Air Force Col George T. Lee, 34, of 238 Railroad av., Norwood. an inspector general, and his pilot, Capt Kenneth L Childs, 30. of Hickman Mills, Mo., were killed yesterday when their jet plane crashed in Gerald, Mo., during a thunderstorm.
The two officers, both stationed at Command Headquarters, Grandview Air Force Base, near Kansas City, were on a routine flight from Grandview to Rapid City, Neb., when they ran into the storm and tried to change course to reach Scott Air Force Base near Belleville, Ill., the Air Force said. The plane crashed into woods on a farm two miles north of Gerald, Mo.
Col Lee, who was drafted in December of 1941, was the holder of the E. T. O. record of 258 combat missions as a pilot of a P-47 Thunderbolt and was a former commander of the 86th Fighter Group, called “Lee’s Lieutenants.” He was promoted to the rank of colonel at the age of 25.
Col Lee received his basic and preflight training in Alabama, South Carolina and Florida. He was overseas as a 2d lieutenant with the 12th Air Force and within a short time he was known as the iron man in the Air Force.
During World War II he was awarded the British Distinguished Flying Cross and the United States Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal with 13 oak leaf clusters. He was commissioned a major when 24 years old and was made a full colonel in 1945.
A butcher boy before joining the Air Force, Col Lee was welcomed home to Norwood in October of 1945 by more than 3000 persons.
He was graduated from Norwood High School with the class of 1938 and attended M. I. T. for two years before working. in a local chain store.
He is survived by his mother. Mrs. Mary J. Lee of 26 Rock st.; two brothers, Vincent and Thomas F., all of Norwood; two sisters, Mrs. Dorothy Donovan of Norwood and Mrs. Alice Adams of Brimfield.
October 6, 1954
Awaits Return of Flyer’s Body
NORWOOD, Oct. 6—Funeral plans for Col George T. Lee, 34, of 238 Railroad av., Inspector General of the Central Air Defense Command, who was killed in a plane crash in Missouri, today awaited word of the return of his body here.
Col Lee. holder of the ETO record of 258 combat missions as a pilot of a P-47 Thunderbolt in World War II, was on a routine flight yesterday with his pilot, Capt Kenneth E. Childs, 30, of Hickman Hills, Mo., when their plane ran into a storm.
The plane fell into woods on a farm two miles north of Gerald, Mo., after an attempt had been made to change course to reach Scott Air Force Base, near Belleville, Ill., the Air Force said.
During his two years in the European theatre, he was in six plane crashes, but each time walked away without serious injury.
A Colonel at 25
A former commander of the 86th Fighter Group, called “Lee’s Lieutenants,” the veteran pilot was promoted to the rank of full colonel at the age of 25.
Col Lee, who was drafted in December. 1941, received his basis and pre-flight training in Alabama, South Carolina and Florida. He was graduated from Moultrie Field. Georgia, on Aug. 5, 1943, and went immediately to Europe.
Lee became known as “Iron Man.” due to his record number of combat missions and brushes with death.
Norwood High Graduate
Col Lee was welcomed home in October of 1945 by over 3000 persons in Norwood. He was graduated from Norwood High School in 1938 and attended M. I. T. for two years.
After the war, he assumed command of a group of crack jet fighters at Weisbaden, Ger.
In recent years, Col Lee was stationed at command headquarters of the Grandview Air Force Base near Kansas City.
He is survived by his mother Mrs. Mary J. Lee of 26 Rock st. two brothers, Vincent and Thoma; F., all of Norwood; two sisters. Mrs. Dorothy Donovan of Norwood and Mrs. Alice Adams of Brimfield.
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