By no means complete, but hopefully the short profiles below are a representative sample of the men and women of the Delaware Air National Guard. Some of these profiles are linked to longer fuller biographies elsewhere on this site.
Lt Col Ross Adams commanded the 142nd beginning in June 1948, succeeding Major Presson L. Shane. He was the commander when the unit was federalized for Korea. Adams was awarded the Delaware Conspicuous Service Cross in 1951. In 1952 Adams had amassed 6300 flying hours since 1941, serving in four major campaigns in Europe. He came to Wilmington with Trans World Airlines from Kansas City in 1948. After the unit was federalized, Adams moved up to command the 113th Fighter Interceptor Group. In February 1952, he was named commander of the “Screamin’ Demons” of the 49th Fighter Bomber Wing in Korea. While in Korea he was awarded his fourth oak leaf cluster for the Distinguished Flying Cross credited with some five aerial victories over 100 combat missions. He moved to California after the Korean War as a result of his TWA job. A native of Florida, Adams flew 80 combat missions in the Mediterranean Theater during WWII. His wife Elaine and his daughter Diane resided at 109 Harding Avenue, Silview during their residence in Wilmington.
Chaplain, Brig. Gen. George C. Allen II was the Air National Guard assistant to the chief of chaplain service, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. He served as the primary liaison between the Air National Guard chaplain service and the USAF chaplain service. The Air National Guard Chaplain Service performs federal and state missions and includes more than 550 chaplains and enlisted support personnel. Father Allen deployed as chaplain with unit and joint service missions to 14 countries between 1979 and 1995.
Clarence “Ed” Atkinson, was a charter member, Delaware Air National Guard. A combat veteran of the Army Air Force in World War II flying bombers in the Pacific, and later a fighter pilot in Korea with the legendary 4th Fighter Wing, Atkinson was the original adjutant to the newly formed 142nd Fighter Squadron. He said, “I did not get into organizing the unit itself. That was all done by full- time people at the armory…In fact; I was told I was the first man ever contacted about the Air National Guard by Col Warren Perry.”
AIC Harry J. Bacon was awarded the nation's second highest non-combatant award on November 20, 1952 for braving the danger of blazing gasoline and the possibility of exploding ammunition to mve a flaming airplane from the vicinity of another at New Castle Air Base. The tip tanks of an F-94 jet were inadvertently jettisoned causing hundreds of gallons of fuel to flood the aircraft parking ramp. Hot fumes form a nearby auxiliary power generator ignited the fuel. His medal was presented by Capt. David F. McCallister Jr., commanding officer of the 142nd.
Major General Hugh T. Broomall is the Special Assistant to the Director, Air National Guard. He is responsible for strategy development, state and federal liaison, inter-agency coordination, and special studies supporting the one hundred and six thousand Air National Guard members nationwide. General Broomall was commissioned in November 1974 through the Academy of Military Science, McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base. Prior to receiving his commission, General Broomall served as an enlisted member in the Air National Guard. Prior to his current assignment, General Broomall served as the Assistant Adjutant General-Air, Delaware National Guard and was also dual-hatted as (A-4), Assistant to the Director, Air National Guard.
2nd Lt Richard Byrne, Delaware Air Guard pilot, was killed on July 6 1955, flying F-86E, (Serial No. 51-13043) while assigned with the 3595th Training Wing at Nellis AFB Nevada, during advanced gunnery training. He enlisted in the 142nd as an airman in November 1952. He won his commission in May 1954 and then began flight training. He was among nine other pilot trainees from the 142nd in the pipeline at that time
Lt Col Wallace A. Cameron, first Commanding Officer of the 142nd Fighter Squadron, Delaware Air National Guard. Cameron was a veteran of World War II, flying P-47s with the 9th Air force, 48 FG, 493rd Fighter Squadron. He wrote,"After the war I was a flight Instructor at McAllen, TX rising rather rapidly to become the Director of Flying responsible for all flight activities. Resigned my Commission November 1945, and went to work with my brother Harold Cameron in Philadelphia, PA. Didn’t work out and entered college as a Junior. at the University of Delaware in Jan 1946. I was selected to organize the first Air National Guard Fighter Squadron in the State of Delaware becoming Federally recognized as a Lt. Col. ANG. That is a whole different phase of my life and I am proud to have had the Experience."
