Veteran Profile: Harold J. Ripslinger
Harold J. Ripslinger was born on March 21, 1920 in Saginaw, MI to his parents Frank and Abbie Ripslinger. Harold was a graduate of St. Andrews High School in Saginaw and like most young men of his generation enlisted in the US Military after the outbreak of World War II.
In March of 1943, Technical Sergeant Ripslinger was stationed at an Army airfield near Benghazi, Libya where he joined a rookie crew for the B-24D Liberator named “Lady Be Good”.
On April 4, 1943 “Lady Be Good” headed for a bombing mission to Naples, Italy. High winds; a sand storm; radio problems at the airfield; trouble with the planes automatic direction finder; and darkness resulted in the “Lady Be Good” to being totally lost. At about 2am and out of gas the crew bailed out of the “Lady Be Good” hundreds of miles southeast of their airfield into the Sahara Desert.
Ripslinger and crewmate Robert Toner kept diaries of their fight for survival in the desert. Eight days after the crash Toner made a final diary entry; the crew had lost their battle with the desert
In May 1958 a British Petroleum exploration group flying over the area spotted the “Lady Be Good”. About a year later a US recovery team was sent to the crash site. Within a few months all but one of the crews remains were found and Ripslinger was shipped back to Saginaw and is now interred in St. Andrews Cemetery.
Historical Society of Michigan Chronicle Magazine Vol. 41, No. 1 (Author Timothy Lusch).