WWII Vet Vists Iroquois

WWII Veteran talks with middle school students

For 25 years, Mr. Dennis Frank has been instrumental in giving Grade 8 students at Iroquois Middle School the increasingly rare chance to sit down with a World War II veteran.

Mr. Bill Rochelle shared his experiences serving our country, answered questions from students and staff, and celebrated a major milestone with our school community — celebrating his 100th birthday.

Rochelle was a member of the 463rd Air Force Bomb Squad Flying B-17.  He logged 31 missions over Germany. On 21 of those missions his plane served as the lead crew on the mission.  He was the 1st Lieutenant bombardier aboard his B-17.

During its service in WWII, in all, the 463rd flew almost 7000 missions, dropping over 16,000 tons of explosives and lost over 100 men to combat.

WWII veteran waves with group of middle school girlsRochelle spoke about how these experiences shaped his life and how the lessons he’s learned can be applied to those in the audience.

“I think it’s important to have things like this so people can remember the importance of freedom and how special it is to have the rights they have,” student Eden Schechter said.

“I think a lot of what he said is like all of it is, you know, memorable and something you never really get to see any more than once,” student Declan Pogue said. “And that’s really nice.”

After sharing his stories, Rochelle was asked to share advice he felt could help younger generations.

“Think about, maybe talk about together, about what I said about discipline,” Rochelle said. “Think a lot about what I said about unity. This country needssocial studies teacher laughs with WWII veteran unity. I don’t want to get into politics, that’s not what I’m here for, but this country needs unity.”

Rochelle also recently turned 100, so the group sang “Happy Birthday” and celebrated with cake.