Edwin S. Green
Colonel, U.S. Army Air Forces
Service # 0-022330
Headquarters, XIII Bomber Command
Entered the Service from: California
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery
Awards: Distinguished Flying Cross with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Heart
Memories and a place at Arlington
By Terri Miles, Editor November 7, 2007
WOODBRIDGE, CONNECTICUT – Patricia Anne Green never really knew her father, Edwin Smith Green. He was a career airman in the Army Air Corps and went down with his plane during a secret mission in the Philippines on Feb. 18, 1944. He was 28.
Now, 63 years later, Patricia Green is known as Pat Crisco, Woodbridge tax collector and wife of state Senator Joseph Crisco.
During an interview in 2002, Green said she still did not know the circumstances behind her father's death, and the family didn't really have anywhere to go where they could mourn him or lay flowers on Veterans Day or Memorial Day.
Though records of her father's military career were destroyed in a fire and several medals he earned had been lost, networking and persistence have paid off for the airman's daughter.
Thanks to her husband's connections with other government officials, Crisco can now visit her father's marker at Arlington National Cemetery. Moreover, her father's set of war medals is now complete and ready to be passed to future generations.
Uncovering the truth
Crisco said when she and her brother were young, her mother, Martha Anne, always told them Daddy would be coming home, hanging on to the hope that her husband, whose body was never recovered, was somehow still alive.
The mother's hopes died when she received official notice in 1949 that Edwin Green had been declared dead and there was no chance of recovering his body. Pat was 8 years old at the time.
Devastated, Martha Anne hardly ever talked about Edwin after that. She raised her children surrounded by their extended family, so Pat and her brother never felt the full hardship of growing up in a single-parent household.
When Pat was 15, her mother remarried and the family moved from California to Newington, Connecticut. Pat's stepfather became her dad, but her father's memory lived on.
Much has changed in the past few years for Pat and her brother, Edwin Green Jr. Thanks to modern technology and a website for children of missing or deceased soldiers – American World War II Orphans Network (AWON) – they have connected with some of their father's former army buddies and learned a little more about him.
Crisco and her extended family all have some of Edwin Green's belongings, including photographs and letters.
The family's collection also contains fragile telegrams, yellowed with age, telling of her father's passing or relaying condolences from friends and loved ones. There also are handwritten notes from relatives giving Martha advice on how to deal with the loss of her husband.
Pat has a couple of envelopes dated February 1944 that remain unopened. They are letters her mother wrote to her father that were returned as undeliverable. She also has not read any of the letters her father sent home, seeing that as an invasion of privacy. But she shared some things with the Observer.
Edwin would write his letters to “Darling” and mention his little girl, “Pat.” He recalled romantic evenings with his beloved wife before he shipped out and said how he longed to be in her arms again.
Personal letters from other soldiers after Green's death also project the fondness and respect he earned from them during the war. Lieutenant John Seymour of Glendale, California, for example, wrote the following just one month after Green's death:
“On the day that he went down I was with him. I was flying the other airplane on this particular flight and was in formation on his right wing, and was able to observe just what happened.
“In addition to this I circled over the water for almost two hors and fifteen minutes, and radioed to the nearest base for rescue, and waited until it arrived, followed the rescue ship in to its base and talked to and questioned the two enlisted members of his crew.”
On March 14, 1944, an airman named Glen R. Buchard sent a letter to Edwin's wife.
In it he wrote: “…He was testing some new equipment on a B-25. A new type of gun. You know how any new type of gun would intrigue him. He had almost completed his tests and was running this one in actual combat against the enemy.
“Whether he was shot down or part of the equipment blew up is not determined,” Buchard wrote. “He was seen to suddenly go into the water. Two men were rescued but these men were in the back of the plane and could throw no light on the actual cause.
“I know there were circumstances beyond his control that caused the crash, for he was a fine pilot.”
A decorated soldier
Pat has copies of certificates listing the medals her father earned while in the service. On Sept. 20, 1943, he received the American Defense Service Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Theatre Medal and Bronze Star for the Philippine Campaign.
On the notice, he jotted a note to his wife: “They aren't much, but you can save this for your scrapbook.”
On July 10, 1944, Martha Green learned that her husband had received the Distinguished Flying Cross with an Oak Leaf Cluster and an Air Medal.
The Air Medal was awarded for meritorious achievement while participating in an aerial flight on December 23, 1942.
He was awarded Oak Leaf Clusters to the Air Medal for his actions during an aerial flight on January 25, 1943 and other flights on combat operations.
One government letter stated, “He having participated in five heavy bomber strike sorties during the period of 12 March to 1 July 1943. All of these flights were of a hazardous nature during which there was traversed an area where enemy anti-aircraft fire was effective, or where enemy airplane or exposure to enemy fire were habitually expected in numerous instances encountered.”
Another posthumous award was an Oak Leaf Cluster to the Distinguished Flying Cross, which he earned as first lieutenant participating in a flight on January 15, 1942.
He also received the Purple Heart and was promoted posthumously to the rank of full Colonel.
In the past five years, Pat learned that her father is memorialized at the Manila American Cemetery in the Philippines.
She said she knows his plane crashed into the water five miles west of Cape Hanpan off the British Solomon Islands.
For Veteran's Day, Crisco honors the memory of the father she never knew. “He is my true hero,” she said.
GREEN, EDWIN S
- COL US ARMY
- WORLD WAR II
- DATE OF BIRTH: 12/03/1914
- DATE OF DEATH: 02/18/1944
- BURIED AT: SECTION MF SITE 41-4
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard