Memorial Tribute

Leave A Message of Remembrance

In honor of Memorial Day, the Commemorative Air Force invites you to leave a Message of Remembrance as a tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom. Use this form to remember a special veteran by submitting their name, leaving a message, or telling the heroic story of how they selflessly served our country.

On Memorial Day, we will feature some of your notes and stories on our social media channels as a way to honor and remember all service members who lost their lives in the fight for freedom.



Blog Posts

Memorial Tribute - CPT John A. Kemp US Army

USMA class of 1961. You went so far from the coal fields and mountains of West Virginia where we grew up. Lost over skies of Vietnam, I will always miss you. You were always my hero. You still are! I am, and always will be your loving "little brother."

-Howard McAlister

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Memorial Tribute - Charles Allen

Charles Allen 2nd Lt. Bombardier B-17 Flyin Hobo (42-30015) 305th Bomb Group/366th Bomb Squadron K.I.A. Bremen Mission Nov 26, 1943. God Bless All Our Heroes and Veterans..Remember them all!

Dave Metzler

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Robert "Buddy" Hovland 2nd Lt 8th air force 457th bomb group 749th squadron

Buddy Hovland was born in Racine Wisconsin and was a B-17 Co-pilot. He was killed while evading capture on his 3rd mission after flak caused an engine fire on his bomber the Denver Bandit. His actions to free the pilot and help him into a parachute saved the pilot's life.

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Col James "Nick" Rowe, US Army

Col Rowe was one of a few who successfully escaped captivity in Vietnam. His experiences were used to train future personnel in survival, evasion and escape. We had a homecoming parade for him in 1969 in McAllen, Texas. I was in grade school, I attended. In April of 1989, he was assassinated in Manila. My squadron was preparing to deploy, Manila would be one of our destinations.

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Burrel F. Newman, 527th Bombardment Squadron, 379th Bombardment Group

I would like to recognize my grandfather, Burrel Franklin Newman, who died over Germany in 1943 at the age of 27. He was a parachute infantryman before he joined the Air Corps and became a B-17 pilot. He left behind a wife and two young sons that also later became Air Force pilots ( & two grandsons that became military pilots). I often think about how he didn't get to live into old age and see his sons grow up and feel like we, the living, owe it to those that never returned to make the most of the lives we were given and never take for granted the sacrifices they made.

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2nd Lt Orville F. Card, 705 Squadron, 446th BG

Orville F. Card, my mother’s brother, graduated from Mt. Clemens High School in 1940. When World War II came, he joined the U. S. Army Air Corps. He trained at various air bases out west, including Lemoore in California and at Marfa, Texas, eventually qualifying as a bomber co-pilot. A 2nd Lieutenant, he was assigned to the 705th Squadron in the 446th Bomb Group which had received new B-24 Liberator bombers. The men of the 446th embarked on the RMS Queen Mary in October 1943 and headed for England. The wing was based at Bungay in Suffolk, about 100 miles northeast of London, and they...

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Lieutenant William “Bill” Johnson

Lieutenant William “Bill” Johnson died on April 13, 1944, when the B-17 he was piloting, known as "Spare Parts," crashed near Hamstreet, Kent, U.K. Johnson stayed with the plane to give his crew time to bail out, and died after directing the stricken plane away from a populated area.

Johnson was written about in this article in 2014: https://www.kentonline.co.uk/ashford/news/hamstreet-marks-us-aviators-life-saving-15724/

I learned about Bill Johnson in the 1990s, when my parents bought a puppy from Johnson's sister, a dog breeder named Doris Omley. She had a small model of "Spare...

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Staff Sergeant William Minnis Land

Flying his 46th mission on July 22, 1944 as radio operator and waist gunner, 19 year old SSgt. Billie Land was mortally wounded by flak while attacking the Ploesti Romano Americana Oil Refinery (German fuel source). Billie's B-24 was assigned to the 15th AAF/47th BW/449th BG/717th BS flying out of Grottaglie Airfield, Italy. During mission 102 the flak was especially heavy with severe damage to the plane, wounding numerous crew members of Billie's plane. The aircraft returned to base with a shot up tail and leaking hydraulics, making a dramatic landing from which the crew survived. Billie...

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Lt. John R. Anderson, 85th Fighter Squadron, USAAF

Lt. John R. Anderson, from Jamestown, NY, was one of the original pilots of the 79th Fighter Group's 85th Squadron, the "Flying Skulls," and went overseas with the group to North Africa in October, 1942, during World War II.

On 21 April 1943, on his 55th mission and likely flying his P-40F Warhawk named Oh, Honey, he was shot down by a Bf-109 during a mission to bomb shipping in the Gulf of Tunis. Although seen by fellow pilots to bail out over the water, he was never seen nor heard from again. He was 22 years old.

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Crew of The Lady Be Good

Sam Adams. Sam was the tail gunner in the B-24 bomber named The Lady be Good which disappeared in the Libyan dessert in 1943. He was from Eureka, Illinois, and was the only married crewman in this group. He was a replacement tail gunner since the original crew member went AWOL after arriving in the war zone. Sam's wife was PG at the time of his disappearance. His B-24 was discovered in 1959 I after laying in the dessert for 16 years by a group searching for oil locations. Sam's remains were discovered with five other crewmen in 1961. In time Sam's only son who was now 18 learned about his...

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Gary Morgan Johnson, 45th Medical Company, US Army

Remembering my best pal when we served during the Vietnam War, my college room-mate and fraternity brother at Texas Tech. On February 5, 1969, Gary and crew was flying a night hoist rescue mission in the Long Khanh Province when he and his helicopter were driven away from the rescue site by arms fire, twice returned and on the third hoist attempt were hit by an rpg, whereupon the helicopter exploded and all were kia. Those memories of the radio call "Red Baron down" haunt me to this day. Gary and his crew were awarded the Silver Star posthumously.....for gallantry in action against an...

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Stephen Peter Pedone, Lt. Col. U.S. Air Force, Ret.

Flight Officer Stephen Peter Pedone, U.S. Army Air Force

On this Memorial Day, 2020, please to remember and honor our fallen Pedone family member, Flight Officer Stephen Peter Pedone, who was killed in a B-24 bomber aircraft crash near Davis Monthan Airbase, Tucson, Arizona, during World War II, on 14 September 1944, while instructing a new pilot in how to fly the B-24 bomber. He was 21 years old.

Here is a brief background: Like his older brother, Vito, Stephen had been a student at North Carolina State College, Raleigh, NC, studying Aeronautical Engineering. Stephen would also leave...

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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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