Memorial Day Specifics


Allow me to highlight the story of a WWII veteran from North Texas who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his fighter pilot exploits in the Pacific Theater.

Col. Neel Earnest Kearby was born in Wichita Falls in 1911, and graduated from Arlington High School in 1928. He began college at North Texas Agricultural College, now the University of Texas at Arlington, and finished his degree at the University of Texas at Austin before joining the Army Air Corps as a flying cadet. During World War II, he pioneered air combat tactics for the P-47 Thunderbolt, leading the 348th Fighter Squadron.

(Just look at that picture of someone who looks much older than 32 years old. It just screams don’t mess with this Texan!)

He was personally awarded the Medal of Honor by General MacArthur in 1943 for very impressive reasons (read the Medal of Honor citation: and six months later he was killed in combat, shot down over New Guinea.

He was buried with honors in Hillcrest Memorial Cemetery in Dallas in 1949. The City of Arlington dedicated a statue and historical marker in his honor at the city’s Central Library in 2010 (nice write-up here).

You’ll also be able to learn more about him and other Medal of Honor recipients at the National Medal of Honor Museum, currently being constructed in Arlington and expected to open next spring (more about the museum here:

I encourage you to do a quick search for medal of honor recipients in your home state to learn more about the heroes we honor this Memorial Day.

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