A month ago, a special ceremony was held at the Old Town Hall honoring First Lieutenant Charles M. Baffo for his extraordinary service during World War II as a bomber pilot. He undoubtedly saved many lives in France when — after his B-24 was hit with heavy flack and was forced to turn back from its bombing mission into Germany — instead of jettisoning his bombs over a heavily populated area of France as per standing directives (to lessen the risk of explosion in an emergency landing), he brought his plane in on a rough stretch of land with only one chance to get his landing right and with all of his bombs still on board. While only 20 years old at the time, he did everything right to save both his crew and those many French civilians.
For this heroic act, he was recently awarded the Croix de Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur by the French government — most remarkably, and unusually, bestowed posthumously. To this high honor has now been added the naming of a portion of Route 106 for him, thanks to the work of state Reps. Gail Lavielle, who hosted this recognition ceremony, and Tom O’Dea.