WILTON, Conn. -- Wilton's State Reps. Gail Lavielle (R-143rd District) and Tom O’Dea (R-125th District) have introduced legislation that would name the stretch of Route 106 in Wilton for a World War II veteran.
Charles M. Baffo, a Wilton resident, was a first lieutenant in the Army Air Forces, which took part in the Allied invasion of Normandy. Baffo enlisted when he was 19 years old. In 1944, he was assigned to the 490th Bombardment Group and with the 8th Air Force flew both the B-24 and the B-17 Flying Fortress.
As a bomber pilot, he participated in the Allied invasion of Normandy and flew 35 missions over Germany, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism.
Born in New York, Baffo moved to New Haven after the war to attend Yale University, where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architecture. He then settled in Wilton with his wife, Joanne, and they remained there for more than 40 years, raising their four daughters. He died on Oct. 17, 2014.
To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion last year, the French government announced that it would accept applications for the Légion d'Honneur from Americans who had participated in combat at Normandy, which led to the ultimate liberation of France. It is a high distinction usually reserved for French nationals who are still living.
Baffo’s exceptional acts of valor distinguished his application in a process for awarding the decoration that has been very selective. Although he died within weeks of a decision being rendered on his application, the French government, in a rare move, approved the award posthumously because of his extraordinary service.
“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,” said Lavielle. “That his service during World War II has been recognized not only at home but also abroad testifies to its exceptional merit and distinction. While anything we might offer could not provide sufficient thanks to Mr. Baffo for his service, his valor, and his selfless devotion to defending our nation in World War II and liberating France, this small gesture of gratitude will help preserve the memory of his name and his extraordinary actions for generations to come.”
“The patriotism and heroism that Charles Baffo offered in service to this nation during World War II is rare, and cannot be understated,” said O’Dea. “His is a story and a legacy that deserves to be preserved and honored for well into the future. Naming this section of Route 106 for him is a very small but important gesture. It will show the high esteem that this community and this state holds for his selfless service, going above and beyond the call of duty in our nation’s hour of need.”
Baffo participated in the CCSU Veterans History Project in 2013, and a video interview with him about his life and service can be viewed here:
There will be a public hearing on the bill on Friday.
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