Name : Frederick W Castle
B/Gen Frederick W Castle Rank : Brigadier General
Branch : US Army Air Force
Assistant Commander : 4th Combat Bomber Wing
Entered Service from : New York
Date of Birth : 14 October 1908
Date of Death : 24 December 1944
Place of Death : Liege (Belgium)
In Henri-Chapelle : Plot D, Row 13, Grave 53
Awards : Medal of Honor
Dist.Flying.Cr. 3 Oak Leaf
Silver Star
Legion of Merit
French Croix de Guerre
Belgian Croix de Guerre
Croix ordre Leopold II
Russian order of Kutuzov
Air Medal 4 clusters
Purple Heart

Frederick Castle's Story ...

Frederick Castle was born October 14, 1908 at Fort McKinley, Manila, Philippines, during the first foreign service tour of his father, the late Colonel Benjamin Frederick Castle then in Tientsin, China, Washington, D.C., Paris, and finally in Mountain Lakes, NJ where the family resided for many years after World War I. He entered the United States Military Academy, from which his father was a 1907 graduate, in July of 1926, after attending Boonton High School and Storm King (NY) Military Academy. He ranked No. 1 in the New Jersey National Guard competitive examinations for his West Point Appointment.

the former barracks of Fort McKinley

After graduating seventh in the class of 1930 as a Second Lieutenant, Engineers, Frederick took Air Corps training at March Field, California and Kelly Field, Texas. His first assignment was as a pursuit pilot at Selfridge Field, Michigan. In 1934, he resigned from the service and accepted a position with the Allied Chemical and Dye Corporation. Four years later he was named Assistant to the President of the Sperry Gyroscope Company (which later became Sperry Rand Corp.) where he played a leading role in the planning and design of the Sperry plant at Nassau, Long Island, which manufactured essential products for the armed forces.

Kelly Field, Texas in 1931

Immediately after the bombing of Pearl Harbor brought the US into World War II, Frederick returned to active duty. As a reserve officer, he had continued his flying with the New York National Guard unit based at Staten Island. With a First Lieutenant's commission, he joined General Ira Eaker in London to help create the 8th Air Force as Air Chief of Staff for supply, and to arrange for the establishment of American combat flying bases there in preparation for assaults against the Nazis.

General Ira Eaker

After two years as the most important cog in the staff machine of the 8th Air force, he asked for active duty and took command of the 94th Bomber Group based near Bury St. Edmunds. Suffolk, England and led many important missions over Western Europe. In April, 1944, he was given command of the 4th Combat Wing, the largest in the 8th Air Force, with five groups including the 94th, headquartered at Rougham Air Base (near Bury St. Edmunds).

the controltower of Rougham Base

On Christmas Eve, 1944, during the height of the Battle of the Bulge and only a few weeks after he had been promoted from Colonel to Brigadier General, he headed a strike mission of 2.032 Flying Fortresses against Von Rundstedt's forces and German airfields. The attack, protected by 800 fighters, has been described by historians as the greatest air armada ever attempted. It was his 30th mission.

Colonel Castle has his stars pinned on ... 14 December 1944

Frederick remained at the controls of the lead plane after it had been badly damaged by Nazi fire and he ordered his crew to bail out. He chose not to lessen his cargo by jettisoning his bombs in fear of killing innocent people and the hard-pressed Allied ground troops below. His plane plunged to earth, taking him to his death. His body was recovered near Liege, Belgium, and is buried in the American Cemetery at Henri Chappelle, Belgium. Surviving were his two sisters, Winfred (Mrs. John R. Millikin) of Mendham, NJ and Hancey (Mrs. John N. Glidden) of Somers, NY.

a B-17 Flying Fortress

At a small ceremony at the Mountain Lakes Community Church in the spring of 1946, Mrs. Winfred Walker Castle was presented with her son's posthumous Congressional Medal of Honor Award by General Eaker who said that "General Castle stands forever in the front ranks of gallant men... and will be an inspiration for future leaders of ground and air forces."

"The Big Square," a history (1942-1945) of the 94th Bomb Group, of which he was a former commander, has a chapter dedicated to Frederick which describes him as "a General, a commander, and a courageous leader for whom his men had a respect that is probably unequaled in the annals of warfare."

the Mountain Lakes Community Church in the 1930's

In 1946, Castle Air Force Base was dedicated at Merced, California, and on June 20, 1981, the Castle Air Museum was officially opened at that base for the purpose of preserving the Air Force and Castle heritage for future generations and to show today's generation how the Air Force has evolved from the US Army Air Corps of the 1940s.

Castle Air Force Base in California

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Brigadier General Frederick W Castle (KIA)
(Air Mission)


"He was air commander and leader of more than 2.000 heavy bombers in a strike against German airfields on 24 December 1944. En route to the target, the failure of 1 engine forced him to relinquish his place at the head of the formation. In order not to endanger friendly troops on the ground below, he refused to jettison his bombs to gain speed maneuverability. His lagging, unescorted aircraft became the target of numerous enemy fighters which ripped the left wing with cannon shells. set the oxygen system afire, and wounded 2 members of the crew. Repeated attacks started fires in 2 engines, leaving the Flying Fortress in imminent danger of exploding. Realizing the hopelessness of the situation, the bail-out order was given. Without regard for his personal safety he gallantly remained alone at the controls to afford all other crewmembers an opportunity to escape. Still another attack exploded gasoline tanks in the right wing, and the bomber plunged earthward. carrying Gen. Castle to his death. His intrepidity and willing sacrifice of his life to save members of the crew were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service."

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Frederick Castle's dogtag

The crashsite was examined thoroughly and reports were made. Detailled reports and eye-witness accounts on the crash of Frederick's B-17 "Treble4" can be found on the CRIBA website ...


from left to right the tail, an engine and part of a wing of Treble4

These days Frederick Castle rests in the beautiful American Military Cemetery at Henri-Chapelle ... He is remembered and honored by his countrymen, by the Castle Air Force Base, the Castle Air Force Museum and by all visitors of the Henri-Chapelle cemetery and the In-Honored-Glory website.

Brigadier General Frederick Castle's final resting place

Special thanks to Paul Webber and CRIBA
published May 26, 2006