Freedom Fighters: Charles Leonard - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

9/14/07-Palestine

Freedom Fighters: Charles Leonard

Because he had always wanted to fly and because his uncle was in the Navy, Charles Leonard joined the Naval Air Cadet Program in 1942. For three years he trained extensively with the prestigious "Crommelin's Thunderbirds", about which he later co-authored a book. By 1945 the major sea battles had been fought in the Pacific, but Leonard was in the midst of the invasion of Okinowa and Iwo Jima and was a part of the first Naval bombing mission over Japan.

Lt. Commander Charles Leonard served in the U.S. Navy 21 years. He trained young pilots, wrote service manuels on how to fly various airplanes, and manned a combat information center during the Vietnam War. Leonard later headed up a Navy Junior ROTC program at Amarillo's Tascosa High School. A distionuished Flying Cross and four Air Medals attest to his devotion to duty.

Joan Hallmark, Reporting joanhallmark@kltv.com

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