David J. Schmerbeck – Colonel, United States Air Force

Submitted by his loving son, David J. Schmerbeck, Jr. – November 1997

I feel my father, David J. Schmerbeck, Colonel, USAF, is worthy of mention in your list of prominent Air Force people. My father, who died in Thailand on October 2, 1970, had a 28 year Air Force career.

At the time of his death he was commander of the 8th TFW in Ubon, Thailand. Prior to serving in Thailand he was commander of the 81st TFW at RAF Bentwaters, England. He was born on Jan. 8, 1922 in Altoona, Pennsylvania, and entered the Army Air Corps as an aviation cadet in 1943.

During World War ll, my father was a P-47 and P-51 pilot stationed in Italy. He flew bomber escort and was credited with shooting down 4 enemy aircraft. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal for his courage.

During the Korean war, my father flew supply transport missions between Japan and Korea. Following the Korean War he continued his distinguished career as a B-47 squadron commander based at Davis-Monhan AFB, Arizona. He had subsequent assignments to the SAC command post in Omaha, Nebraska and served with the Joint Chiefs of staff at the Pentagon. He was also a graduate of the Air War College.

Awarded the Legion of Merit posthumously. At the time of his death, he was piloting an F-4 phantom while commanding the 8th TFW at Ubon, Thailand when he suffered a fatal heart attack. He managed to land the aircraft safely when the co-pilot lost radio contact with him and found him slumped over in the front cockpit. Base hospital personnel were unable to revive him. Per his wishes he was buried in Arlington National Cemetary. His grave is located in close proximity to Audie Murphy's grave adjacent to the Memorial Amphitheatre.



  • DATE OF BIRTH: 01/08/1922
  • DATE OF DEATH: 10/02/1970
  • BURIED AT: SECTION 46  SITE 398-10

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