Memorial Tribute

In honor of Memorial Day and those who made the ultimate sacrifice, the Commemorative Air Force is calling upon the public to share a moment of digital remembrance. In the absence of public Memorial Day events, we invite you to submit a photo of a veteran who made the ultimate sacrifice, along with a brief synopsis of their military story. CAF will feature select memorial stories on our social media channels and blog throughout May, as we take a moment to remember service members across all branches. By sharing stories of those who selflessly served, protected and fought to ensure our freedom, we will strive to uphold our commitment to Educate, Inspire, and Honor.

By submitting photos and testimonial through this form, you give CAF the right to reproduce, edit and use all submitted materials in print and online in perpetuity.

You can also use the tag on a social media post #CAFMemorialDayMemories @CAF1957



Blog Posts

Stephen Pedone. Lt. Col., USAF, Ret.

The D-Day Pilot and Flight Nurse

Late on the evening of 5 June, 1944, two brave young Americans were poised for the greatest challenge and risk of their lives. Both “answered the call” to military service, and represent the thousands of others from America’s greatest generation, who were in harm’s way, on D-Day, 6 June, 1944.

They were my parents, and I am their only son, Lt. Col. Stephen Pedone, USAF, from Naples, FL. I tell their story, in my article titled, “The D-Day Pilot and Flight Nurse”. My dad was Captain Vito Pedone, and my mother was First Lieutenant Geraldine (Jerry)...

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Lt. Robert K. Williams, 13th Air Force, 42nd Bomb Group, 390th squadron

My uncle 2nd Lt. Robert K. Williams, age 23. KIA 20 Jan 1944 while engaged in a bombing mission over Rabaul, New Britain in B-25 "Skilla" along with 5 other crew members. His remains were positively identified 2003 by CILHI. The remains of "Skilla" are on display at the military museum in Rabaul New Britain. He was a copilot for the 13th Air Force, 42nd Bomb Group, 390th squadron

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Joseph M Mitzuk, 9th Air Force 322nd BG 450th BS.

My grandfather's name was Joseph M Mitzuk. He served in Europe as a crew chief on B-26 Maurader, 9th Air Force 322nd BG 450th BS. (https://www.americanairmuseum.com/aircraft/964)


Remembering Grandpa Joe today and all of his stories. He was a World War II vet who served as a crew chief of a B-26 Marauder. I mowed his lawn during the summer in high school and after I got done with yard work I could grab a Barq's Rootbeer from the fridge in the basement and we'd talk. He'd talk about his time on the railroad or growing up on the East Side of St. Paul, more often than not though his...

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Captain Jack Ferris

"Captain Mac” was a close friend of my parents, (then) Captain “Jack” Ferris and my Mom Katherine when they were all stationed at March Field, CA circa 1939. There Mac became my oldest sister, Patsy’s godfather. They were all transferred to Hickham Field in Hawaii before December 7, 1941. After the Japanese attack, then Colonel Jack Ferris went on to become Commander of The Hawaiian Air Depot at Hickham Field with the 7th AF for the duration of the War. Mac went to Australia where he participated in a series of test flights to evaluate a new air drop weapon: napalm. On his final mission...

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Grant Hubert Cory

First Lieutenant Grant Hubert Cory was a member of the 38th Fighter Sqd., 55th Fighter Group, stationed at Air Station 159, Wormingford, Essex, UK. This was the first P-38 unit in the ETO in WWII. He was the pilot of P-38, serial number 42-104284, which took off on 23 June 1944, with 3 squadrons of P-38s, 49 planes, to bomb the bridge at Sens, FR. He was shot down at 1430 by flak, the plane exploded and crashed at the Guinette Farm, Etampes, 12 miles NE of Dreux, FR. He is memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing at the Brittany American Cemetery, St. James, FR, and on a headstone in the...

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Maj John S Oldham

In memory of MAJOR John S. Oldham DOB 07/03/33 Date of Casualty 06/11/67 Branch of Service Marine Corps Status MIA Province Quang Tri, Vietnam

Major Oldham was my Great Uncle whom I never knew. He is honored on Panel 21E, Row 91 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.

Very Respectfully,

Randy Herbel, CDR, USN

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Daniel L Robinson

Mr.Daniel Lee Robinson.US,,and Afghanistan, Desert Storm,Iraq,Persian Golf Campaign Veteran Rtd. Served for twenty five yrs. AF/NG/Veteran/Rtd Colonel 5 Star General.

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William Huder Baumeister

William G. “Huder” Baumeister, Jr. was a P-38 Lightning pilot during World War II. He married his sweetheart shortly before deployment; they never saw each other again.

Lt. Baumeister flew in the TENTH A.A.F. 459th Fighter Squadron, the “Twin Dragons”, out of Chittagong in the China-Burma-India theater. He died in action at 23 years old while returning from a B-24 bomber escort mission over Rangoon, Burma. He was awarded the Purple Heart and the Distinguished Flying Cross. 1st Lieutenant Baumeister was laid to rest at Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

He gave...

