CBS News reports that Andy Rooney has passed away.
Most of us think of Rooney as the crotchity old man complaining about doorknobs and Kurt Cobain at the end of 60 Minutes, but he started his career as a reporter for Stars and Stripes during the Second World War.
He spent his time with the Eighth Air Force, at their base and even flying on the occasional mission. He was there when a certain Staff Sergeant Maynard “Snuffy” Smith returned with his crew. Sgt. Smith was a ball turret gunner whose bomber was hit near Brittany. He managed to keep firing at the still attacking German planes, put out the fire, and bring six of his comrades to safety. Rooney was on the ground and the first to interview Smith. Rooney’s reporting was a big part of why Smith was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, the only Air Force enlisted man so recognized in the war. Rooney considered his part in this story one of his proudest achievements.
He talked a bit about it in a segment on 60 Minutes. I was unable to find his reporting on Smith, but Smith is mentioned in a 1943 Stars and Stripes article that Rooney wrote on the Eighth Air Force.