Sherburne History Center

Sherburne History Center
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Friday, February 28, 2020

Robert Darrow: The Ultimate Sacrifice

Every so often I strive to recognize Sherburne County men and women in military service.  Individuals who sacrificed for their country.  I want to acknowledge the life of Robert Darrow, a Lieutenant in the Army Air Corps, who died in combat in Italy in September 1943. 

Robert Darrow, born in Elk River; for a short time, lived in Big Lake before returning to the city.  He graduated from Elk River High School in 1939.  He trained as a pilot at the North Dakota State School of Science.  He enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1941 and received his commission as Lieutenant in July 1942. 

Bob Darrow received some recognition as an excellent pilot.  The Sherburne County Star News published a report of Darrow, during a training session in Louisiana, landing a crippled plane at high speed.  He kept the plane, with damaged wings, in the air for an hour to allow his crew to bail out.  To a man, the crew stayed with Darrow.  He managed to land the plane with no casualties to anyone on the ground or to his crew. 

With his training complete, the Army Air Corps ordered Darrow to the European theater.  There during the Salerno Campaign, the beginning of the Allied invasion of Italy, the Allies put every pilot in the region in the air.  Towards the end of the campaign, in September 1943, Darrow flew a Mitchell B-25 bomber.  On September 19, he was shot down and killed.  

In reviewing the service of men and women from Sherburne County there exists the clich√© of the ultimate sacrifice.  It may be used too often.  Yet, in the case of Lieutenant Robert Darrow, of Elk River, his family gave everything: the life of their son, to the cause of freedom in World War Two. A man, and his family, sacrificed everything.  That warrants acknowledgement for his service.

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