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Jesse Buddy Beamon

Jesse "Buddy" Beamon was a dear friend to many, and friendly to all in Haines City, Florida and its namesake high school. He was a beloved brother, cousin, uncle, son, friend, co-worker, classmate, and friend.

A few years after highschool he decided to enlist and serve. Thus, he entered the U.S. Navy and became a hospital corpsman (HN). Tragically, he was killed in action on his first deployment. Overseas, in Lebanon...on a peacekeeping mission. He was survived by his wife and their soon to be born son. RIP Jesse W. Beamon, HN, U.S.Navy. October 22, 1960 - October 23, 1983.

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Daniel (Tex) Rupert Giddens, US, Army

Daniel (Tex) Rupert Giddens from Wichita Falls, Texas entered the service after school. He was assigned to the 8th Army Air Corps, stationed at Horham, England after training. He was a turret gunner on the B17 bomber. During the 6 March 1944 mission for a daylight raid over Berlin, he was shot in the chest and killed. The plane went down and the other nine crewmen were taken as POWs. He is buried at the American National Cemetery in Belgium.

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Chester C. Poole, US Army

This is a tribute to Chester C. Poole-a native of El Dorado, Arkansas. I did not personally know him or his family, but I have had the privilege to get to know about him through my work at the Arkansas Air and Military Museum. Chester Poole served honorably in the Army Air Corps from 1942-1944. He was trained as a bombardier at San Angelo Army Air Field before being shipped overseas to engage in the air war over Europe. Once there, he served as a bombardier on B-24 Liberators. On September 27, 1944 Chester Poole died when his Liberator (Special Delivery II) collided with another aircraft on...

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Jeremy Daniel Smith, Staff Sergeant (USMC)

Jeremy Smith joined the marines in 2003. He served in three combat tours in Iraq as a vehicle commander in 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance where he achieved the rank of Sergeant. He got out of the Active Duty Marines and joined the Lone Star Battalion active duty reserve unit out of Houston, during which time he was promoted to Staff Sergeant. In January 2011 his reserve unit deployed to Afghanistan, where his platoon was detached from the Lone Star Battalion and attached to the Marine 2nd Recon fighting in Sangin Valley in the Helmand Province. Jeremy was killed April 06, 2011, in a...

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Raymond W. Gill, US Navy

Raymond W. Gill, US Navy Born in 1923 in Warrenton, Virginia, he was drafted in the US Navy in 1944. Raymond completed four weeks basic training at Camp Peary, Virginia, near Williamsburg. He served on the USS Washington, a troop transport, the USS Kadashan Bay, and the USS Cowpens CVL-25 as a Seaman First Class-Gunner. Raymond was honorably discharged in May 1946 and returned to live in Warrenton until his passing in 1998. He was authorized to wear the American Area medal, World War II Victory medal, Asiatic-Pacific medal, the Phillipine Liberation medal, and the Navy Unit Commendation...

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Mr. Daniel Lee Robinson ,AF/NG/Veteran/Rtd

Mr. Daniel Lee Robinson ,AF/NG/Veteran/Rtd. U.S. Afghanistan, Desert Storm,Iraq , Campaign Veteran Rtd. AIM HIGH

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1st Lt John H. Leahr, Tuskegee Airmen

In 1939, under pressure from the NAACP and the black press, the War Department authorized the creation of an ALL black flying unit. Tuskegee Airmen Leahr was a member of the 332nd Fighter Group and flew as a combat pilot with the 301st Squadron. John, prior to becoming a Documented Original Tuskegee Airmen (DOTA) was a Cincinnati native who graduated from Withrow High School. He attended Wilberforce University and the University of Cincinnati. This gave him the two years of college needed to become an aviation cadet and not be drafted. John H. Leahr was one of 1,000 men who was trained...

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Frederic Cushing Cross Jr., US NAVCAD

Frederic Cushing Cross Jr. was a Naval Aviation Cadet classmate of my father in 1941 at NAS Pensacola. On August 3, 1943 Lt (jg) Frederic Cushing Cross Jr. with a crew of two departed Floyd Bennett Field, New York flying a Lockheed PV-1 Ventura (VP-128 Bomb Squadron) to investigate the report of a German U-Boat sighting 300 miles of the Virginia coast. Cross's PV-1 Ventura equipped with air-to-surface radar located the German U-boat, U-566 on the surface. Cross dove his PV-1 to attack the U-boat and in a hail of 20mm anti-aircraft cannon fire from the U-boat was mortally...

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George Alex Jr., US Navy

On June 6, 1944, a young man from South St. Paul, Minnesota was among the thousands of US Troops that made history and defended our freedom with the invasion of Normandy. That young man was my dad, George Alex, Jr. During the Normandy Invasion he served on board LCI (L) 414.

George Alex Jr. was born on September 2nd 1925 and entered the U.S. Navy after his 18th birthday on November 12th, 1943. He was assigned to the LCI (L) 414 on March 17th, 1944, and by March 24th, he departed Norfolk, Virginia on board the LCI (L) 414, bound for England. His ship reached Falmouth, England on April...

