FRANCIS VERNON LAEL
|The Citadel Class of:
||A (Source: Sphinx 1937)
||22-Jun-21 in Marion, North Carolina
||Glen Alpine, North Carolina
||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)
|Branch of Service:
||U.S. Army Air Forces
|Entered the Service from:
|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:
||MIA / KIA
|Place of death:
||Over Ploesti, Romania
||Calinesti, Jud. Muscel, Romania
||Distinguished Service Cross, Air Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Heart
||Tablets of the Missing
||Florence American Cemetery
||450th Bomb Group Memorial Association
||Distinguished Citadel Alumni
AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
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
*LAEL, FRANCIS V. (MIA-KIA)
“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
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