For decades Airmen have answered the call to serve and protect the nation’s interests, its people and the cherished freedoms that underpin it all, risking their lives for others, and thus, becoming heroes in the eyes of those they protected.
From World War II to Korea to Vietnam to Iraq, 19 stories of service and heroism at war are captured in the third volume of “Veterans in Blue,” formerly known as “Pioneers in Blue.”
Launching Veteran’s Day, the new displays join those presently hanging in the Pentagon’s A ring on the 5th floor between the 8th and 9th corridors. The stories, photos and video interviews will also be available at http://www.af.mil/specials/veterans/index.html.
The veteran’s honored in this volume include:
Retired Capt. Roscoe Brown, Jr. commanded the 100th Fighter Squadron of the 332nd Fighter Group, the famed “Tuskegee Airmen.” Brown flew his first mission in August 1944, escorting B-24 bombers over Romania, and he was the first pilot in 15th Air Force to shoot down a Me-262 jet fighter.
Retired Gen. Robert Cardenas made his mark on history as one of America’s premier test pilots, a combat leader in both bombers and fighters and as the first commander of the Air Force Special Operations Force.
Former Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Arthur T. Cobert is an Army Air Corps veteran who served as a flight engineer, gunner and backup pilot on the B-25 bomber during World War II. A member of the 11th Bomb Squadron, which was one of two replacement crews for the legendary Flying Tigers, he was wounded twice during his service.
Retired Maj. Gen. Alfred Flowers enlisted in August 1965 and was stationed at Da Nang Air Base, Vietnam, during the Tet Offensives of 1968, and retired in January. He served for 13 years before being commissioned, moving through the ranks until he retired after 46 years.
Retired Col. Henry P. Fowler served in the Air Force for 27 years as a pilot, Judge Advocate, and was a P.O.W. at the Hanoi Hilton in Vietnam. He spent six years as P.O.W. after being shot down on March 26, 1967 by a surface-to-air missile.
Retired Master Sgt. Carl Hackworth served for 22 years as a mechanic and crew chief for aircraft including the B-25 Mitchell and F-100 Super Sabre and completed two tours in Vietnam and another in Thailand.
Retired Lt. Col. James Harvey, III was an original member of the famed Tuskegee Airmen and during the Korean War was the military’s first black (jet) fighter pilot to fly in Korean airspace.
Retired Col. George Hays served for more than 40 years and served in Vietnam and Thailand as an enlisted communications specialist and later was commissioned. He retired in July as the longest serving colonel in the Air Force.
Gloria Heath was one of only 1,074 women selected to be part of the Women’s Air Force Service Pilots, or WASPs. She flew B-26 bombers, towing targets for P-47 pilots for aerial gunning training and went on to shape the development of today’s worldwide search and rescue system.
Retired Col. Howard Johnson was a fighter pilot who flew more than 7,000 hours in 15 different airframes and flew 87 combat missions in the P-51, 60 as the flight lead of “The Ferocious Four.”
Retired Lt. Gen. Leroy Manor flew over Normandy during D-Day and was commander of the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Force. In 1970, he was tasked to command the contingency task force for Operation Ivory Coast, the Son Toy Raid. In total he logged more than 6,700 flying hours, including 347 combat missions in two wars.
Retired Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James McCoy was the sixth Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force. During the Taiwan crisis of August 1958, he was key to establishing the operating the wing command post that coordinated all Composite Strike Force aircraft.
Retired Lt. Col. John Mulzac was one of the original Tuskegee Airmen, joining the service at the age of 19. He served in World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam. After retiring in 1983, and three years later he became a New York City firefighter, retiring after 20 years.
Retired Col. Ralph Parr is the only American pilot to receive both the Distinguished Service Cross and the Air Force Cross. In May 1953, he achieved ace status with five kills in 11 days. He achieved double ace status in July 1953 when he made 10 kills in a seven-week period during the Korean War.
Retired Chief Master Sgt. Louis Roffman enlisted in 1936 and served for more than 31 years. He’s a Pearl Harbor survivor and later fought in the Battle of Midway.
Retired Lt. Col. Edward Saylor joined the Army Air Corps in 1936 and served as a flight engineer for the Doolittle Raiders. Following bombing Tokyo, Japan, his crew ditched their bomber in the waters near a small Chinese island. He later received a battlefield commission and received many other decorations during his 28 years of service.
Retired Capt. Gwen Sheppard is a two-time Warrior Games athlete, competing in archery, sitting volleyball and shooting. Her 27-year career began at the U.S. Air Force Academy and later included stints with the Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve and Navy Seabees.
Retired Col. Leo Thorsness flew 92 Republic F-105F Wild Weasel missions and was awarded America’s highest military decoration before he was shot down and taken prisoner in North Vietnam. For nearly 6 years, was a P.O.W. in camps such as the Hanoi Hilton and Heartbreak Hotel.
Retired Lt. Col. Richard Waring was a B-17 navigator who flew more than 35 successful bombing missions over Germany in WWII. Enlisting at the age of 20, he attended preflight, gunner and navigator school and later commissioned as an aerial navigator. He remains in retired reserve status today.
View Veterans in Blue Vol. III by visiting www.af.mil/specials/veterans/index.html.