After a short period of command, he accepted an active duty commission and served in the U.S. Air Force into the late 1960’s. General Spruance said of him, “We kind of called him a carpetbagger, in that he was not a native, and he didn’t last too long. He didn’t get along with the Adjutant General and he really couldn’t adjust to the supervision, as I recall.”
Ezekiel “Zeke” Cooper, was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Organized Army Reserve Corps in June 1923 and maintained that commission until January 1938. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in July 1942. Zeke was a learned individual with four years at the University of Delaware. He served in World War II as well, before enlisting in the Delaware Air Guard. Zeke ran the training for new recruits, at the unit in the days before they were shipped off to Lackland AFB for their Basic Training. He was awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross in September 1954 for formulating and implementing this program. A "professional debater" and a man with a wealth of experiences,"Pappy" is the beloved old man of the squadron.
Technical Sergeant Charles E. Drew, joined the unit in November 1946. He had been a radioman on the B-17 of Maj. Gen. William Kepner, commander of 9th Air Force during the war. While in this duty Drew was in proximity to many of the important conferences during the war from Casablanca to Dakar, Natal and Miami. He was a radioman on the two C-47 transports of the "Blue Hen" Squadron.
Colonel Kathleen L. Eastburn, the Vice Commander for the 166th Airlift Wing, at New Castle County Airport in New Castle, Del. She joined the Del. ANG in Nov. 1975.
Lt. Roger W. Gottschall, First Delaware Guardsman Sent Overseas; Reached Combat Quota in Six Months; Flew in Infantry Support, News Journal, Wilmington Del. 1952 - In some ways it’s been a short war for Lt. Roger W. Gottschall, 26, of 215 Central Avenue, Brack-Ex. Six months ago Lieutenant Gottschall went to Japan, the first of the Delaware Air National Guard to ship overseas. Today he is in Korea, waiting orders for home on rotational assignment and chaffing under the comparatively dull duties as an instructor. In those six months however, there were 100 combat missions over the Korean battlefront in his F-80 jet fighter. Thus Lt. Roger Gottschall – first Delaware Guard pilot sent to the Far East, first to go into combat, will be the first to come home. He has been married for three years and before going to Korea was a pilot with the 142nd Fighter Squadron at the New Castle County Airport. His wife Mrs. Virginia Gottschall 22, has been working as a dental assistant in the VA hospital in Brack-Ex. There have been letters from her husband throughout the six months, but none were as important as the last one which told her that the 100th mission was over. Lt Col Gottschall died in Winter Springs FL in 1992.
Colonel Jonathan H. Groff is the commander of the 166th Airlift Wing, Delaware Air National Guard, New Castle County Airport, Delaware. Col Groff enlisted in the USAF in 1976 and was assigned to Charleston AFB, SC after graduating with honors from the Aircraft Maintenance Specialist program at Chanute AFB, IL. Col Groff joined the Delaware Air National Guard in June 1980 and was commissioned through the Academy of Military Science. He graduated from Undergraduate Pilot Training at Vance AFB, OK in August 1981. In May 1986, Col Groff began a fulltime career as a federal technician in the Delaware Air National Guard. Col Groff served as the deployed Director of Operations during Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom for a combined combat squadron of C-130 units at three deployed locations including duties conducted within the largest ever deployed C-130 Wing in the history of the USAF. Colonel Groff is a Command Pilot with over 6100 hours of military flight time including combat hours in Operation Desert Storm, Balkans conflict, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
Arthur I. "Ike" Guessford was born on farm outside Odessa. In 1949, he was recruited for the Delaware Air National Guard and became part of the 142nd Air Fighting Squadron. Ike went to radio school for training and in February 1951 his unit was put on active duty during the Korean War. They reported to the New Castle County Airbase, which had been closed after the Second World War. The single-story barracks had been unoccupied, and some of their time was spent repairing the aging buildings. Guessford remembered the circumstances under which he received training at Dover Air Force Base. Guessford ended up spending 36 years in the Air National Guard, with most of his duty as a technician served at the New Castle County Airport. For a brief period during his active duty, his unit worked at McGuire AFB in New Jersey as support when the planes there were grounded. Over the years, he remembered working on T-6s, C-45s, C-47s and his favorite, the F-51. "Of all the airplanes I've worked on I think that it was the neatest plane ever built…just the looks of it and to see it flying in the air and to see what it did during the Second World War. I just became attached to it."
