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Robert Bluford Jr.


The Rev. Robert Bluford Jr. has been a B-24 bomber pilot in World War II, preacher, historian, preservationist, a Presbyterian pastor and campus ministry director in the Southeast, and the Virginia Press Association’s Virginian of the Year for 2011. He is also the founder and president of the Historic Polegreen Church Foundation and helped to save land around the historic Polegreen Church in Hanover County, Virginia, and was the 2004 recipient of the annual award presented by the Council of America’s First Freedom.

The retired Presbyterian minister's passions have included the Fan Free Clinic, which he helped found in 1968, and Civil War site preservation. At 92, he is still an activist, working for better treatment of Virginia's Native Americans and establishing a Civil War memorial being among his top pursuits. His Civil War dream is to plant a tree for every American killed during the war along a 100-plus-mile stretch of US 15.

The author in detail: In his younger days, Bob, a Richmond, Virginia, native, interrupted his studies for the ministry at Hampden-Sydney College in May 1942 to volunteer for the U.S. Army Air Force. He served as a B-24 bomber pilot and squadron leader in the 8th Air Force during World War II, then returned to Hampden-Sydney and graduated in 1947 as valedictorian.

He subsequently graduated, cum laude, from Union Theological Seminary in Richmond in 1950 and earned graduate degrees from the seminary in 1954 and 1957. In the 1950s, he also served as campus minister at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and in pastorates in North Carolina and South Carolina.

He was active in the civil rights movement on campuses in the 1960s and in peaceful protests of United States military involvement in Southeast Asia. In 1971, Bob was a co-founder of the Fan Free Medical Clinic in Richmond. He served on the board of directors of Planned Parenthood in Richmond. Over the last 30 years, he has served as minister or associate at Presbyterian churches in Richmond and at 86 was still active as a pastor and preacher.

During his ministry he served as a leader and volunteer in projects to preserve numerous historic sites in Virginia, including two — the Historic Polegreen Church Foundation in Hanover County and the Laurel Historic District in Henrico — that were placed on the Register of Historic Places of the U.S. Department of the Interior. He currently is director of the Douglas Southall Freeman Branch of the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities.

Since 1990, he also has been active with the United Indians of Virginia’s effort to recover nearly 2,000 skeletal remains of their ancestors from the Smithsonian Institute. He was elected to the United Indians’ board of directors in 1995 and is the only non-Indian to be recognized as a board member.

Since 1989, he has devoted time and energy to the Historic Polegreen Church Foundation, the church whose early history is told as an engrossing you-are-there story in this book by the foundation’s founder. Bob Bluford was recognized “for his determined preservation of the Polegreen meeting house site” as the Virginia recipient of the 2004 First Freedom Award bestowed by the Council for America’s First Freedom.

He has authored at least two books:
"The Battle of Totopotomoy Creek" ISBN-13 - 9781626192515
"Living on The Borders of Eternity" ISBN-12 - 2940011272318



  • Thomas Allison

    Military | Staff Sergeant (3rd Grade) | Waist Gunner | 466th Bomb Group

  • William Flesher

    Military | First Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 466th Bomb Group
    Flew missions over Bielefeld Bridge,Regensburg and Osnabruck

  • Robert Lynch

    Military | First Lieutenant | Navigator | 466th Bomb Group

  • Ben Mackowiak

    Military | Staff Sergeant (3rd Grade) | Radio Operator | 466th Bomb Group

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Units served with

  • 466th Bomb Group

    466th Bomb Group

    The 466th Bomb Group flew B-24 Liberators from Attlebridge, Norfolk, during the last year of the war in Europe. The Group flew 232 missions in the course of the year and celebrated the 100th one by inviting local people onto the base to mark the...

  • 784th Bomb Squadron
  • 785th Bomb Squadron


  • 42-110160 Chris' Crate

    B-24 Liberator

  • 44-50699 Parson's Chariot

    B-24 Liberator

  • 44-40454 Betta Duck

    B-24 Liberator
    Originally assigned to 493rd Bomb Group. Transferred to the 34th Bomb Group in early June 1944 and completed missoins from 12 June 1944 to 24 August 1944. Later transferred to the 466th Bomb Group, and eventually flown back to the US by Carl W Falk...


Associated Place

  • Attlebridge

    Military site : airfield
    Attlebridge was constructed for RAF use and completed to that standard in 1942. However, with news that it was to be assigned to the American Air Force, the runways were extended and additional hardstandings and outbuildings constructed for the heavy...


Event Location Date
Lived in Richmond, VA, USA 1943

3127 Woodrow Avenue

Graduated Farmville, VA, USA 1947

Hampden-Sydney College


Date Contributor Update
02 August 2016 01:27:38 466thHistorian Changes to aircraft associations

466th BG Archives - 4 March 1945 mission formation plan

Date Contributor Update
02 October 2015 00:20:41 466thHistorian Changes to service number

466th BG Historian

Date Contributor Update
02 October 2015 00:01:56 466thHistorian Changes to biography and events

Date Contributor Update
24 May 2015 01:47:01 466thHistorian Changes to suffix, highest rank and events

466th BG Historian

Date Contributor Update
24 May 2015 01:45:04 466thHistorian Changes to media associations

466th BG Historian

Date Contributor Update
31 October 2014 14:12:30 466thHistorian Changes to media associations

Chris Brasfield

Date Contributor Update
30 October 2014 22:41:51 466thHistorian Changes to unit associations, place associations and mission associations

Chris Brassfield

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:22:50 AAM AAM ingest

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Unit roster in the book ATTLEBRIDGE ARSENAL by Wassom & Brassfield, p 343