Harold L. Glasser (1918 - 2009) was accomplished in both business and law. He was a native New Yorker and received his B.A., L.L.M., and J.D. degrees from New York University and Columbia Law School respectively. Most notably Mr. Glasser had a distinguished military career serving overseas in World War II as a bombardier, achieving the rank of 1st Lieutenant. He was awarded 12 combat decorations including the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters. After his return from the War, Mr. Glasser served as president of the American Society of Corporate Secretaries and as General Counsel of the Kayser-Roth Corporation. A few years after graduating from New York University with his J.D., he was elected Mayor of the City of Saddle Rock, New York, and eventually ran for New York State Senate. In 1959, Mr. Glasser began an exciting career as the president of the Miss Universe Pageant, and by the late 1970s, he was president of the Miss USA and Miss Teen USA Pageants.
Mr. Harold Glasser served as a member of the “782nd Bomb Squadron, 465th Bomb Group at Pantanella Air Base, Italy, and that was part of the 55th Bomb Wing of the 15th Air Force in Europe. The group consisted of “four squadrons, including Glasser’s 782nd. His unit “flew missions over Vienna…often alongside the 464th Bomb Group.”
Mr. Glasser was inspired to join the war effort after seeing the Hollywood star Jimmy Stewart in "Winning Your Wings."
Commander: Major General Nathan F. Twining
Fifteenth Air Force was established on 1 November 1943 as part of the United States Army Air Forces in the World War II Mediterranean Theater of Operations as a strategic air force and commenced combat operations the day after it was formed. The first commander was General Jimmy Doolittle.
The Fifteenth Air Force drew its operational forces from heavy bombers of the IX Bomber Command, the strategic bomber command of the Ninth Air Force which was relocating to the United Kingdom to become a tactical air force in the European Theater of Operations, the Twelfth Air Force, and by a diversion of groups originally intended for the Eighth Air Force.
Mainly operating out of bases in southern Italy, the Fifteenth Air Force, along with the Eighth Air Force and RAF Bomber Command, became the instruments used by the Allies to carry the strategic air offensive to Axis-occupied Europe and Germany.
The Fifteenth was de-activated in Italy 15 September 1945.