Edward Sieber of Sanibel and Minneapolis, passed away on September 24th at age 97 when he slipped the surly bonds of earth and made his final flight. He was born in St. Paul, Minnesota in l923 to Charles and Elsie Sieber. He attended the University of Minnesota School of Engineering until he volunteered for the US Navy in l943.
Sieber began flight training in March, 1943 at Wildwood, New Jersey on the infamous HellDiver or SB2C, which was notoriously unstable. He was commissioned ten months later in San Francisco. On April 7, l945, his aircraft carrier USS Bennington anchored in Ulithi Atoll where hundreds of ships were preparing to invade Iwo Jima. Reconnaissance planes spotted the Japanese super ship Yamato in the East China Sea, streaming toward Okinawa. Ed and his group of four were scrambled to the attack and were the first to reach the Yamato. Leading the strike, the four dive bombers made direct hits on the gun turrets, for which Ed received the Navy Cross. For earlier battles in the Pacific, he was also awarded the Silver Star, two Distinguished Flying Crosses and four Air Medals.
Seven articles featuring Sieber’s hit on the Yamato, including a YouTube video of Ed’s talk at the WWII Museum in Naples, Florida, where he describes in vivid detail the events leading up to his heroic and successful attack on the Japanese Supership the Yamato are on Google. In 2003, Sieber was selected to represent the American pilots’ experience, when he was called to the Washington Navy Yard for the PBS NOVA film “Sinking the Supership”. He had perfect recall of the details of the event, but made it clear to his interviewers he has since concluded that “war is hell and total insanity”.
When interviewing for a pilot’s job in Minneapolis after the war, he was told, “I’ve got to be crazy to hire a dive bomber pilot to fly old ladies across the country, but you’ve got all those medals. Just don’t make me regret it”. Sieber first flew for Mid-Continent Airlines and then most of his 34 year career with Braniff Airlines. After retiring from his career as a commercial airline pilot, he formed his company Diversified Realty, and remained active in real estate until he moved to Sanibel, Florida in 2000.
Ed was predeceased by his first wife Mary of Minneapolis, Minnesota. They had three children, Sue MacDonald of Victoria, Minnesota; Jeff Sieber of Minnetonka, Minnesota, and Joan Ware of Buena Vista, Colorado. In addition to his three children, Ed is survived by his wife, June, whom he married in 2001 when he moved to Sanibel and built his home. He is also survived by his brother Harold Sieber and sister Shirlee Berg, both of Minnesota, step-son Jeff Glosser of Austin, Texas, ten grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
After moving to Sanibel, Ed became active in the Sanibel Christian Science Church as a Reader and Sunday School Teacher, in Democratic politics, as well as working with other churches to distribute food to the needy. His family and friends would applaud the description of Ed from his Presidential Citation which reads: “for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity”. No memorial service is scheduled at this time due to Covid concerns.