Captain Walter Hannum in 1957 was the Assistant Operations Officer, Flying Training Officer, Instrument Flight Examiner, Flying Safety Officer, Squadron Aircraft Accident Investigating Board Member, Squadron Crypto Officer, Flying Evaluation Board Member, Flight Leader, Ground Training Officer and "father to the fledglings of the Squadron". He was also a drummer for Stan Kenton's band and was selected as top drummer for Playboy magazine's Playboy All Star Jazz Band.
Lieutenant Colonel Stephen J. Henske, Jr., Commander of the 166th Logistics Readiness Squadron, Delaware Air National Guard, has served on three overseas combat missions since Sept. 11, 2001, deploying in 2001 to the Sultanate of Oman (a country in Southwest Asia on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula), in 2002 to Afghanistan, and in 2007 he completed a mission to Iraq. Col. Henske served in Southwest Asia before Sept. 11, 1001, supporting three operations.
1st Lieutenant Charles D. Hogue of Philadelphia was listed as missing in action. On 13 December 1951 twenty miles northeast of Sinanju, a flight of enemy fighter aircraft was encountered and during the ensuing action, Lieutenant Hogue of the 334th Fighter Interceptor Squadron radioed that he believed he had been hit. It is believed that he was hit by MiG-15 ace Pavel S. Milaushkin (176th GIAP/324th IAD) . During the remainder of the engagement, which continued for about four minutes, visual and radio contact was lost with Lieutenant Hogue's F-86. However, a subsequent radio message received by the element leader indicated that the missing pilot was apparently south of Chinnampo and in no difficulty. The F-86 failed to return to base and all efforts to locate it and the fate of the pilot were unsuccessful. Lt. Charles D. Hogue went missing in action and was presumed dead. Of the original Delaware Air Guard pilots, twenty remained on active duty with the Air Force at the conclusion of the war.
William F. Hutchison Jr., was the first Air National Guard pilot to go through USAF pilot training school. He graduated from the University of Delaware and converted his Army commission to an Air Force commission and went to flight school in 1950. While still in school, the Korean War broke out and he went to Korea with 310 flying hours under his belt, flying F-84s in the ground support mission in the 7th Fighter Bomber Squadron under Lt Col Ross Adams. Returning to Delaware he became the maintenance officer. He retired as the Air Commander, Delaware Air National Guard.
Brigadier General Jon D. Jacobs held the position of Assistant Adjutant General for air, Headquarters Delaware Air National Guard (DE ANG), New Castle, Del. He also served as the commander of the Delaware Air National Guard and is the primary advisor to the Adjutant General on all Air Guard matters. After receiving his pilot wings at Webb Air Force Base, TX, he was assigned to fly C-119J aircraft at Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base, Mo. He was later assigned to fly EC-47 aircraft Da Nang AB, Republic of Vietnam, then Nakhom Phanom RTAB and Ubon RTAB, Thailand. Upon separation from the active Air Force, he joined the DE ANG. He served in variety of positions prior to his appointment as chief of staff in April 2001. He is a command pilot with over 5,600 flying hours.
Robert P. Kemske, was a World War II fighter pilot with Pacific Theater combat experience. He was a charter member of the Delaware Air National Guard. He flew with the 142nd until the Korean War and then remained on active duty. He hit the headlines in April 1951 when he made a flight to Chicago to get a quantity of Krebiozen, at that time a new drug treatment for the treatment of a cancer patient. Although he was able to deliver the drug on time the patient subsequently died two months later.
“My father left the service after the war, and then regretted it. He went back to work at Dupont and attended night school and just itched to get back flying. He dropped out of the night school and went to Baltimore to take a course to become a flight instructor, when they made such courses eligible for assistance under the G.I. Bill. After that, he got a job at Atlantic Aviation. When the Air National Guard was formed, he was one of the first in line, becoming a charter member. Eventually he got what I think was a full-time job with the Guard, as Operations Officer. His Guard unit got activated during Korea, and he went overseas, and while he was overseas, he somehow converted to the Air Force. After Korea, he got stationed at Kedena in Okinawa, and our family joined him there in 1953. I don't know what he flew in Korea. He flew F-86Ds (all weather) in Okinawa. It is an aircraft with a very large nose, and I understand the nose contained the instrumentation that allowed it to be "all-weather." So he had this kind of interlude between the War and Korea, during which his biggest struggle was trying to get back in an airplane." – by son Floyd Kemske.
