U.S. Senator, World War II Bomber Pilot
Developed leadership skills as the commander of a B-24 bomber squadron
Before he was a successful businessman, a U.S. Senator and the Democrat nominee for vice president in 1988, Lloyd M. Bentsen, Jr. had a distinguished military career. Born in Mission, Texas, he served as a commander of a B-24 squadron in the 449th Bomb Group, and flew 35 missions over Europe in World War II. Many of the missions were over heavily-defended targets such as the oil fields in Ploesti, Romania. During his 18 months of combat flying, Bentsen was shot down twice but never captured, and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism.