In Their Honor by Linda Swink

“In Their Honor” by Linda Swink is an excellent reference book.  It is a compilation of 524 biographies of military heroes whose names grace the forts, camps, barracks, bases, and fields in the U.S. Air Force; Air National Guard; Army; Army Airfields, Stagefields, and Heliports; Army National Guard, Army Barracks and Kasernes in Germany; Army Camps in South Korea; Marine Corps; and Navy.  It is a wonderful record that will be just as useful for researchers and historians as it will for the men, women, and their families who are currently serving in the United States military.  The book is one that you do not have to read from cover to cover.  You will find yourself dipping into it to explore places you or family members have served.
 
I found myself immediately looking up the names of the military installations where I lived growing up as  an United States Air Force dependent.  Next, I looked up the military installations where I served as an US Army officer.  Growing up I lived at Luke Air Force Base in Glendale, Arizona from 1958 to 1963.  Below is an excerpt of the entry/information for Luke Air Force Base.


Luke Air Force Base
Location: Glendale, Arizona
Status: Active
Named for: First Lieutenant Frank Luke, Jr.
Date of Birth: May 19, 1897
Place of Birth: Phoenix, Arizona
Date of Death: September 29, 1918
Place of Death: Murvaux, France
Decorations and Honors: Medal of Honor; Distinguished Service Cross with oak leaf cluster, posthumously; Croix de Guerre (Italy); inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame (1975)
Place of Burial: Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery and Memorial in Romagne, France, Plot A, Grave 13

First Lieutenant Frank Luke, Jr., known as the “Arizona Balloon Buster,” was an ace pilot and the first American aviator to receive the Medal of Honor.

Luke enlisted in the Signal Corps’ aviation section on September 25, 1917. He soloed on December 12 at Rockwell Field in California, was commissioned in January 1918, and sent to France where he was assigned to the 27th Aero Squadron of the 1st Pursuit Group.

Luke was recognized as the most spectacular air fighter of World War I for shooting down eighteen airplanes and balloons, making him an ace pilot. Later, he went on to surpass Eddie Rickenbacker’s record. Thirteen of his victories were obtained in a single week. He was only twenty-one years old when he was killed.

His Medal of Honor citation for action during World War I reads as follows:  After having previously destroyed a number of enemy aircraft within seventeen days he voluntarily started on a patrol after German observation balloons. Though pursued by eight German planes which were protecting the enemy balloon line, he unhesitatingly attacked and shot down in flames three German balloons, being himself under heavy fire from ground batteries and the hostile planes. Severely wounded, he descended to within fifty meters of the ground, and flying at this low altitude near the town of Murvaux opened fire upon enemy troops, killing six and wounding as many more. Forced to make a landing and surrounded on all sides by the enemy, who called upon him to surrender, he drew his automatic pistol and defended himself gallantly until he fell dead from a wound in the chest.

Highly Recommend:

I highly recommend “In Their Honor” to all military historians, both professional and amateur.  This is an exceptional reference book that should be included in every community library in the United States.  It provides a reference for the good citizens of America to get a snapshot of where their sons or daughters are serving.  I also recommend the book as a tool that should be provided for all the newly commissioned officers in any branch of the United States military.  If you have a son or daughter in the military it would be an excellent gift.   To the author who served herself in the United States Air Force and is the daughter of a United States Marine Corps veteran, bravo and thank you for your work.  It approaches the subject from a point of view that other works on the US Military Institutions missed, honoring the memories of the persons who were honored with a military post bearing their name.
Read and reviewed by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, March 2010
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