WWII veteran preserves military memories, proud heritage

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Lisa Spilinek
  • 66th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Editor's Note: This is the fifth story in a series celebrating the Air Force's 60th Anniversary. 

World War II Tech. Sgt. Carl Mula lost a foot-and-a-half of intestine, suffered a broken pelvis and upper thigh bone, and had shrapnel embedded in his hand and chin when he was hit by a 20-millimeter shell from a German 109 Fighter aircraft. 

The Top Turret Gunner's B-24 was returning from a bombing mission over Germany and about to cross the English Channel from Holland, when a fighter hit the B-24 carrying Sergeant Mullah and nine other Army Air Corps members. 

"No flaps, no breaks," is how Sergeant Mullah described 'The Ruptured Duck' as it hurtled toward the earth. The craft made it past the water and crash landed in a field just beyond the American camp. 

The sergeant was transported to an English hospital 21 miles away where he stayed for six months. He credits the flight surgeon with saving his life. 

He was then transported via a hospital ship to the U. s. where he spent a month recuperating in Atlantic City, NJ. followed by more treatment for his injuries at the military hospital in Pittsburgh, N. y. 

His service overseas was finished after 16 combat missions, including two that were a part of the second wave of the Normandy invasion, and four humanitarian missions -- two delivering food and supplies in Holland and two bringing fuel to Gent. George Pat ton's forces. 

He returned to his hometown, Waltham, Mass., and worked for the Federal government as the Murphy Army Hospital Roads and Grounds superintendent, a position he retired from in 1986. 

The years that have transpired since Sergeant Mullah enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1943 because he "liked airplanes," have not dimmed his memory of the war. 

"A lot of guys don't want to talk about it -- I remember everything," he said. 

His service with the 787th Bomb Squadron, a part of the famed 8th Air Force, left him with memories of the friendly rivalry between the crews assigned to the newly created B-24s and those assigned to the older B-17s; memories of the importance of being clean shaven before flying to ensure his oxygen mask fitted closely as to not allow his face to freeze; memories of friends who survived the war and those who died. 

Sergeant Mullah shares his stories with students at Bentley College, in Waltham, a few times per year when invited by a professor there. 

He also shares stories with the other members of the Massachusetts chapter of the Eighth Air Force Historical Society, which meets monthly in the Minuteman Club at Hans com. The chapter is open to everyone, but composed predominately of World War II veterans who meet to share their stories and discuss military and current events. 

Another organization, Sergeant Mullah belongs to is the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Waltham Chapter, Sullivan Post, which visits veterans at the Bedford, Mass., Veterans Affairs hospital monthly. 

The Purple Heart recipient said he shares his memories of the war to preserve them for others. 

During the year that the Air Force celebrates its 60th anniversary of being an independent service, Sergeant Mullah points out that the efforts of the Army Air Corps laid the ground work for the bright horizons of both the Air Force and American public. 

"If we didn't win, you'd be speaking German right now," he said.