- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 23, 2013

After the war, Mr. Palmer — donned “Lefty” in high school because of his pitching prowess — went on to work in civil service for 42 years, though he was called back in 1951 during the Korean War. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant with the Air Force Reserve.

He retired from civil service but then went on to become a real estate broker until 2008, when he retired a second time. It was around 2009 when the aircraft commander of the B-29 on that fateful July night reunited with Mr. Palmer at a meeting of the 73rd Bomb Wing Association. He said he would be putting Mr. Palmer’s name in for a medal, along with the bombardier who worked with him. It took three years before medals for both men would be approved.

Today, Mr. Palmer is an active community member, church parishioner and family man. He’s been married to his wife, Doris, for 64 years, and his extended family is growing to include seven great-grandchildren next month. He is also an active member of the Bomb Wing Association.

This past weekend, Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, Virginia Democrat, presented Mr. Palmer with the Distinguished Flying Cross.

American Legion Post 177 in Fairfax sponsored the award ceremony, a decision post commander Mike Kimlick said was an easy one.

“Absolutely,” Mr. Kimlick said. “He’ll come around for a cup of coffee. The American Legion felt honored to have the opportunity to host the event. Lefty is a great storyteller.”

Mr. Connolly called Mr. Palmer “truly heroic.

“He put his own life on the line to save the mission, the plane, and the crew,” Mr. Connolly said. “But Lefty didn’t view himself as a hero at the time. He was just doing his job in service to his nation. There is a reason why his generation is known as the ‘Greatest Generation.’”