Ringgold County

Lt. Marvin Sobotka



Portrait of A Veteran
From Ringgold County Veterans Affairs

Marvin Sobotka

Lt. Marvin Sobotka was born and raised in Ringgold County. He enlisted into the Army Air Corps in 1941 and headed to Jefferson Barracks, MO for basic training.

Pvt. Sobotka was then sent for a semester to Michigan State College for his pre-flight training. He then went to Gunners School in Arlington, TX; Radio School at San Antonio, TX; navigator training at Houston, TX; and bombardier training in Big Springs, TX.

Lt. Sobotka was then sent to Lincoln, NE where he met three other officers and six enlisted men from all over the United States that would become his brothers at heart.

After completing B-24 training in Lincoln he was shipped to North Africa and later Italy.

Marvin flew 50 missions with the 344th Bob Squadron of the 98th Bomb Wing. Their mission was to bomb supply depots, ball bearing plants, railroad viaducts and oil refineries in the capitals of seven of the Axis countries. These were: Sofia, Bulgaria; Bucharest, Romania; Budapest, Hungary; Prague, Czechoslovakia; Vienna, Austria; Zagreb, Yugoslavia; and Berlin, Germany.

Marvin's crew lost three planes and way too many brothers during their service. Lt. Sobotka stated that only discipline can over overpower your fear when you bring a crippled plane in with 144 bullet holes in it.

Marvin still has the piece of shrapnel that cut the oxygen and radio connections to his flight helmet. Another tense moment in his military career was when they were bombing an airport in Regensburg, Germany when a Messerschmitt 262 Jet fighter plane flew right through their formation twice. Luckily that monster did not fire at them. The somewhat shocked crew reported this sighting to the intelligence officers at their home base who had no idea that the 262 was flying missions.

Marvin used his war savings to help buy a farm and has farmed and lived on that farm near Diagonal since.

First Lt. Marvin Sobotka was proud and honored to get to attend the 70th anniversary of the 98th Bomb Wing which was held at Wright Patterson AFB, OH in June of this year. Marvin even got to see his old friend the B-24 that was on static display.

Source: Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, December 24, 2015, Page 11