Saunders, Laverne George, Brig Gen

Deceased
 
 Service Photo   Service Details
52 kb
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Last Rank
Brigadier General
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
AAF MOS 1060-Bombardment Unit Commander
Last AFSC Group
Pilot (Officer)
Primary Unit
1944-1947, Medical Units
Service Years
1928 - 1947
USAAFOfficer Collar Insignia
Brigadier General

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

35 kb

Home State
South Dakota
South Dakota
Year of Birth
1903
 
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
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 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:
Sources:
https://aberdeen.k12.sd.us/foundation/halloffame/2009/Brig%20%20General%20La%20Verne%20Saunders.pdf
   
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  1924-1928, US Army (USA)

Second Lieutenant
From Month/Year
- / 1924
To Month/Year
June / 1928
Unit
US Army (USA) Unit Page
Rank
Second Lieutenant
MOS
Not Specified
Location
West Point
Country/State
New York
   
 Patch
 US Army (USA) Details

US Army (USA)
Type
HQ/ Command Element
 
Parent Unit
Other Service Branches
Strength
Not Specified
Created/Owned By
Not Specified
   

Last Updated: Nov 3, 2019
   
   
My Photos For This Unit
No Available Photos
22 Members Also There at Same Time
US Army (USA)

Bither, Waldo James, Maj, (1925-1954) [Other Service Rank]
Jenkins, Edward Warren, SMSgt, (1951-1965) [Other Service Rank]
Johnson, Leon William, Gen, (1926-1965) 990 99000 [Other Service Rank]
Scott, Robert Lee, Brig Gen, (1927-1957) [Other Service Rank]
Travis, Robert Falligant, Brig Gen, (1928-1950) [Other Service Rank]
Hanley, Thomas James, Maj Gen, (1915-1952) Major General
Menoher, Charles Thomas, Maj Gen, (1882-1926) Major General
Walton, Leo Andrew, Maj Gen, (1915-1949) Major General
Blackburn, Thomas Welch, Brig Gen, (1917-1952) 11 Brigadier General
Hale, Willis Henry, Maj Gen, (1917-1952) Major
Anderson, Frederick Lewis, Maj Gen, (1924-1947) Second Lieutenant
Anderson, Frederick Lewis, Maj Gen, (1924-1947) Second Lieutenant
Asensio, Manuel Jose, Lt Gen, (1927-1960) Second Lieutenant
Cabell, Charles Pearre, Gen, (1925-1962) Second Lieutenant
Craw, Demas Thurlow, Col, (1918-1942) Second Lieutenant
Holloman, George Vernon, Col, (1925-1946) 01 Second Lieutenant
Napier, Ezekiel Wimberly, Brig Gen Second Lieutenant
Partridge, Earle Everard, Gen, (1918-1959) Second Lieutenant
Scott, Robert Lee, Brig Gen, (1927-1957) Second Lieutenant
Spivey, Delmar Taft, Maj Gen, (1924-1956) 01 Second Lieutenant
Wilson, Russell Alger, Brig Gen, (1924-1944) Second Lieutenant
Castle, Frederick Walter, Brig Gen, (1930-1944) Private
Forrest, Nathan Bedford, Brig Gen, (1928-1943) Private
Scott, Eldred Von, Lt Col, (1924-1959) 00 Private

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