: Letter from C. Walder Parke's Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Corps to Parke's parents congratulating their son on his acceptance into navigation training. Lt. Col. Childre emphasizes the honor of being an Aviation Cadet in the Army Air Forces. Parke switched from training as a pilot to training as a navigator in January of 1944, and his assigned location was changed to Hondo Army Air Field as a result. Charles Walder Parke was born on July 28, 1924, and grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio. He enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces in 1942 intending to be a pilot during WWII, but spent most of his military career as a navigator on B-17 Flying Fortresses in the 94th Bombardment Group. Parke earned two Bronze Stars, an Air Medal with several Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Distinguished Flying Cross for his successful bombing missions, including some over Berlin. He is best known for being on board a B-17 which was shot down over France by German planes on June 25, 1944, during a non-combat mission. The crew managed to make an emergency landing, and everyone inside survived. After the war, Parke founded the Cleveland-based Laurel Industries Inc., which became a prominent supplier of antimony oxide to the plastics industry. He died of Lou-Gehrig’s Disease on September 15, 1996, at the age of 72. View on Ohio Memory.
: MSS1510_B02F01_005 Subjects
: Navigation School (Hondo Army Air Field, Texas); Flight navigators, Military; Parke, Charles Walder, 1924-1996 Places
: Hondo (Texas); Medina County (Texas);