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LTC Leon Robert Vance, Jr

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LTC Leon Robert Vance, Jr

  • Birth 11 Aug 1916 Enid, Garfield County, Oklahoma, USA
  • Death 26 Jul 1944 At Sea
  • Burial Coton, South Cambridgeshire District, Cambridgeshire, England
  • Plot No Known Grave; name is listed on the Tablets of the Missing
  • Memorial ID 8111160

World War II Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient. Born in Enid, Oklahoma and served as a Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army Corps, 489th Bomber Group. On June 5, 1944, he led a Heavy Bombardment Group, in an attack against defended enemy coastal positions in the vicinity of Wimereaux, France. Approaching the target, his aircraft was hit repeatedly by antiaircraft fire which crippled the ship, killed the pilot, and himself wounded. In spite of his injury, he led his formation over the target, bombing it successfully. Gradually losing altitude, on return to the English coast he ordered the crew to bail out knowing they would all safely make land. He received a message over the interphone one of the crewmembers was unable to jump due to injuries, so he made the decision to ditch the ship in the channel to save his life. As his plane crashed in the water an explosion occurred which threw him clear of the wreckage. Inflating his life vest he began searching for the crewmember whom he believed to be aboard. Failing to find anyone he began swimming and was found later by an Air-Sea Rescue craft. Due to his flying skill and leadership he completed a successful bombing run and returned his crew to a point they could bail out to safety. A month later while being evacuated to the United States, the aircraft on which he was a passenger went down somewhere between Iceland and Newfoundland, no trace of it was ever found. His citation was issued on January 4, 1945. He has a cenotaph located in Waukomis Cemetery, Waukomis, Oklahoma.

Bio by: John "J-Cat" Griffith

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: John "J-Cat" Griffith
  • Added: 21 Nov 2003
  • Find A Grave Memorial 8111160
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for LTC Leon Robert Vance, Jr (11 Aug 1916–26 Jul 1944), Find A Grave Memorial no. 8111160, citing Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial, Coton, South Cambridgeshire District, Cambridgeshire, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .