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Normandie-Niemen "pilot" tells his life story

11 Mai 2011 , Rédigé par francaislibres.over-blog.com Publié dans #FAFL

Source : link  caspionet.kz





Second World War veteran from the Kazakh city of Uralsk, Nikolai Vetrov is one those few people of Kazakhstan who had a chance to be part of the legendary Normandie-Niemen squadron. For his military services, Mr. Vetrov was awarded with the decoration of France, the National Order of the Legion of Honour. Every year, on the invitation of the French embassy in Russia, Nikolai Vetrov travels to Moscow to meet his brother in arms. Unfortunately, the war veteran had to welcome the 66th anniversary of the Great Victory being in the hospital. He started his military career in 1939 when he was part of the telegraph attachés’ company participating in the Battles of Khalkhin Gol. He even had a chance to put Marshal Zhukov through to Moscow.

Nikolai Vetrov, WW2 Veteran
«Marshal Georiy Zhukov first arrived at night at the headquarters. He asked us who was connected to Moscow. I said that I was. Then, he asked me to put him through to Marshal Voroshilov in Moscow.»

In January 1941, Nikolai Vetrov went back to a civilian life, but apparently, for only a short period of time. A few months later, he was summoned up for the Second World War. Having graduated a mechanic school, he was assembling aeroplanes for the Red Army.

Nikolai Vetrov, WW2 Veteran
«I received a telegramme from Joseph Stalin which said two mechanics should be sent to the Normandie-Niemen squadron. So, two out of 100 people were sent there. Once we had arrived there, two aeroplanes were immediately assigned for me to look after.»

In May 1943, Vetrov joined the Normandie-Niemen squadron, the only foreign division within the Red Army. The squadron established in 1942 was made up of French and Soviet pilots who made a total of 5,240 operation flights and hit 273 Nazi planes.

Ahead of Victory Day, wreaths were laid onto the monument to the pilots of the Normandie-Niemen squadron situated in the Lefortovo Park in Moscow. This is where Nikolai Vetrov tries to be every year in order to meet his brothers in arms. However, this year he couldn’t meet with them due to health problems. Major Olivier Madier says France also celebrates Victory Day and always remembers the Normandie-Niemen squadron.

Olivier Madier, deputy military attaché, French Embassy in Russia
«Of course, our people always remember about it and it is important for us. Next year, we are going to establish a new Normandie-Niemen squadron in France to be equipped with new fighter planes.»

Anatoliy Fetisov, President, Russian Association of Normandie-Niemen squadron veterans
«Let me congratulate our dear war veterans, pilot Zhovtiy Vassiliy Leontiyevich and mechanic Nikolai Fyodorovich Vetrov on this great holiday. They also made a contribution to this great victory. Each of you contributed to it. Thank you very much for this.»




Egalement : (le 03/05/2011) link


Outstanding military pilot tells his life story

Vassiliy Zhovtiy had been dreaming of the sky since he was a child. He was born to a family of farmers in a small Ukrainian village. With one year to go to the Second World War, the 19-year old young man entered the Valeriy Chkalov Borisogleb Aviation Academy. In 1941, he went to the front.

His unique tactical literacy and good organising skills helped him join a military academy to train young pilots. However, he soon received the news about his brother’s death, which became a turning point in his life when he asked to be sent to the battlefield. In 1944, Vassiliy Zhovtiy joined the French-soviet aviation squadron Normandie-Niémen. Together with French pilots Vassiliy Zhovtiy made 19 battle flights. Amongst the numerous battles, the squadron took part in the East Prussia operation and the Königsberg fortress.

Vassiliy Zhovtiy, WW2 Veteran:
- When you are up in the sky and you can see that your enemy is in a more favourable position. You are on your plane and the only thought you have is to eliminate the enemy. This feeling goes up and down your spine. It is an unusual joy as if the whole world tells you to eliminate the enemy saying get those bad people out of there so they do not spoil the blue sky. I always had a feeling that he is yours and he won’t escape anywhere.

Vassiliy Zhovtiy first learnt the news about the victory when he was in Elbing. Six years after the Second World War ended he was sent to Kazakhstan where he has stayed so far. In 2010, for his service at the Normandie-Niémen squadron, Vassiliy Zhovtiy was decorated with the French National Order of the Legion of Honour. For over 30 years now, Vassiliy Zhovtiy has worked as the chief of the Otan aviation club, which trains pilots and parachutists.

Danil Novikov, aviation centre cadet:
- He is an excellent teacher. You immediately build trustful relations with him and he is your elder mentor.

He is still eager to fly. The 90-yar old military pilot Vassiliy Zhoviy is ready to fly a plane but his health does not allow him to do it. He has been in aviation for over 70 years now. He often dreams of flying again.

Vassiliy Zhovtiy, WW2 Veteran:
- I dream of the sky. You cannot dream of it. You cannot live without it. The sky always calls you, your soul and heart so you do not want to stay on earth. If you are a pilot, you will always be called by the sky.


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