William E. Kepner
WILLIAM E. KEPNER was born Jan 6, 1893 in Miami County, Indiana. He served four years in the Marine Corps.
He was appointed a 2nd Lt. in the Indiana
National Guard. Served in the infantry on
the Mexican border.
During the First World
War he commanded a company at Chateau-Thierny. Commanded a battalion and was
engaged in most of the battles where Americans were involved. He remained in the military and acquired a thorough knowledge of
airships. He commanded airship schools in
Langley, Va. and at Scott Field, III. He flew
in four National and International air races.
While in command of the 9th Bombardment
Sqdn. at March Field, CA he completed flying school as an Army Air Corps pilot in
1932. In 1934, he served as pilot and commander of the stratosphere flight "Explorer I" attaining an altitude of 61,000 ft. before
the balloon ripped open, and he had to parachute from a minimum altitidue of 300 ft.
He escorted Maj. Ira Eaker in the first blind
instrument flight from the Atlantic to the
Pacific Ocean. This was in two single-seater
fighter planes. . . P-12s.
He graduated from
the Air Corps Tactical School and the Command and General Staff School. He commanded the Eighth Pursuit Group in 1938.
He pioneered the ground observer with telephone response to bomber attack and the
ground to air support concept. He was
assigned as Chief of Staff First Air Force,
N.Y. and in 1941 organized and commanded the First Support Command. In 1942 promoted to Brig. General and made Commander of Fourth Interceptor Com.mand at March AFB, CA.
He was appointed
Commanding General of the Fourth Air
Force in March 1943 and Sept. 1943
assumed command of the Eighth Fighter
Command, ETO. He organized the protective fighter plane escort for all U.S. 8th Bomber Command.
Under his guidance the
8th Fighter Command was key factor in the
destruction of the German Air Force in the
air and on the ground. It played a decisive
factor in the Normandy invasion establishing a circular protective screen 50 miles
around the beachhead.
He was named Commanding General of the 2nd Bombardment
Division of the 8th A.F. The command consisted of approximately 900 4 engine bombers, and 500 P-51, and
P-47s. In May
1945, he assumed command of the 8th Air
Force and was a part of the American/Allies
who received the German's final surrender
at Rheims, France.
In August 1945, he
became Commanding General of the 9th
A.F., which was the occupational Air Force
in Europe. Gen. Kepner participated in 24
missions over hostile areas, lO in fighter aircraft, 14 in bombers. He is rated a command
pilot, combat observer, senior balloon pilot,
zeppelin pilot, semi-rigid pilot, metalclad airship pilot.
Also civilian Rated helicopter
pilot, and glider pilot. He commanded
Army, Navy aviation in "Operations Crossroads" first pacific atom tests and other
atomic related activities.
In 1948 he was
appointed Commanding General of Eglin Proving Ground, FL, and in 1950, Commander-in-Chief of Alaskan Command.
was awarded the DSC, purple heart, DFC,
Legion of Merit - two clusters, DSM -
one cluster, Bronze Star, Air Medal, USMC
Good Conduct Medal, and many many foreign decorations and awards.
He retired as
Lt. Gen. in February, 1953. In 1980, he
was presented the REVOREDO Trophy by
the International Flight Research Corporation at the 8th Air Force Reunion in Orlando, FL.
P-47 transition followed at Pocatello, Idaho and Greenville, Texas after which he was assigned to the 56th Fighter Group in England. When the news of his arrival reached Berlin, Hitler retired to his bunker with his cyanide capsule and revolver. Eva found the news equally depressing.
Asa A. Adair
He returned to the States in August of 1944 after participating in the invasion "D" Day. He flew P-63's, P-51's, F-80's, T-33's, F-84's, T-38's, P-47's in numerous assignments during the following twenty years in in, Japan, U.S.A. and Europe before retiring after twenty-six years of Active Duty.
Edward B. Addison
The 507th Fighter Group, equipped with P-47N's, won the Presidential Unit Citation for destroying 32 Japanese aircraft in the air on one mission to Seoul, Korea. The average flying time for raids to Korea and Japan would be 7 to 9 hours flying time. In a total of 31 months, the 507th not only provided top cover for B-29's, but also
dive-bombed, napalm-bombed and flew low-level on strafing missions.
Levon B. Agha-Zarian
It is rumored that he, took his primary training on a flying rug. He flew Spits, briefly, in England, but as the, war moved to the East, he was sent to India as a Sgt. Pilot and first saw action from Ceylon, flying the Curtiss P.36, the Brewster Buffalo, and the Hurricane. At this point he might have opted for the rug! This was at the time of the fall of Singapore and the sinking of the Prince of Wales and the Repulse.
George N. Ahles
Posted to A-20 light bomber squadron Barksdale Field, Louisiana. . Group moved to Hunter Air Base Savannah, Georgia. Qualified for Pilot training November 1940. Entered Aviation Cadets January 1942. Presented wings November 1942 class of 42-J. Married Mary Louise while in Advanced Pilot Training at Craig AFB, Selma, Alabama, September 1942.
Roy J. Aldritt
Shortly after the group moved to France he ran into some unseen flak and was forced to make a nylon descent behind the lines; some evasion and a lot of luck had him back with his unit
in 24 hours.
Eugene J. Amaral
After graduation from Stonington High School he enlisted as an Aviation Cadet in December 1942 and was called to active duty in March, 1943. He received his wings and commission at Spence Field, Georgia as a member of the Class of 43-C.
Talmadge L. Ambrose
Flew 84 missions thru VE Day, was downed by 22mm ground fire over Siefried Line. He destroyed 11 enemy aircraft, 9 known confirmed in air and on
ground, including 4 FW 190-D's in one afternoon over Hanover, Germany, April 8, 1945. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross,
Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, 17 man, Oak Leaf Clusters, Good Conduct Medal, Pacific Theatre and European Theatre Meda1s with 5 Battle
Stars and Unit Citation Medal.
John C. Anderson
After P-47 transition he was assigned to the 406th Fighter Group, 512th Fighter Squadron. (E.T
.0.) He flew 56 missions through January, 1945 destroying supply routes, bridges, and railroads; he also flew close support missions with the ground forces, with attacks on tanks, artillery and enemy positions.
It was not always flak,two ME-109's beat the hell out of me one day. The central controller called me and said "Basher-Red Leader do you have contact Bandits," I replied, "I sure do, I'll bring them over the field in 3 minutes, they're chasing me home." Got all the usual medals including two Belgium and two French but one I'm most proud of is the Silver Star -it is the greatest.