Jerold Kreidler retired as a Colonel in 1999 after 32 years of service with the Air National Guard. He was Commander of the 235th Civil Engineering Flight, Baltimore, MD, at the time of his retirement. He had previously served with the Delaware Air Guard. His military awards include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal (2), the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award (4), as well as several design awards. His military experience included the design and construction management of the mortuary at Dover AFB, DE during Desert Shield/Desert Storm. He was a member of the Society of American Military Engineers, and the Air National Guard Civil Engineers Association.
Andrew S. LaBonte, had 13 years of active duty including two years of service in the China India Burma Theater during World War II when he was promoted to Major in December 1953.
Robert W. Laird, was an artillery officer for two years during the war, and then transferred to the Army Ari Force and graduated as a twin engine pilot, flying C-47s across North Africa, Italy and France. He served as commanding officer of teh Pisa Italy Army Air Field. He held a graduate degree in chemical engineering from the University of Delaware. He held positions in the 142nd utility flight as adjutant, mess, supply, and transportation officer as well as assistant public relations officer.
MSgt Charles T. Lee, was a crew chief on C-47's and P-51s in Europe for three years during World War II. He joined the Delaware Air Guard in 1948. He was a crew chief, line chief, recruiter, baby sitter, and OJT instructor in the fighter days. When the C-97s arrived he began to specialize in hydraulics. He retired after thirty years to "go home, do the dishes, and put my wife to work."
Captain William D. Livergood, charter member. On May 13, 1949 Captain Livergood, the full time operations officer at the time, became Delaware’s first casualty when his F-47 crashed on final approach to New Castle Airport. He had been on a gunnery mission over the Atlantic Ocean. Ed Atkinson described the incident: “If you remember in those days when fighters came in, they’d peel off, do a tight 360 degree three-“G” turn, losing altitude to reduce their speed, and land. He just kept going in the turn and rolled right over, and practically went straight in…just about opposite the old entrance”. See Accidents, Calamities and Fatalities
MSgt Joseph L. Manion, a confirmed bachelor, was a veteran since 1941. Joe saw duty in World War II when he took part in the European Air Offensive. As one of the "originals" Joe is an honored Charter member of the 142nd. A "bull of a man", Joe is Vehicle Maintenance Supervisor and well known for his one armed push-ups and ability to tackle low. The later reflects back to his days as an outstanding footballer for both e Wilmington High School and the Semi-pro Tonies.
David F. McCallister, was a WWII veteran with 8th Air Force in P-51s and joined the unit 9 March 1948. He was activated for Korea and went on to lead the Squadron after the war. He won the 1956 Ricks Trophy Race and was killed in the crash of a T-33 in June 1961.
Brigadier General John W. Merritt, Assistant Adjutant General - Air, Delaware National Guard and also serves as Commander, Delaware Air National Guard. General Merritt was commissioned in October 1982 through the Academy of Military Science, McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base. Prior to receiving his commission, he served as an enlisted member in the Delaware Air National Guard. Following his commissioning, General Merritt attended the Supply Officer Course at Lowry Air Force Base and upon graduation was assigned as Base Supply Operations Officer and later Branch Chief. General Merritt concurrently served on the Joint Staff of the Headquarters, Delaware National Guard as Plans, Exercises, and Training Director (J5/7) and as the Chief of Staff.
Warrant Officer Harper P. Moore, was the first enlisted man promoted to officer in December 1946. He served full time as supply officer for the 142nd Fighter Squadron. A World War II veteran, he joined the Army in 1939 serving as a supply clerk in Iceland.
