You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children’s children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done – Ronald Reagan

Through the years we’ve observed Memorial Day on these pages in a variety of ways.  Through it all, we’ve sought to instill a sense of perspective and context to an occasion that, unfortunately, most have come to recognize as a mere green light for the frivolous pursuits of the summer season.  We’ve offered a first person perspective:

Some number of years later the memory came flooding back as we learned of the terrible news. It had been while flying a low-level anti-ship cruise missile supersonic profile for a destroyer. Just a training hop. He’d taken time off from his post-command staff job to climb back in the cockpit he so dearly loved. The big Tomcat was there one minute – and gone in a cloud of flame, smoke and vapor. Little was found – and a good friend, a husband, father, and fighter NFO beyond compare was gone. CAPT Scott “Scooter” Lamoreaux, USN. Bounty Hunter One. Rest easy Scooter and know that while we all miss you, we each have our memories. Mine forever of an orange and white jet with the countenance not unlike a guppy, suspended against the Florida sky and two young buck aviators, intense on the task at hand and loving every second of it with grins a mile-wide, yet hidden behind an O2 mask, having the time of their life…  Flightdeck Friday: T-2C Edition

Other times we used to occasion of the return of an MIA from our past wars — like the story of Spectre 13, and AC-130 gunship downed in Vietnam:

It is perhaps fitting the day after Memorial Day that we learn of more former MIA’s whose remains have since been identified and returned to their loved ones. Hence, today’s story of some of crew of the AC-130A Spectre named ‘Prometheus’ – callsign Spectre 13… – SJS Airmen Missing In Vietnam War Are Identified: Spectre 13

or this one from WW2:

This raid on Ploesti wasn’t the (in)famous one from August of 1943, yet it was representative of the many missions flown against industrial and military targets in Europe and the Pacific by the men of the Army Air Corps. On this mission 438 B-17’s and B-24’s took part with loss of “only” two aircraft. As we pause to give thanks this Memorial Day for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice – for keeping the Union intact, for our freedoms, to extend that umbrella of freedom to others – freeing them from tyranny and oppression, let us give thanks and always remember.
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust, Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain; As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness, To the end, to the end, they remain.
Welcome home Lieutenant Kelly, rest easy now that your mission is complete.
Memorial Day Remembrance – Ploesti Raid Aircrewman Returns Home

Sometimes they were lost in the shadows of a war that was called Cold, but for one brief, awful instant, had gone hot for them:

15 April 1969 (Korean time) marked the final flight of a Navy VQ-1 EC-121/WV-2 callsign Deep Sea 129. Roughly 100 nm off the North Korean peninsular site where the Hermit Kingdom today defies the world with its ballistic missile tests, lies the watery grave of 31 Americans (2 bodies were later recovered):

North Korea not only acknowledged the shoot down, they loudly and boastfully celebrated their action. President Nixon suspended PARPRO flights in the Sea of Japan for three days and then allowed them to resume, only with escorts. No reparations were ever paid to the US or the families of the lost airmen.
And Kim Il-Sung celebrated another birthday (April 15th).
15 April 1969: Deep Sea 129 Shootdown

And sometimes it was when there appeared to be no war at all, like on one fall morning:

Here are our shipmates who were lost in the Navy Operations Center (NOC) {note: N513 will be posted 10 Sept}. Look closely and ponder the slice of America they represent – from every corner of the country, some first generation immigrants who were refugees of war – others from a long line that has served this country. None of them anticipated their fate when they left for work that morning from their homes in Virginia, Maryland or the District. From all walks of life they had come to serve – and ultimately to unexpectedly die together. E Pluribus Unum. Indeed, out of many, one. Rest in peace… Remembering Fallen Shipmates – Part I (N3N5)

Be they aviator or ground-pounder; dogface or nurse; Soldier, Sailor, Marine, Airman, Coast Guardsman, Merchantman, Guard or Reserve — at one time or another they answered the call.

