Brookline War Memorial
Frederick E. Streicher

United States Army Air Services (1917-1947)

Captain Frederick E. Streicher
United States Army Air Corps (1942-1946)

Lieutenant Frederick Emil Streicher Jr., born December 2, 1922, was the only son of Nellie and Frederick Streicher. He had a two older sisters, Ruth and Winifred. A graduate of South Hills High School, Frederick was employed in the electrical department of Dravo Corporation before the war. He enlisted in the Army on April 22, 1942 at age nineteen.

Frederick chose to enter the Army Air Corps and was trained as a B24 Liberator bomber pilot. He was commissioned on officer at Freeman Field on June 30, 1943, and after further flight training departed the United States for overseas duty on the 6th of December.

        

Lt. Streicher was assigned to the 98th Bomber Group, 15th U.S. Air Force, operating from airfields in Italy. He was shot down over Austria on April 2, 1944. Listed as missing on the Pittsburgh Press May 16, 1944 casualty list, he became a prisoner of war in Germany. While a prisoner Frederick lost a leg due to wounds suffered during his capture.

Frederick was liberated from captivity in February 1945, and returned home to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Frederick E. Streicher, of 2637 Pioneer Avenue, in March 1945. Below is an article reprinted from the Pittsburgh Press, dated March 4, 1945.

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Freed Prisoner Home Minus Leg
Brookline Pilot Keeps Promise Pals Made

He didn't think he'd ever get back after his capture by the Nazis, but Lt. Fred Streicher was at home with his parents in Brookline today.

His right leg missing, Lt. Streicher was one of nine repatriated Pittsburgh prisoners of was who returned last week aboard the Swedish Exchange Liner Gripsholm. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Frederick E. Streicher of 2637 Pioneer Avenue.

Shot down when he was on a mission over Steyr, Austria, last April 2, Lt. Streicher was hidden by the Austrian underground until April 18 when he was captured as the Germans raided the town where he and ten fellow airmen were hiding.

B24 Liberator
A B24 Liberator bomber of the 98th Bomber Group.

He had sprained both ankles when he baled out. They were still painful when the Germans took the town and caught him when he made an effort to escape. He was shot through the thigh. Nazi bullets snuffed out the life of his co-pilot who was with him.

He related yesterday how a German soldier had beaten him with the butt of his rifle, although he was bleeding excessively from the leg wound. "Three of my ribs were broken," he said.

Carried back behind the lines by the Germans, Lt. Streicher was placed on a pile of straw in a stable where his right leg was amputated without benefit of an anesthetic, he said.

Later after he had been moved to a German prisoner camp, Lt. Streicher underwent two more operations. He described, too, how he and fellow prisoners had to live on potato soup for two months and were dying of starvation when the first precious Red Cross boxes of food began to arrive.

"Ten of us made a promise," said Lt. Streicher, "that if we ever got out alive we'd make a contribution to the Red Cross."

Lt. Frederick E. Streicher, left,
makes a donation to Red Cross.
Lt. Streicher makes his donation
to the American Red Cross.

And that was one of the first things on his itinerary when he arrived in Pittsburgh yesterday. He went to the Dravo Corp., where he worked as an electrical wireman before the war, and there presented $100 in cash to Mrs. W. J. Neuenschwander, a member of the Red Cross Board of Speakers' Bureau.

After a thirty-day leave Lt. Streicher will enter convalescence at the Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C.

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Before his discharge from the service on January 16, 1946, Frederick was promoted to the rank of Captain. A year later, on January 3, 1947, he married Eileen Russell and settled at 1144 Tennessee Avenue in Dormont. Captain Frederick Emil Streicher died on November 29, 1989, and his body was laid to rest at Jefferson Memorial Park in Pleasant Hills.

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Brookline Veteran's Park - April 26, 2014.

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