Charles Palmer, charter member, on the active duty call up for Korea:“Bob Loeffel and I were up in New England and we got a call to return to New Castle. Although everyone was activated, only the pilots and selected AFSCs were actually sent to Korea. Many stayed behind to furnish a manpower pool. Some were disappointed that we didn’t go as a unit, but were used piecemeal as individual replacements. Later in the war, we received as part of the Air Defense Command, F-94s, one of the most advanced fighter/interceptors of the time. When we returned to inactive duty status we got P- 51s – obsolete relics of World War II. Most of the older guys were World War II veterans and took the call-up in stride…” Charles Palmer, Charter Member
Chief Master Sgt. Charles "Mike" Perry, a loadmaster with the 142nd Airlift Squadron and long- time resident of Newark, has now accumulated slightly over 11,200 hours total flight time in military aircraft in his career. His first flight was 37 years ago this month, on Sept. 25, 1971, in a Delaware Air Guard C-130A model aircraft. Only a handful of unit Airmen have achieved over 10,000 hours of aircrew flying time since the Delaware Air National Guard was founded in 1946. Chief Perry has the most hours of any member presently serving in the Delaware Air Guard. Chief Perry flew 5,179 hours in the Lockheed C-130A transport aircraft from 1971 to 1984, and flew 17.0 hours aboard the C-130E model about 20 years ago. From 1983 to today he has accumulated slightly over 6,000 hours in the C-130H model, the Delaware Air Guard's current aircraft. His time includes over 1,100 hours total as an instructor or evaluator, with 439 combat flying hours and 2,992 combat sorties, and 298 hours flying combat support with 244 combat support sorties. Chief Perry served nearly 40 years in the Delaware Air Guard, and enlisted in the unit in December 1968.
Technical Sergeant Leroy S. Pierson was the full time operations clerk for the Blue Hen Squadron. He was responsible for recording the time logs of the squadron. Appointed on Nov. 20, 1946 his appointment brought the full time staff of the squadron to 20. He served in Iceland during World War II with the 33rd Fighter Squadron and the 458th bomb group as a Link Trainer instructor.
Colonel Francis P. Pollock joined the Del. ANG in March 1985, and his first assignment was as the 166th Resource Management Squadron Transportation Management Officer. In 1997 he was assigned to the 166th Airlift Wing as the Public Affairs Officer. In Mar. 2003 he was assigned to the Pentagon, Headquarters Air Force, in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. He deployed to Southwest Asia in Aug. 2003 and assumed command of the 746th Aircraft Maintenance Unit at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. He was then assigned to the 379th Expeditionary Airlift Wing as the 379th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander, overseeing over 1000 coalition troops and 11 aircraft maintenance units from the U.S, the U.K. and Australia. He next assumed command of the 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron Maintenance Unit in Uzbekistan in the region near Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, and returned home in Jun. 2004 to assume command of the 166th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. In January 2007 Colonel Pollock deployed to Kuwait and served as Deputy Group Commander for the 386th Maintenance Group.
Brigadier General Frank Pontelandolfo Jr. Chief of staff, Headquarters Delaware Air National Guard (DE ANG), New Castle, Del. The general began his military career by first completing basic military training and then receiving a commission from the Officer Training School, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. After receiving his pilot wings at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss., he completed C- 130 training at Little Rock Air Force Base and Pope Air Force Base. He was assigned to Ching Chuan Kang Air Base Taiwan flying tactical airlift mission throughout South East Asia. He performed numerous temporary assignments in Viet Nam, Thailand, and the Philippines. He was briefly assigned to Plattsburg Air Force Base NY, where he took the Palace Chase option to join the DE ANG. He served on numerous temporary assignments including Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He is a command pilot with over 4,900 flying hours.
MSgt Paul "Jake" Powell's service dates back to September 1941 - in time for WWII and B-29 duty. His exploits in teh Pacific theater resulted in his being awarded teh Air Medal for outstanding service. A Delaware Air Guard member since 1947, Jake is another old-timer and key person in "Keeping 'em flying". A former semi-pro baseballer, he is especially known for his chawing tobacco and lack of "overhead coverage".
Master Sergeant Garnell Purcell was at Dover AFB in 1967 working as an engine mechanic on C- 124s, living in Wilmington. On his daily commute he saw our C-97s sitting on the ramp at New Castle. “What was that?” he asked. He had never heard of the Air National Guard before. Garnell had eleven years experience when he joined the DE ANG. He served in the Air Force from 1952-1956, working on B-26s and B-57s. After his active duty stint he then worked at Dover AFB in the engine shop as a civil service employee. He came here part-time in July 1967. He is a Wilmington native, and became a full time member in November 1967 in the Engine Shop.
