Saunders, Laverne George, Brig Gen

Deceased
 
 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
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
   
 Photo Album   (More...



World War II/Asian-Pacific Theater/Central Pacific Campaign (1941-43)
From Month/Year
December / 1941
To Month/Year
December / 1943

Description
(Central Pacific Campaign 7 December 1941 to 6 December 1943) The war in the Central Pacific began with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. Six months later an AAF task force took part in the Battle of Midway, in which a great Japanese fleet was defeated. But another year and a half elapsed before American forces began an offensive against Japanese positions in the Central Pacific. It was then, on 20 November 1943, that landings were made in the Gilberts, on Makin and Tarawa, with the Marines at the latter place becoming engaged in one of the bloodiest battles of the war.
   
My Participation in This Battle or Operation
From Month/Year
December / 1941
To Month/Year
December / 1942
 
Last Updated:
Dec 15, 2020
   
Personal Memories
   
My Photos From This Battle or Operation
No Available Photos

  104 Also There at This Battle:
  • Hennessey, Debbie
Copyright Togetherweserved.com Inc 2003-2011