And in so doing, all gave some — and some gave all.  So before the burgers and beer, before the green flag drops, and before the tanning lotion is applied for the first time — pause, ponder and give thanks to the Almighty that such as these gave their all so that we may remain free:

3 Comments

  1. Eagle0025

    Hi SJS,

    Been awhile since we last chatted. Here is the following list of 474th FG personnel who gave their all during WWII.

    428th Fighter Squadron:

    2Lt. Greene C. Simpson
    2Lt. Jasper L. Williams
    2Lt. Norman L. Frodenberg
    2Lt. Anthony A. Usas
    2Lt. Montgomery A. Coddington III
    2Lt. Robert S. Hansen
    1Lt. Marvin N. Vinson
    Captain Richard A. Gee
    2Lt. Robert J. Rubel
    2Lt. Charles A. Patton
    MSgt. John D. Walton
    TSgt. James W. McDonald
    1Lt. Walter B. Ingledew Jr.
    1Lt. Joseph B. Stone
    2Lt. Jerome J. Zierlein
    2Lt. Ray D. Packard
    Captain Harold A. Scott
    2Lt. Richard R. Holt
    2Lt. Reginald A. Pitzer
    2Lt. Boyd O. Edmiston
    1Lt. Hurshel L. Hopper
    2Lt. George W. Holland Jr.
    2Lt. George J. Gildow
    Captain Leland W. Smith
    1Lt. Bobbie R. Rankin
    2Lt. Adrian V. Knox
    2Lt. Carl W. Coale
    2Lt. James F. Hitchcock
    2Lt. Alexander (NMI) Zeece
    2Lt. Oliver (NMI) Berg
    2Lt. Cleo O. Beaty
    1Lt. Ralph N. Ramsey
    2Lt. George W. Alge
    2Lt. Robert H. Strong
    1Lt. Shannon E. Estill

    429th Fighter Squadron:

    2Lt. James G. Ware Jr.
    2Lt. Merle V. Ogden
    2Lt. Milton J. Merkle
    2Lt. Claude D. Kimball
    2Lt. Paul J. Heuermann
    2Lt. Clarence C. Moore
    2Lt. Glen W. Goodrich
    2Lt. Dennis R. Chamberlain
    2Lt. Harold D. Bledsoe
    F/O Ben (NMI) Higgins Jr.
    1Lt. Jack F. Greve
    Captain Charles N. Holcomb
    1Lt. Herman Q. Lane
    2Lt. Robert T. Hazzard
    2Lt. Richard (NMI) Stein
    2Lt. Robert N. Cooke
    2Lt. Gene F. Loveless
    1Lt. Lenton F. Kirkland Jr.
    2Lt. Ralph E. Byers
    1Lt. Richard V. Riggs
    2Lt. Paul M. Daily
    1Lt. George (NMI) Houston
    2Lt. Robert L. Coleman

    430th Fighter Squadron:

    Major Leon B. Temple
    2Lt. Robert J. Belford
    1Lt. Robert F. Doty
    2Lt. Marcellus D. Danish
    2Lt. Bernard B. Jacobs
    1Lt. Robert B. Holden
    1Lt. Jack M. Messinger
    Captain Robert A. Cranmer
    1Lt. Robert G. Loft
    1Lt. George H. Brewer
    Cpl. Ross C. Carey
    1Lt. Frazier R. Stair
    2Lt. Elbert J. Bradrick
    1Lt. Ernest M. Carsten
    2Lt. Walter J. Fahrenholz
    2Lt. Alfred B. Abeles
    1Lt. Kenneth V. Blum
    2Lt. Robert E. Hainley
    2Lt. Marvin E. Thomas
    1Lt. John C. Calhoun
    1Lt. James B. Gabriel
    1Lt. John B. Lamb
    2Lt. John S. Stubblefield
    2Lt. John W. Haggard

    Regards, Gary Koch (474th FG Association Historian)

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