PFC Russell Philip Noble
Supply Squadron, 17th Air Depot Group, U.S. Army Air Corps
KIA 23 April 1943
Near Benghazi, Libya
-- Phyllis Eleanore Noble --
My father, Russell Philip Noble, was born in Chicago on June 15, 1918, the son of Anna Malley Noble and Frank Noble. At home, his family called
him "Buddy." Bud had two older brothers, Frank and Edward, and a sister, Marie. They were raised within a huge and loving extended Irish family. After graduating from Leyden Township High School,
he dreamed of continuing his education and going to medical school. However, because he was the sole support of his ailing parents, he had to work. He drove
a delivery truck for Burny Brothers Bakery. On Valentine's Day, 1942, he married my mother, Olga Kosinski. Two weeks later he received his draft notice.
Before he left to go overseas, he told my mom, "If it's a boy, please name him Philip."
My father was assigned to the U.S. Army Air Corps, Supply Squadron, and 17th Air Depot Group. His ground crew unit spent some time in Palestine, and then
moved to North Africa. His buddies in the barracks watched while he opened the letter telling him he had become the father of a little girl, Phyllis. On
Good Friday, April 23, 1943, he was killed in the Libyan Desert, near Benghazi, by a "booby trap" left behind by retreating forces.
Russell Philip Noble is buried in the American Military Cemetery in Carthage, Tunisia. In 1967, on my way home from Peace Corps service in Nigeria, I stopped
in Tunis to visit his grave, a moment that brought some measure of solace. It's a lovely spot, high on a windswept hill, surrounded by cypress trees.
Little bits of information that I gleaned about my father I treasure like nuggets of gold. "Buddy" was beloved by his family. My aunts and uncles told me he
was a man who could make people laugh. He was the kind of guy who treasured close friendships; before he was drafted, he took the time to drive from Chicago
to a southern boot camp to visit his best friend. He loved the song, "Deep Purple." He wanted to learn to fly airplanes, and had hoped that he would get his
chance in the Army Air Corps. Longing to be close to this man I never met, I learned to play "Deep Purple" on the piano, and learned how to fly a little Cessna
after I finished college. I think he might have been pleased.
My father's precious letters to my mother were lost in a flood. An army photograph in its original 1940s frame is all that is left. I would very much like to
meet the men who were with my father in Libya, and especially the man who lost a limb in the accident that took my father's life. One of them, after the war,
stopped in Chicago and gave my mother a call. He said he'd stop by. The whole family gathered to greet him, but he never did knock on the door. If one of you
should happen to read this, I want to give you a warm embrace, and tell you what they would have told you then - "Coffee's on! Pull up a chair."
May Russell Philip Noble rest in peace. And may we who survive find an alternative to war for resolving the conflicts in the world.
His Loving Daughter,