Saunders, Laverne George, Brig Gen

 Service Photo   Service Details
52 kb
View Time Line
Last Rank
Brigadier General
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
AAF MOS 1060-Bombardment Unit Commander
Last AFSC Group
Pilot (Officer)
Primary Unit
1943-1944, AAF MOS 1060, 58th Bombardment Wing, Very Heavy
Service Years
1928 - 1947
USAAFOfficer Collar Insignia
Brigadier General

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

35 kb

Home State
South Dakota
South Dakota
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SSgt Robert Bruce McClelland, Jr. to remember Saunders, Laverne George, Brig Gen.

If you knew or served with this Airman and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Contact Info
Home Town
Stratford, South Dakota
Last Address
Aberdeen, South Dakota
Date of Passing
Nov 16, 1988
Location of Interment
Sacred Heart Cemetery - Aberdeen, South Dakota

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

Pearl Harbor Memorial Medallion Cold War Medal Gold Star

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity:

Born in Stratford, S.D., in 1903, Saunders graduated from the University of South Dakota in 1924 and the U.S. Military Academy in 1928. It was there that his coal-black hair inspired his nickname. An All-America tackle at West Point, He was the football coach there from 1931 through 1939.
He began fighting as a pilot in WWII at Hickam Field the day it and Pearl Harbor were attacked by the Japanese. Later, he fought them at Midway, in the Solomons and on Guadalcanal. In 1944 he conducted the first land-based air attack on Japan.
On an administrative flight shortly before returning to the US in Sep 1944, his B-25 crashed. Gen. Curtis LeMay helped move an engine off Saunders' crushed ankle. He spent the next 2 1/2 years in the hospital and was medically retired Feb 28, 1947. 
(adapted from his USAF bio, see 2nd link below)
His son, 2nd Lt. Maurice Melvin Saunders, USAF, was killed in the crash of his A-26 bomber in TN on Jan 16, 1954. 

His Navy Cross citation:
Awarded for actions during WWII

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Brigadier General [then Colonel] Laverne George Saunders, United States Army Air Forces, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service as Commanding Officer of the 11th Bombardment Group (H), THIRTEENTH Air Force, U.S. Army Air Forces, in action against enemy Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands on 18 November 1942. Brigadier General Saunders led his group of bombers in a daring daylight raid on enemy shipping in the face of severe anti-aircraft and enemy fighter opposition in the Buin-Tonolei area of the Solomon Islands. At least two 1,000-pound bomb hits were scored on enemy vessels and 12 enemy aircraft were destroyed. After his own airplane was badly damaged and it became necessary to land his plane in enemy territory, he skillfully accomplished a water landing near shore thereby permitting the remaining members of his crew to reach safety. Brigadier General Saunders' outstanding courage, daring airmanship and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Armed Service.

General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 313 (April 1943)

Action Date: 18-Nov-42

Service: Army Air Forces

Rank: Brigadier General

Company: Commanding Officer

Regiment: 11th Bombardment Group (H)

Division: 13th Air Force

Other Comments:



  1943-1944, AAF MOS 1060, 58th Bombardment Wing, Very Heavy

Brigadier General
From Month/Year
July / 1943
To Month/Year
September / 1944
58th Bombardment Wing, Very Heavy Unit Page
Brigadier General
AAF MOS 1060-Bombardment Unit Commander
Base, Station or City
Smoky Hill AAF, KS; Kharagpur Airfield, India
 58th Bombardment Wing, Very Heavy Details

58th Bombardment Wing, Very Heavy
Combat - Command
Parent Unit
Air Force Wings
Created/Owned By
Not Specified

Last Updated: Dec 15, 2020
Memories For This Unit

Other Memories
Assigned to wing Jul 1943; was commander Mar-Sep 1944.

My Photos For This Unit
No Available Photos
12 Members Also There at Same Time
58th Bombardment Wing, Very Heavy

Blanchard, William Hugh, Gen, (1938-1966) A23 AAF MOS 1060 Brigadier General
Wolfe, Kenneth Bonner, Lt Gen, (1918-1951) A23 AAF MOS 1060 Brigadier General
Howard, William Riley, Capt, (1941-1948) A23 AAF MOS 1024 Captain
Misterly, John, Col, (1942-1978) A33 AAF MOS 770 First Lieutenant
Miller, Harry Charles, MSgt, (1940-1944) A07 AAF MOS 737 Master Sergeant
Caffey, Charles Douglas, PFC, (1944-1946) [Other Service Rank]
Knowles, Leland H., Sgt, (1944-1945) [Other Service Rank]
Koger, Charles Wayne, 1st Lt, (1942-1946) [Other Service Rank]
Ackerman, John Bevier, Maj Gen, (1932-1960) Colonel
Fisher, William Parker, Maj Gen, (1934-1964) Lieutenant Colonel
Clark, Mansel, Capt, (1939-1945) Captain
Emrick, Paul Stanley, Lt Gen, (1938-1967) Captain

Copyright Inc 2003-2011