39th Bomb Group (VH)

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S/Sgt Bernard S. Kaplin
Tail Gunner

Bernard, known by his family and friends as Ben was born December 25, 1923 to Katherine Kaplon (Materna) and Walter Kaplon in Kittanning, PA.

Ben was very athletic and played center on his high school football team at Shannock Valley where he graduated high school. His primary schooling was at Holy Family in Emsworth, PA where he attended with his brother Eddie and sister Josephine.

Ben enlisted in the U.S. Army to aid in the WWII allied war effort. He attended OCS at Clemson Univ. and was later assigned into gunnery school for the Army Air Corp. He trained in Bradenton, Fl and Cuba in preparation for his eventual deployment to the Pacific theater. Stationed on Guam in the Marianna Islands, he attained the rank of Staff Segreant and flew 26 combat bombing missions over enemy territory as a tail-gunner on a B-29 Superfortress - Crew P56, 39th Bomb Group.

Ben married Myrtle O. Rosenberger on Nov. 27, 1948. Together they raised 2 sons and daughters and have 6 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.

They first resided in New Kensington, PA. and he worked at a Peoples Gas Co. compressor station in nearby Sardis. Soon after he transferred to NY State / CNG Corp. in South Bend, PA where they raised four children (2 sons and 2 daughters). He and Myrtle moved their family in 1968 and made their final home in N. Washington Twp. near Apollo, PA. All total, he was employed at the gas company 41 years.

Ben was a member of St James Catholic Church in Apollo and actively sang in the church choir. He also enjoyed playing cards, golf, extensive gardening and spending time with his family and friends. He was a generous and loving man who always found time to help everyone. Ben was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather and dear friend to many.

S/Sgt Bernard S. Kaplin took his final flight on 30 January 2022 at the age of 98.

Crew 56 Main Page
62nd Squadron Crew Index
Source: Obiitary of Ben Kaplin, published in the Valley News Dispatch, 02/01/2022.