Richard was sent overseas to the European Theater of Operations to North Africa in March, 1944. He was a ‘belly’ ball turret gunner in a B-17 bomber, one of the most dangerous positions on the aircraft.
Richard flew 30 missions. His unit was moved to newly liberated bases in Italy in May, 1944 where he met up with his brother-in-law, Corporal Cotter, who was also stationed in Italy.
On May 29th during a mission over Austria, Richard's bomber was heavily hit by flak (anti aircraft fire) and the aircraft exploded. Originally he was listed as missing. Of the ten crew members who parachuted out of the burning aircraft, five were rescued by partisan forces, two were captured, and two were killed.
Richard’s fate was initially unknown. His wife received notice that he was missing, but several months later, his status was changed to "killed in action" on October 10, 1944.
In June 1949, Richard and a fellow crew member were returned to their home country for burial at the Woodlawn National Cemetery in Elmira, New York. Richard was buried with full military honors.