World War II Foundation Presents Above and
Beyond in 2014
The incredible World War II story of former Rhode Island Governor Bruce Sundlun.
During overseas active duty beginning in June 1943, Sundlun served as a B-17 Flying Fortress pilot in the England-based 384th Bomb Group of the Eighth Air Force at Grafton-Underwood Air Base. His plane the Damn Yankee was shot down over Nazi-occupied Jabbeke, Belgium on 1 December 1943 after the plane was damaged by flak during the bombing of Solingen, Germany, on his 13th mission.
After six months time cooperating with the French Resistance under the code name Salamander, he made several attempts to enter Spain near Biarritz, and later near Foix. But after deciding that there was too much danger of capture or loss in the snowy Pyrenees, he made his way on stolen bicycles north-eastward across France and escaped into Switzerland on 5 May 1944 near Fêche-l'Église.
Before escaping into Switzerland, he was engaged with the Maquis in acts of sabotage near Belfort against German Army units under the command of Russian defector General Andrey Vlasov. Later, he was recruited by Allen Dulles working out of the U.S. Embassy in Bern to reenter France under the auspices of the Office of Strategic Services to act as a bombardment spotter for the Allied invasion of Marseilles in August 1944.