George J. Barulic

 

George Barulic was born April 13, 1922 in Croatia and emigrated to the United States July 29, 1927 with his parents, Nick and Mary, and his younger brother, John. They settled in New Jersey, where George had a tough childhood. But nothing like his family had in the Old Country. "Iíve had a lot of tragedy in my life. My grandfather was killed, murdered. My uncle was assassinated. And my cousin was assassinated." This was all in Europe where political involvement could be fatal when you held the wrong views.

"When I was a little kid I just couldnít get over adventure stories." When Barulic was drafted October 16, 1942 and found himself in the Army Air Forces he was in heaven. "God! It was the most wonderful thing in my life." He grew up on Zane Grey novels and other adventure stories. "The first time I went out west and saw a cowboy, I went out of my head. Itís probably the lowest rated occupation in the United States, chasing cows. To me, it was a great experience seeing a cowboy. These are my heros."

Barulic ended up as a radio operator for the Army because he studied radio in high school and already knew Morse code. He was in training at Fort Dix when the Army found out about his ability because he did so well on an aptitude test. "Hell! I knew it! Itís nothing about aptitude," he says with a laugh. He knew Morse code well enough that the other fellows who were flunking the course would have Barulic take the test for them. He would walk in with the other boyís dog tags and that was that.

Late in life George Barulic still retained respect not only for his pilot, Culos Settle, but for their commander, Lt. Col. Frederick Glantzberg. "He was a super guy." Flying in combat with the colonel, "He could make you feel like youíre at home sitting with a cup of coffee. The most coolest guy Iíd ever saw. When he spoke he made everyone feel great." After surviving the trauma over Huntington Lake, Col. Glantzberg told Barulic he would be willing to take him permanently off flying status. "He talked to me like he was my father." Barulic wasnít interested. He replied, "Why canít we have me and Settle get together and have a sergeant and crew and move overseas?" Barulic and Settle eventually flew fifty-two missions together. They had a few close calls but they made it back alive and in one piece.

George Barulic died June 22, 2014 at his home in West Palm Beach, Florida.

 
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