2000 Regular Session

To: Rules

By: Senator(s) Michel

Senate Resolution 25

(As Adopted by Senate)


WHEREAS, Mississippi's contribution to the World War II National Monument in Washington, D.C., has been made to recognize the sacrifices and valor of servicemen such as Howard Richardson of Jackson, Mississippi, who was a decorated veteran serving overseas in the European theatre of war; and

WHEREAS, Howard Richardson was born in Louisville, Mississippi, the first of twins; and

WHEREAS, Richardson always wanted to fly; he began in the civilian pilot training program in Starkville in 1941, then enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps on May 11, 1942; he began flight training at Stamford, Texas; next to Sebring, Florida, to learn to pilot a B-17 "Flying Fortress," then to Salt Lake City to form a 10-man crew for a B-47; following team training, Richardson and his new team went to Wichita, Kansas, to take delivery of a brand new Flying Fortress, fly it across the North Atlantic to Ireland, thence to Cambridge, England, to join the 385th Bombing Group of the Eighth Air Force; and

WHEREAS, his first combat bombing mission was flown on May 12, 1944, to attack Zwichau, and for many months of bombing German city targets, it was a hard and dangerous life; B-17 pilots were expected to fly 25 missions over Germany which would complete "a combat tour"; but the 25-mission tour was increased by General Jimmy Doolittle to 30 missions, and later to 35 missions by General Eisenhower; and

WHEREAS, he flew three missions over Berlin, three missions over Munich, three missions to Merseberg in three days, and other missions to Leipzig, Hamm, Hanover, Wesserburg, Regensburg and Hamburg; Richardson completed his 35th combat mission on August 11 in less than 90 days; and it was during this period when Howard's plane receive its famous name "Mississippi Miss," because the plane was hit many times by enemy anti-aircraft fire and Messersmitt fighter aircraft fire, but was never shot down. (After World War II ended, the plane was flown across the Atlantic and placed in storage in Tuscon, never to fly again. "Mississippi Miss" became spare parts); and

WHEREAS, after the surrender in April 1945, Richardson became a staff officer in the 4th Bombing Wing at Burg St. Edmunds, England, but soon shifted to C-54 transport aircraft flying personnel and cargo to Paris, then United States wounded from Paris to the United States; and

WHEREAS, in the post World War II period, Richardson found time to get his college degree at Mississippi State and was offered and accepted a regular commission in the Army Air Corps; in 1947, he became involved in the Berlin airlift; he was now a Major in the United States Air Force and his job was to seek and approve other pilots for the Berlin airlift, but the next assignment he sought was to fly the USAF "Plum" aircraft, the new, six-engine jet bomber of SAC, the B-47; many of the USAF "practice" B-47 flights were flown from Homestead Air Force Base in Florida on pre-planned nuclear weapon delivery training missions across the North Pole to Russian targets, and it was on one such simulated flight in a B-47 with a real 8,600 pound Mark 15 nuclear weapon loaded aboard which gave Richardson a problem, necessitating the jettisoning of the weapon in order to save his crew; and

WHEREAS, for his 31 years of active service, Howard Richardson's awards were the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, the Air Force Commendation Ribbon, and the Presidential Unit Citation; and

WHEREAS, it is with great pride that we recognize the military career of this true Mississippi hero:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, That we do hereby commend the illustrious active military career of Major Howard Richardson of Jackson, Mississippi, and wish him continued success in his future endeavors.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That copies of this resolution be presented to Howard Richardson and his family, and be made available to the Capitol Press Corps.