George Ferros Eldred, Jr. was born 12 June 1920 in Nowata, Oklahoma, to George F. and Ethel Hodges Eldred. In 1925 the family moved to Oklahoma City, where George attended school. He played football and baseball. As a boy he was vitally interested in airplanes and in flying. When Charles Lindbergh visited Oklahoma City in 1927 George was taken to see him. His hobby was making model airplanes, and collecting flying memorabilia. In February of 1940 he enlisted in the Oklahoma National Guard which was mobilized into Federal service in September, 1940 as the 45th Division.
Early in 1942, after the United States entered the war, George applied to the Army Air Corps, and was accepted as a cadet. He received his wings in May, 1943, and was sent to the Richmond, Virginia, area where he flew shore patrol, and instructed other pilots. He was most eager to get into the actual fighting, and, although his superior officers preferred that he stay where he was, he was finally allowed to go overseas. He was an excellent pilot, the first in his class to fly a P-40, which at the time was a “hot” plane.
He was sent first to Casablanca, and then was based at Foggia, in southern Italy. He was assigned to fly P-38s. They were engaged mostly in reconnaissance, and flew escort for bombers going to Austria and Germany. In his six short weeks in combat, he flew 25 missions. On his last mission, which took place on July 13, 1944, they were strafing the airfield at Udine, in northeastern Italy, at treetop level. The members of his squadron who survived the mission told us that they met a solid wall of anti-aircraft fire. Three planes were lost that day, among them was George's. He was brought back to the United States in 1949, and was buried in Arlington Cemetery (Section 34, Site 4104). He was awarded, posthumously, the Purple Heart, and the Air Medal and four oak leaf clusters.
I, George's little sister, was born in 1928. I was 16 when he was killed, and he was 24. Now I am 72, and he, the “forever young” as in the poem on your website, will always be 24. Our daughter was named Georgeann in his honor, and I will never forget him as long as I live. Endeavors such as your website will help to keep alive the memories of our heroes.
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard