graduate

Saunders, LaVerne George (1903-1988)


Photograph of LaVerne Saunders

U.S. Army. Via ibiblio.org

"Blondie" Saunders was present with 23 Bombardment Squadron when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and participated in the early campaigns in the Central and South Pacific. He was awarded the Navy Cross for successfully ditching his badly damaged aircraft at sea during a raid on Buin.

Saunders served briefly as a deputy Chief of Staff for the Army Air Forces before organizing 58 Bombardment Wing, the first B-29 wing. He subsequently commanded 20 Bomber Command in its first missions from bases in India, pending the arrival of his friend Curtis LeMay, but was severely injured in an air accident that crushed his ankle and confined him to a hospital for more than two years. Part of his leg had to be amputated, and he was medically retired in 1947.

Saunder's nickname, as was so often the case, was ironic: He had coal-black hair. He had served as a football coach at West Point for eight years, from 1931 to 1939.

Service record

1903-3-21 

Born at Stratford, South Dakota
1924

Graduates from University of South Dakota
1928-6-9
Second lieutenant     
Graduates from West Point
1929-6

Completes flight training
1929-10

40 School Squadron
1930-8

23 Bombardment Squadron
1931

Assistant football coach, West Point
1939-12
Major
Commander, 23 Bombardment Squadron
1941

Commander, 12 Bombardment Group
1942-3     
Colonel
Commander, 11 Bombardment Group
1942-12
Brigadier general Deputy chief of staff, U.S. Army Air Forces
1943-8

Staff, 58 Bombardment Wing
1944-3

Commander, 58 Bombardment Wing
1944-7-6     

Commander, 20 Bomber Command
1944-8-29

Severely injured in air accident
1947-2-28

Retired
1988-11-16     

Dies


References

Generals.dk (accessed 2013-11-11)

Pettibone (2006)

U.S. Air Force (accessed 2013-11-11)

VeteranTributes.org (accessed 2013-11-13)



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