Bernard Seitzinger, 364th FS, 357th FG


Ben Seitzinger

Ben in his F-84 

Bernard Karl Seitzinger ("Seitz" or “Ben”) was born on November 5th, 1914 in Belgrade, Minnesota. He was commissioned in the Air Reserve in 1939 and went through Air Force flight training at Randolph Field during 1940. While serving as a flight instructor at Foster Field, Ben earned the reputation as being “tough, fair, and an excellent instructor”.

In 1943, Captain Seitzinger joined with the 65th Fighter Squadron of the 57th Fighter Group in North Africa. During that summer, Ben was on a strafing mission near the base of Mt. Etna, where he took some ground fire and was wounded.  Seitz radioed for assistance, but none of the other pilots were able to get to his location.  He managed to belly-land his aircraft, but was captured by enemy troops.  He later managed to escape and evade, and made his way back to friendly lines.

Ben joined the 364th Fighter Squadron of the famous 357th Fighter Group in early September of 1944. Later that month he was flying his P-51B Mustang “Almost” in the Arnhem Affair.  Ben was shot down over Belgium that day, shortly after scoring an aerial victory. He spent the rest of the war in Stalag Luft I.

He arrived at the K-2 airbase in Taegu, Korea around the beginning of November 1951 and was soon assigned as the commander of the 7th Fighter-Bomber Squadron. Seitz was a veteran aviator with hundreds of hours of actual combat flight. This highly experienced combat pilot referred to his duty in Korea simply as "rugged".

On Tuesday, November 27th, 1951, Ben was killed while strafing boxcars in his F-84E near Chinnampo. As the area was firmly under the control of the North Koreans, no attempt was undertaken to recover his remains.  Bernard was a courageous airman who volunteered for combat duty in Korea, and who gave his life in the service of his country. Though he may lie in an unmarked grave in some forgotten, nameless field in Korea, he is still remembered. Written by Curt Brown in honor of Ben

These 2 paintings were brought out of Stalag Luft I by Bernard.