This article was tranlated by Iustrans

The events of the Second World War directly affected the Basques in the Basque Country and in the diaspora, especially those living in countries submerged in the conflict (USA, Philippines, Canada, Australia, Japan . ..)

We have been collecting, over the years, stories of Basques who participated in one way or another in this global war. We also wrote about the peninsular Basques who joined in the fight against fascism; in a few days, the Sabino Arana Foundation will make a tribute in this respect. We quoted the heroic acts of civilians that, in spite of being away from the front lines, played a key role in the course of the war as well as in saving innocent victims, as was the case for the Basques who participated in the Red Cométe , in the Basque Country. We also referred to the Basques that, thanks to Euskera (the Basque language), encrypted messages in the Pacific. We even wrote about efforts to aid the Jewish population in Europe during the war and the immediately subsequent years.

Today, thanks to Henar Chico’s blog (A Basque in Boise) we have heard pleasant and exciting news: on April 8, the Basque-American Manuel Aldecoa will be posthumously honoured for his heroic behaviour as a fighter pilot in World War II; he was shot down and killed in the French sky of Lille on Thanksgiving Day, 1943. Born in the USA (his mother was from Ea and his father from Motriko) he died at the age of 25 as a hero while he piloted a magnificent and beautiful p-38.

Lockheed P-38
Lockheed P-38

The work of the Aldecoa brothers and sisters in the fight against fascism is impressive: both for their work as pilots or, in the case of the sisters, as air controllers or members of the OSS.

Near the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe, Dolores Totorica (a relative of the Aldecoa family) has achieved -thanks to her research on her relative’s story, the awarding of some honours for her relatives: Purple Heart, Air Medal, American Campaign Medal, Good Conduct Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, and the Honourable Service Lapel Button.

These posthumous awarding of these honours will be carried out on April 8, in the Warhawk Museum in Nampa, Idaho.

It is not possible to make enough effort to honour and remember these heroes and martyrs that struggled against fascism

A basque in Boise – 1/4/2015 – USA

Posthumous presentation of military awards to Manuel Aldecoa, the son of Basque immigrants, at the Warhawk Museum

Manuel was one of 5 children born to Basque immigrants in Boise. Juan Domingo Aldecoa Urrusuno (b. in Ea-Nachitua) and Maria Pagoaga Iriarte (b. Motriko). They were charter members of Euzkaldunak – the Boise Basque Center. Manuel is survived by sisters Benedicta Wilson and Delphine Aldecoa, both of whom served as air traffic controllers during WWII. Older sister Maurina Bowles worked in London, England during the war for the OSS, the precursor of the CIA,  Brother Basil and wife Dorothy Aldecoa were generous benefactors to any and all Basque causes in the Treasure Valley.

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