In World War II, Charles Palmer's mission in the Air Corps was to fly planes in low visibility, drop supplies or paratroopers, then return to the home base — all under "instrument conditions" rather than relying on sight.
He helped deliver hundreds of 5-gallon cans of gasoline for the assorted vehicles and tanks Gen. George Patton's Third Army used in its relentless push across Southern Germany.
Palmer was one of 11 veterans honored during Sunday's Quilts of Valor ceremony at American Legion Post 5.
"One mission that I distinctly remember flying was with the 15th Airborne Division and named Operation Varsity," he told the group in a nominating statement.
In Germany, he and others dropped paratroopers to reinforce the British troops that were already there.
"There were other groups that had to fly further on to make their drops," he said. "They were getting shot up something terrible. I thought for sure I was going to get hit on that mission, but we all made it back."
Quilts of Valor started nationally in 2003 and in Columbia about a decade later. Nationally, the organization has provided thousands of hand-made patriotic quilts to veterans who served during wartime.
"These men who served in combat sacrificed so much for us. And our goal is to provide honor and comfort to the combat veterans who did so much for us," said Jan Hobbs, who leads Patriotic Piecers, the Columbia Quilts of Valor chapter.
Each quilt is personalized with the recipient's name and the name of the quilt.
"We have such a proud and patriotic city, and it's so wonderful to recognize our veterans," Mayor Carrie Tergin said at the event.
Other recipients were:
Robert Anderson — Served in the U.S. Merchant Marines from 1943-46; served on the SS Ticondaroga Tanker in the Pacific during the invasion of Luzon in the Philippines. Received two bronze stars.
James W. Curry — Served in the U.S. Navy 1950-54 in Korea and Japan on board the USS Union, AKA106, as a radioman. Spent 38 months in the Pacific. Received the Korean Service Medal with three battle stars.
Ben Daugherty Sr. — Served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1946-67. He took part in the rebuilding of Japan. He served in Vietnam in 1965, and received a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star.
Everette Gloyd — Served in the U.S. Army from 1944-46 in combat infantry and took part in the Battle of the Bulge.
Sam Guenther — Served in the U.S. Navy from 1946-48 at the Experimental Base in California as an Aviation Electrician.
Paul LePage — Served two years, 1952-53, in the U.S. Army then in the reserves until retirement in 1990. Ten years ago, he came out of retirement and went to Afghanistan with the Agri-Business Development Team and visited with village elders to educate them on growing and preserving their food.
Nicholas Monaco — Served two years, 1952-54, of active duty in the U.S. Air Force and 28 years in the Air Force Reserves, retiring at the rank of lieutenant colonel in 1990.
Donald O'Connor — Served in the U.S. Navy from 1942-46 on a troop transport ship in the South Pacific. Received the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal with Silver Service Star.
Paul Rackers — Served in the U.S. Army from 1954-57. He spent 18 months in Korea working as a quartermaster.
Charles Smith — Served in the U.S. Navy Seabees from 1943-46 on the island of New Hebrides located 900 miles northeast of Australia, where he repaired heavy equipment.
This article was edited Oct. 23, 2017, to correct the Quilts of Valor organization's title.