As I do every Memorial Day, a salute to all those Americans who have lost their lives fighting in foreign wars. I would add that while it is always nice to celebrate a living veteran, our thoughts today should be turned to those who died in service rather than those fortunate enough to return home alive.
A special salute to Major Brian Mescall, a graduate of the Citadel, who was killed in action in Afghanistan. And one to Captain Ray Conard, killed in his B-24 during WWII (he was a member of the 734th Bomber Squadron, 453rd Bomber Group in Britain). This may be the story (though I haven’t been able to verify it) of what happened to Captain Conard:
MISSION # 182 – BIELEFELD, GERMANY – 26 NOV. – SUN.
41 aircraft flew on to bomb a railway viaduct just outside Bielefeld. Using a visual correction through a cloud break on a PFF run, 101 tons fell on the target with fair results.
For the third time in the month, tragedy stalked the 734th Squadron. Capt. Conard, leading mission 182, crashed a few miles from the base. Apparently unable to get his plane to climb, Capt. Conard jettisoned his bomb load. Never over a few hundred feet above ground, the ship lost altitude steadily and headed for two homes about forty or fifty feet apart. Unable to climb over them or fly between them, [Capt Conard stood the big ship on its right wing and cartwheeled between them.]* Capt. Conard’s action is believed by Major McFadden and Col. Thomas, who investigated the crash, to have been deliberate in order to avoid striking the homes and injuring or killing the occupants. His courageous action cost him his life along with the lives of his crew, but the occupants of the homes were in no way harmed, This, despite the fact that an engine damaged a corner of one of the homes as it was dislodged from the plane. Capt. Conard has been recommended for the DSC, posthumously.
*added in some versions of the story found on the web