I was the first black man in the unit – so everybody says. It caused me a few problems – a couple of times, but I handled it “one-on-one” at that level. I’m here for the job, and you’re here for the job. Off base maybe it’s a different story. I think it’s improved - a black guy took over my old position in AGE. I haven’t talked to all the young folks, and so I don’t know for sure. My proudest moment was when Ernie Talbert made General. It was the highlight of my career. I’m in the Tuskegee Airmen club with Ernie Talbert. He’s the vice president and I’m just a member, but we are working together on scholarships and other programs. I tell kids you must have your act together before you go applying for a job. When I came up I had a talent to sell. And I tell them to get an education. The Air Force offers lots of schools and I took advantage of them. I especially liked a psychology of management course I took. I took every CDC course I could. I don’t want to be remembered as the first the black man in the unit, just as a guy who did his best.”
Vincent "Rex" Riley, founding member. He was selected to attend the Army flight training course at Randolph Field Texas as an aviation cadet. He "washed out", but remained a private pilot for most of his life, eventually retiring as Chief Master Sergeant and as the unit's second Senior Enlisted Advisor. Riley was in aircraft maintenance as maintenance control supervisor. He died in 1997 at age 71. “It was quite a conglomeration. It was a small unit and everyone knew everyone else. There was party after party. Our maximum strength then was probably not much more than 200 men. It was all of course, very informal. We were all young guys just released from the war. The pilots were a pretty wild bunch. There were many fast and low overflights. Looking back, it was loose as a goose…” - Vincent "Rex" Riley, Charter Member.
2nd Lt Linford Robbins, 23 perished on May 23, 1957 in a crash of his F-86E Sabrejet (serial No. 51- 12979) near Middletown Delaware. He had been flying in a two ship formation on a night proficiency flight at about 3200 feet in overcast skies when his craft simply nosed down and exploded on impact. He had not radioed any indication of trouble. Robbins had only just returned from flight school about six months before the incident. His wingman was 1st Lt Johnson M. Taylor. Robbins was the father of a two year old boy.
Major Presson S. Shane, was the original operations officer for the squadron, and second in command and rank. He was credited by Colonel Cameron for "the excellent work in organizing the squadron operations office and setting up the flying training schedule to prepare pilots for the P-47 operation." He also had an additional duty as the first unit public relations officer. Shane was a native of Kansas and a P-51 fighter pilot escorting bombers over Germany and strafing the enemy over France. He held the Distinguished Flying Cross and a masters degree in chemical engineering from M.I.T.
Capt. John V. Schobelock, DE ANG received the Distinguished Flying Cross for blowing up a tunnel in North Korea with his F-84. He was also credited with strafing and destroying one communist truck, three camouflaged truck revetments, and damaging a medium tank. He received his medal from Col. David T. McKnight, commanding officer of the 49th Fighter-bomber Wing.
Capt. James R. Shotwell Jr. 33, went down near Delaware City on March 19, 1955 flying an F-86A "Fyne Type" (Ser, No. 49-1169). His craft suffered a flame-out knocking out his power. It is believed he attempted an "air start", but in so doing he lost too much altitude to safely bail out. He was likely concerned about his jet hitting a populated area around Delaware City. His wingman saw the plane burning. He was able to eject from his burning F-86 jet, but his parachute failed to open in time. The mission was a routine training flight. Shotwell was unmarried, a combat veteran of World War II in the South Pacific. He was employed by All-American Engineering Co. as an instrument engineer. He joined the Delaware Air Guard in 1948. He had been good friends with Frank Stern who was lost only eight months earlier.
TSgt Paul Shotwell, joined the 142nd on 15 August 1950, just in time to be activated for Korea in February 1951. His brother James talked him into it. He was supposed to go to Korea, but because he hadn't been trained yet, he was sent to Oregon nine months of A&E school. Paul recalled an incident at Otis AFB MA one year at annual field camp. "A tow plane had a flame out at low altitude and the pilot ejected at around 500 feet. The chute opened just in time, but the pilot did suffer some back injuries. The pilot requested he be given his ejection seat and the Air Force wanted to know why. The pilot replied that he wanted to put rockers on it for his old age!"
Howard “Bus” Schuckler, Born in Delaware and after attending H. Fletcher Brown he won his private pilot license at age 19. He graduated from Air Cadet School class of 43Q. He was assigned to Air Transport Command as a ferry/test pilot. He made 18 Atlantic crossings delivering everything from B-24s to B-26s. He was then assigned to the China Burma India Theater where he “flew the hump” in C-47s and C-46s.
