Thursday, August 16, 2012

Honoring a True Hero

The Lockheed Lightning is more than a piece of historyby Douglas P.

Born in Waterloo, Iowa, in 1920, my father joined the United States Army in 1942 as a private and was commissioned later that year. He served as a fighter pilot in a P-38 for 13 months and flew 50 combat missions over Italy, Germany, Africa and the Balkans. He was also a flight commander for 30 missions, a group operations officer and a group engineering and supply officer. He completed his service as section commander over a squadron of 60 men for Western Defense of Japanese balloons.My father received several awards for his exemplary service, including the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with five battle stars, an air medal with 10 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Distinguished Flying Cross and a Congressional Unit Citation, also with 10 Oak Leaf Clusters. He was discharged in 1946 and died of cancer in 1979, leaving a wife of 32 years, six children and 12 grandchildren.

Photo 1: A letter from Lockheed, 1943

Photo 2: The face of exemplary service and courage

Photo 3: A hero's aircraft