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Jerry J. Furla, Pfc., US Army,

My late Uncle, Jerry J. Furla, Pfc., US Army, enlisted at the age of 19 years old on 02 AUG 44 in the US Army . He served with Company E, 333rd Infantry Regiment, 84th Infantry Division during World War II. He was Killed In Action and was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart medal. His name is inscribed on WWII Court of Honor at Soldiers Memorial in the City of St. Louis.

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Selden Edner, 121 Eagle Squadron, RAF; Executive Officer USAAC, Europe, 4th Fighter Squadron, 8th Air Force

Selden R. Edner

Joined the Royal Air Force via the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1941 after being rejected by the U.S. Army Air Corps due to his height (too tall for then existing cockpits - 6'6" flew Hurricans, Spitfires, P-47, P-51; more history below.

His daughter a retired nurse, Christine lives in Prescott, Arizona having moved there in 2017. His son Selden, lives in Santa Barbara, California. Hometown: San Jose, California Rank: Lieutenant Colonel MOS: 1055 - Pilot, single engine fighter Unit: 335th Fighter Squadron 336th Fighter Squadron 4th Headquarters Squadron Aircraft:...

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Claude Edward, Martin, HHC 3/21st Infantry 24th Infantry Division

In memory of my cousin, Claude Edward, (Eddie) Martin, Poplar Bluff MO. HHC 3/21st Infantry 24th Infantry Division. KIA, 12 July 1950. I was so young, I only remember "a soldier in uniform".

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Patrick Osborne Ford, US Navy

Patrick Osborne Ford was born on 2 May 1942 in San Francisco, Cal. and later moved to Phoenix, Ariz., where he graduated North High School and enlisted in the Navy. He completed basic training at San Diego, Cal., and reported aboard USS James E. Kyes (DD 787) serving as a Gunner's Mate until the end of his enlistment in 1963. GMG2 Ford reenlisted in 1965 and served at the Naval Station, Long Beach, Cal. In 1966, he was transferred to the Naval Support Activity, Danang, Republic of Vietnam, where he was to report aboard USS George K. MacKenzie (DD 836). Following completion of his tour...

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Gerald George Lehman, USS Oklahoma (BB-37)

The tribute goes to who would be my second cousin Gerald George Lehman. "Cousin Jerry" served aboard the USS Oklahoma (BB-37). Jerry was a Fireman 3rd Class. He along with 428 of his fellow shipmates died on December 7th 1941. Due to the long time it took to right the ship and extract the dead he and may of the sailors were interred as "Unknowns" in the Punch Bowl Cemetery. It was not until 2010 when advanced DNA assessment was used to ID the remains. Due to a relative who saved his letters home he as able to be ID'ed and returned to MI for burial. My dad was in the USCG during WWII he was...

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Richard James Ahern, USS Arizona

The photo is of my uncle, Richard James Ahern who is entombed with his shipmates on the USS Arizona. I did not know him in person but if he is like the many other members of my family who have served their country via military service I would think that he would not have minded having to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to make the world a safer place. Rest in peace!

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Dad, Navy Communication Officer

Dad, I learned how lucky I am to be alive. Your job as a Navy Communications Officer on the North Atlantic between 1941 and 1944 escorting convoys between New York/Norfolk and England and back was a lot more dangerous than I thought. The routes you were on were the routes where the Nazis sank more shipping than any other Atlantic routes by a lot. Had you not made it on 1 of those 22 missions, I wouldn't be typing this today. Thank you Pop.

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Floyd Theis, US Navy

I’d like to pat tribute to my Uncle Floyd Theis US Navy. He served in WWII and is very proud of his service to our country. He turned 94 in January of this year. He is a retired Milwaukee Firefighter. Still at the age of 94 he and my Aunt still Ballroom dance. He is an amazing man.

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Tribute to Unknown Soldier

Someone is always guarding the tomb even right now. The tomb has been there for more than 100 years.

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Doris Miller, US Navy, WWII

Doris Miller, served in the U.S. Navy as a Mess Attendant Third Class, which was one of the few ratings open to Black sailors at that time. Miller was aboard the West Virginia in Hawaii when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. His courage and "Can do mentality" with a heart of warrior, Doris Miller shot down Japanese aircraft and was able to help save several of injured sailors through fire and smoke and a sea of blood and water. President Roosevelt approved him for the Navy Cross, The third-highest combat award in the Navy. On May 27, 1942, Miller was personally awarded his...

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Harlon Block, WWII Marine

His image is famous his name may not be. Harlon Block was Texas boy who, along with some of his friends, joined the US Marines in 1943. Harlon was a good friend to others. He was even expelled from private school when he wouldn’t tell on a friend who had vandalized the school. As a private in the Marines Harlon went to paratroop training and qualified to be a Paramarine. He served in the Pacific Theater for a few months before returning to Camp Pendleton for training. He received extensive training for a very important specific mission in September 1944, the invasion of Iwo Jima. On...

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