After the war he and Bill Miller, both Maryland boys, joined the DE ANG in 1948. Howard was assigned by his Lieutenant Colonel Ross Adams to the Utility Flight along with Bill Spruance thanks to his C-47 expertise. When the utility Flight was disbanded on receiving F-84s, Howard transitioned to the F-84. His first flight was a solo, and he had never before flown a jet. He flew F- 84s before being activated for Korea, where he flew F-86s. While in Korea he was in a takeoff accident that terminated his military career.
William W. Spruance was a founding member, Delaware Air National Guard. A World War II veteran of the China/India/ Burma theater, he “flew the hump” with 362 missions over the Himalayas. He was also a pioneer in developing forward air control tactics and techniques with General George Patton. “What attracts people is the common interest in the airplanes, and flying a mission and the rewarding effect of getting something done when you’re working with a team of people. So I guess that’s what inspired me…” - Brig Gen William Spruance.
Frank Stern – Was listed among temporary headquarters staff in May 1946, but his date of entrance into the Delaware ANG was 19 January 1947. Either way, he counts as a pioneering aviator in the Delaware Air Guard. Originally a member of the 198th coast Artillery, joining in 1940, Stern was later an Army instructor on P-39, P-40, and P-51 fighter aircraft during the war. According to General Spruance, “Frank was a good friend of McCallister’s and mine. In fact, of all the fighter pilots he was just a fabulous guy. His father ran Stern’s Auto Top Company downtown, so he’d give us discounts on re-topping our convertibles and all that kind of stuff. Frank was kind of a rotund guy. We decided we’d put a turban on him at one point and put him up on the mantelpiece because he looked kinda like Buddha. I’ve got a picture of him in that outfit.”
Stern would perish on August 21, 1954 flying an F-86A (Ser. No. 49-1285) over the Gunpowder River on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. See accidents, calamities and fatalities He was on his way from New Castle to deliver the jet to Maj. David McCallister, who was attending a conference in Omaha NE. His last radio report was while climbing over Delaware City about four minutes after takeoff. There was a low ceiling and overcast skies all the way up to 35,000 feet. A new National Guard Armory on Newport Gap Pike was named in honor of Captain Stern in December 1954. Stern had originally served with the 198th Coast Artillery joining in 1940, before joining the Air Force in 1944. He had flown P-47s in World War II, and was a veteran of 41 combat missions in Korea.
1st Lt Walter C. Stewart of Glenmore Pennsylvania was killed in action 23 April 1951 while attempting a low altitude ejection on returning to base for emergency landing after an explosion in his F-84E Thunderjet (49-2426) while a member of 523rd Fighter Escort Squadron at Itazuke Air Force Base, Japan.
William Swartz was a charter member of the unit and there is evidence that he was among those who really got the ball rolling. General Spruance first heard about the nascent unit from Swartz March 1946. Spruance says this about Swartz, “ The guy who really carried us through that period (1946-to Korea) was BillSwartz, who was the maintenance officer. He was really the full time member of the cadre who stuck with us for a long time., and finally went on active duty with the unit during Korea. Then he got into a donnybrook with some general over there who was a horse’s ass. Anyhow he and Swartz got into a hassle and Swartz decided after Korea to just hang it up. He was a highly capable guy, highly dedicated and technically well qualified as a maintenance officer and diplomatic at the same time, he kept the airplanes flying and supervised maintenance. He had the respect of everyone involved. In fact he was just too good for going on active duty with some regulars who had less than good judgment in my estimation.”
Brigadier General Ernest G. Talbert Vice Commander, Delaware Air National Guard. General Talbert received his commission as a Distinguished Graduate through the Reserve Officer Training Corps in 1972. He earned his pilot wings in 1973 from Williams Air Force Base, Arizona and was then assigned to Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina where he few the C-141. General Talbert began his Delaware Air National Guard career in 1979 as a C-130 pilot. He later served as the 142nd Airlift Squadron Commander, 166th Operations Group Commander, 166th Airlift Wing Vice Commander and 166th Airlift Wing Commander. General Talbert is a Command Pilot with over 6500 hours.
Brigadier General Thomas A. Thomas, Chief of Network Warfare, National Guard Bureau, is the Mobilization Assistant to the Director, Defense Information Systems Agency. He is assigned to the Delaware Air National Guard, Headquarters, and from 2008 to 2010 was commander of the 166th Network Warfare Squadron, part of the 166th Airlift Wing, Delaware Air National Guard. General Thomas' military career has spanned 33 years, and he has served in the Delaware ANG since October 1981, except for a two- year tour in the early 1990s. In his civilian occupation, General Thomas is a Senior Vice President-Analysis and Information Management, Credit Card Division for Bank of America, Inc.
