlines, Mr. Stumpff settled into a career as a mechanical engineer. Mr. Stumpff also took part in glider flying and soaring before “folding his wings” in 2010.
Other inductees include Tiverton native LTC James W. Lent Jr. USMC (Ret.), Parker S. Dupouy, of Providence, 23-year Navy veteran Capt. James R. Anderson, Paso Pat” Melone, of Cranston and Robert T. Murphy, of Providence.
In addition to inducting these new members, the RIAHOF will present two Special Recognition Awards. Among the recipients is Major General Kevin R. McBride (CNW 2000), an East Providence native. He is now the Adjutant general and the Commanding General of the Rhode Island National Guard.
“Also an Army aviator, he has commanded an Attack Helicopter Battalion, a Light Utility Helicopter Battalion and the 56th Troop Command (Airborne). General McBride served as the Commander of the 43rd Military Police Brigade from February 2003 to January 2009.”
“In 2005, he took over the responsibility of clean up the notorious Abu Gharib, along with two other prisons in Iraq. An East Providence native, he graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 1980 with a degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering. He also received an ROTC commission.”
Gen. McBride has earned a masters in National Security and Strategic Studies from the US Naval War College. He earned his aviator wings in 1982 at Fort Rucker. He has accumulated more than 1,700 flight hours.
The other special recognition award recipient is Master Army Aviator Thomas P. Shortall.
The ceremony, which will be held at the Varnum Armory in East Greenwich on Saturday, Feb. 4, will also present Newport-born Michael Gold with The President’s Award.