We shall not forget


The Citadel Class of: 1940 SAMSUNG
Cadet Company: A (Source: Sphinx 1937)
Age: 22
Born: 22-Jun-21 in Marion, North Carolina
Hometown: Glen Alpine, North Carolina
Family: Clarence V. Lael (father), Loma M. Lael (mother), Elizabeth E. Lael (sister), Dortha B. Lael (sister), Frances R. Rhyne-Lael (wife), Linda E. Lael (daughter)
Rank: First Lieutenant
Branch of Service: U.S. Army Air Forces
Servicenumber: O-667525
Entered the Service from: North Carolina
Function: Pilot
Company – Squadron: 723rd Bomber Squadron
Unit – Group: 450th Bomber Group, Heavy
Plane data: (Serialnumber, MACR, etc.) B-24H 42-78199, MACR 3960
Date of   death: 5-Apr-44
Status: MIA / KIA
Place of death: Over Ploesti, Romania
Spot: Calinesti, Jud. Muscel, Romania
Awards: Distinguished Service Cross, Air Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Heart
Gravenumber: Tablets of the Missing
Cemetery: Florence American Cemetery
Biography: 450th Bomb Group Memorial Association
Other information: Distinguished Citadel Alumni

The Distinguished Service Cross, the highest award ever earned by a member of the 450th was awarded posthumously to Lt. Lael of the 723rd Squadron. In his attempt to see every member of his crew safely out, the valiant Lieutenant lost his life riding his craft to a crash.

DSC Citation Synopsis

“The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) to Francis V. Lael (0-667525), First Lieutenant (Air Corps), U.S. Army Air Forces, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving as an Officer of a B-24 Heavy Bomber in the 723 Bombardment Squadron, 450th Bombardment Group (H), FIFTEENTH Air Force, while participating in a bombing mission on 5 April 1944, against enemy targets in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations. The personal courage and devotion to duty displayed by First Lieutenant Lael on this occasion, at the cost of his life, have upheld the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the 15th Air Force, and the United States Army Air Forces.
Headquarters: U.S. Army Air Forces-Mediterranean Theater of Operations, General Orders No. 15 (1945)
Home Town: Glen Alpine, North Carolina”

Sources: American Battle Monuments Commission, The Citadel Archive & Museum, Mike Stannard ’65, Sphinx 1937, MACR 3960, Draft Registration Card (NAR), Findagrave.com, Willem Kiggen

We ask for your help.
It is our objective to have complete and accurate records for each of our Citadel Men.
If you have information to contribute or correct this or any other record, please contact us or see support.

* Previous *                                                                                              * Back to List *                                                                                                 * Next *

4 responses

  1. Pingback: Memorial Day Weekend 2012 in Belgium and The Netherlands – Part I « The Citadel Memorial Europe

  2. Pingback: One Year of The Citadel Memorial Europe | The Citadel Memorial Europe

  3. He was married and his wife was Frances Lael at the time.

    June 21, 2017 at 12:26 am

    • Thank you so very much for bringing this information to our attention. His family information above has been updated.

      July 2, 2017 at 5:54 pm

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s