Brig. Gen. Bruce Thompson, a resident of Cochranville, Pa., graduated from Henderson Sr. H.S., West Chester, Pa. in 1974. He attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Univ. in 1975, and graduated with a B.S. in Business Administration from West Chester Univ., Pa. in 1979. He was appointed in May 2005 as commander, 166th Airlift Wing. Col. Thompson began duty in the Delaware ANG in April, 1980 as a 2nd Lieutenant. From 1981 to 2001 he served as in 10 positions of increasing responsibility under the 166th Operations Group. In May, 2001 he was appointed 166th Operations Group Commander, serving from before the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks through the 2003 deployment in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom of the largest group of unit Airmen and aircraft since Operation Desert Storm in 1991. He is rated as a command pilot with over 4,500 flight hours (virtually all of those hours in C-130 Hercules transport aircraft) with 32 combat sorties and 197 combat support sorties as a C-130 pilot. He is a veteran of Desert Shield/Storm, and was actively involved with Operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom through both volunteerism and mobilization since Sept. 11, 2001. When not activated, Col. Thompson is normally employed full time with U.S. Airways, Inc. as a Captain on the Airbus 319, 320 and 321 aircraft with over 19,000 hours of total civilian flying time.
Carol Anne Timmons is the perfect model for young women who want a dream fulfilled. Since childhood, she wanted to fly jets. Following graduation from New Castle's William Penn High in 1976, she enlisted in the Delaware Air National Guard (DANG). But the military wasn't sure women should fly in combat, so she switched to the Delaware Army National Guard to fly helicopters.
Meanwhile, she earned a B.A. in aviation management at Wilmington College. Determined to fly jets, Lt. Timmons transferred to the Air Force Reserve where she could fly non-combat missions on C-141 transports. During "Desert Storm" (1990-1991) then-Capt. Timmons flew in combat support operations in and out of Southwest Asia. When the Air Force allowed women to fly combat, Timmons returned to DANG and began flying C-130s. The unit's first female pilot, she flew in support of Bosnia, Kosovo and other global operations. In 2003 her unit was activated for "Operation Iraqi Freedom." She flew as an aircraft commander, accumulating more than 400 hours of combat time, including service as a squadron commander responsible for 14 C-130s, 28 crews and some 200 ground personnel.
Master Sergeant Jerry Virden The last serving Vietnam Veteran in the Delaware Air National Guard finished his final tour of duty in Afghanistan in May 2011. As for retirement plans, Virden said, he's not sure of that either. "It's like trying to figure out what you want to do when you grow up, haha," he jokes, "Spend some time with my kids, I have a grandson coming in August, so looking forward to all that," says Virden. But after coming home unscathed, Virden says he'd like to help veterans, who weren't so lucky. "I feel like after 40 years I come home with no scratches at all, and there's a lot of people, who have a lot of issues, and I'd like to be able to help them, even if it's just transporting them," Virden said.
MSgt Lawrence "Sabre Sam" Vieth held the distinction of having been the only Air Guard member prior to 1946. Duty with the New Jersey Air Guard during 1937-1939 and Army Air Corps during 1940-1945 tell only a small part of this man's veteran story. For his outstanding record in the skies over Italy, Germany, France and the Balkans, he was awarded the Bronze Star and Distinguished Unit Badge. A dependable individual who sadly misses the "prop" driven planes...Larry is remembered for often disputing the prop's ability to rotate!
Kennard R. Wiggins, Sr., charter member, Delaware Air National Guard. Kennard was a combat veteran of World War II, flying 35 missions as a B-24 ball turret gunner with the 781st Bombardment Squadron, 15th Air Force. “One day my brother Lawrence told me they were going to form a Fighter squadron at the Air base . To be called the 142nd Fighter Squadron of the Delaware Air National Guard...l became a charter member. I was with them till the Korean War broke out.”
Lawrence E. Wiggins Sr. founding member, Delaware Air National Guard. Lawrence was a veteran of World War II in the Italian Campaign with 15th Air Force. He was selected to attend an Army instruction course on the maintenance of the new P-80 jet at Chanute field, IL in December 1946. Brother of Kennard Wiggins.