In Memoriam

LTC Luke Weathers Jr., USAF, Ret. was buried today at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors including the flyover of a flight of F-16’s in the Missing Man formation.

LTC Weathers who was veteran of World War II, serving in the 15th Air Force, 332d Fighter Group, commanded by COL (later BGEN) Benjamin O. Davis Jr., where he won the Distinguished Flying Cross. The 332d earned the unique distinction of never losing a bomber they were escorting in some of the heaviest aerial combat in history.

The 332d was of course the famed “Red Tails” who in an act of bravado painted the tails of their fighter bright red so the Germans would be able to identify them easier. Every account of the campaign that I have read, most recently The Wild Blue in which Stephen Ambrose built the story around Senator George McGovern who flew a B-24 in the 15th Air Force, says that were by far the best escort pilots they came in contact with.

Lt. Col. Luke Weathers Jr. funeral

Lt. Col. Luke Weathers Jr. funeral: via Washington Post

They also were the justly famed Tuskegee Airmen who as black officers and men fought all the prejudice the south could bring to bear on them before, during, and after the war. Now think about this, America wasn’t kind to blacks in the 1940’s but, to the Germans they were very literally subhuman, and they painted the tails of their planes bright red to taunt them. I’d say these were some of the best warriors America ever sent into battle. They were also a key element in the integration of the armed forces ordered by President Truman and finally achieved under President Eisenhower.

As with all the veterans of World War 2, they are becoming thin on the ground. We should do all we can to honor these gallant Americans while they are still here to hear us.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

Or for that matter, explicitly make the offer.

Requiescat in Pace

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