Route 106 in Wilton will be named after late war veteran
The Wilton portion of Route 106 will soon be named after late veteran and Wilton resident of more than 40 years, Charles M. Baffo, thanks to legislation introduced by State Reps. Gail Lavielle (R-143) and Tom O’Dea (R-125) earlier this year.
At the age of 92, Baffo died on Oct. 17, 2014. He was a first lieutenant during World War II and posthumously honored with the Croix de Chevalier dans l’Ordre de la Légion d’Honneur for a quick, heroic decision he made during the war.
In 1944, Baffo’s bomber plane — which “had several bombs on it,” his daughter Ruthann Walsh told The Bulletin — was shot down in France by German fire.
“You can’t crash-land with the bombs on it or you’re all going to die, so you have to release the bombs before you crash-land,” said Walsh.
Her father knew he was over a very densely populated area of France, she said, and he knew hundreds of civilians would be killed if he released the bombs.
“He remembered an area in Brussels that had been cleared out and he knew that was where he needed to land the plane,” said Walsh.
“He took a chance, landed his plane with the bombs on it and told the crew to run.”
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O’Dea said the proposal to name Route 106 in honor of Baffo — brought before the Transportation Committee in February — was a “very small but important gesture” that shows “the high esteem that this community and this state holds for [Baffo’s] selfless service.”
The proposal was passed during this year’s legislative session — which ended June 3 and was followed by a two-day special session on June 29 and 30 — and is now law and officially in statute, Lavielle told The Bulletin.
Lavielle said the Department of Transpiration (DOT) will have the street signs ready in September or October.
“Charles Baffo exemplified the virtues of the members of the Greatest Generation, who gave so much of themselves to our country and to the world,” Lavielle told The Bulletin in February.
“That his service during World War II has been recognized not only at home but also abroad testifies to its exceptional merit and distinction.”
Lavielle said she was impressed by Baffo’s “true discretion and modesty.”
“Mr. Baffo did all these things but was so discreet and so modest. He considered it his duty and responsibility and he never talked about it — it was just something he felt he should do and he did it,” she said.
“He didn’t make a big deal out of it afterwards; he didn’t try to take credit — that alone made a huge impression on me.”