Excerpt from an article about Earl and his brother James. Both James and Earl Des Jardins were in high school in Green Bay when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Like millions of Americans, they joined the military, each becoming a pilot - Earl in bombers, James in fighters. The older brother saw action first, writing to James in July 1944 to tell him not to hurry over to Europe but giving him advice on what to bring, such as a rubber air mattress and a small ax to pound tent stakes.
Two months after Earl Des Jardins sent the letter with the opening words "Combat is rough and don't let anyone tell you different," his B-24 was shot down in France, killing everyone on board. He was 22. Then James was lost Nov. 25. Three days after Christmas the second Western Union telegram delivered to the Des Jardins' Green Bay home reported James as missing in action.
Earl's bomber was found a couple of decades ago, and John Des Jardins and his father traveled to France for dedication of a memorial at the crash site. Earl's remains were buried in a mass grave with the rest of his 10-member B-24 crew in Kentucky. A memorial plaque was placed at the Green Bay cemetery. But James' whereabouts were a mystery until last year.
By Meg Jones of the Journal Sentinel Oct 14, 2012
Read complete article at http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/a-welcome-home-for-green-bay-wwii-fighter-pilot-e677jkf-174120281.html
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