Veterans in Blue Volume IV out now

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Carlin Leslie
  • Air Force Public Affairs Agency – Operation Location Pentagon
For decades, Airmen have answered the call to serve and protect the nation’s interests, people and cherished freedoms that underpin it all, risking their lives for others, and thus, becoming heroes in the eyes of those they protected.

Thirty-three stories of service and heroism at war are captured in the fourth volume of “Veterans in Blue,” launching Nov. 8. The new portrait-based displays join those presently hanging in the Pentagon. The stories, photos and video interviews are also available at

The veterans honored in this volume are:

- Retired Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Eric Benken had plane ticket and separation paperwork in hand, until he spoke with a chief master sergeant on why it’s important to wear the uniform. He went on to become the 12th Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, the highest enlisted position held in the Air Force.

- Retired Gen. Billy Boles was faced with a critical decision as a young man to serve or be drafted. He chose to press ahead with a Reserve Officer Training Corps commitment and began a long and accomplished career of 35 years.

- Retired Master Sgt. Linda Card began her 24-year career when she joined the Women in the Air Force in the early 1970s. She went on to be the first female forklift operator on the flight line at McChord Air Force Base, Wash., in the aerial port squadron.

- Retired Lt. Gen. Paul Carlton Jr. was the 17th Surgeon General of the Air Force. During his time as chief of surgery at Wiesbaden, Germany, in 1983, he and his group of surgeons proposed a different method for caring for wounded service members, resulting in the best survival rates in the history of war.

- Tech. Sgt. David Coraz separated after serving in the Army Air Corps from June 1941 to November 1945. During his military service in World War II, Coraz was a radio operator using Morse code on aircraft such as the B-17 Flying Fortress, B-24 Liberator, B-25 Mitchell, B-26 Marauder, A-20 Havoc, Douglas DC-3, Douglas DC-4, Douglas C-54 Skymaster and Curtiss C-46 Commando.

- Retired Brig. Gen. Harry Dalton is a 30-year combat-decorated Air Force veteran and pioneer in military public relations. He was the first public affairs officer to earn the rank of brigadier general.

- Retired Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Frederick Finch was the 13th chief master sergeant appointed to the highest NCO position in the Air Force.

- Retired Master Sgt. Pat Finch served 23 years in many different assignments. The most influential part of her career was her time as a military training instructor, where she enjoyed being able to train new Airmen of the Air Force. She would go on to traveling to Iceland, Texas and Alaska, covering all aspects of her career field.

- Retired Chief Master Sgt. Keith Finney served 29 years in the Air Force and was selected as one of the 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year in 2003.

- Retired Chief Master Sgt. Louis Fischer entered the Air Force in 1984 as a security forces Airman, and was one of the first enlisted Airmen to become a military training leader at the Air Force Academy, a position now known as the Academy Military Training NCO.

- Retired Master Sgt. Parnell Fisher is a decorated veteran who served 22 years as an Air Force loadmaster. He was awarded the Silver Star for gallant actions aboard an AC-47 Spooky Dec. 18, 1966.

- Retired Chief Master Sgt. John Flanders devoted 28 years to the military before retiring in 1978. After serving as a merchant marine during World War II, Flanders joined the Air Force as a military training instructor.

- Retired Lt. Col. Richard French was a fighter pilot who flew 683 combat missions during his 27-year career in the Air Force, to include Linebacker I in Vietnam.

- Retired Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Robert Gaylor was inspired to join the military after seeing service members return to his hometown during World War II. He later became the fifth Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force.

- Staff Sgt. Harry Grimm boarded a train headed for Army basic training to be an aerial gunner in the Army Air Corps in July 1943. Within a week of graduation he was aboard his first combat mission as a tail gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress, and would serve an additional 27 months before separating.

- Retired Chief Master Sgt. Cary Hatzinger enlisted in the Air Force at age 23. With his drive to encourage and motivate Airmen he went on to become the command chief at then-McChord Air Force Base, Wash., and retired in 2009. He now serves as a civilian at McChord Field, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., as the 62nd Maintenance Group chief of plans, scheduling, documentation and analysis.

- Tech. Sgt. Ben Kuroki stood out serving in the Army Air Corps during World War II. Before separating from the service, he logged 58 combined missions during World War II – 30 missions on B-24 Liberators over Europe, including the legendary Ploesti Raid, and 28 missions on B-29 Superfortress’ over the Pacific.

- Retired Col. Mike Loughran is an Air Force veteran who served from 1968 to 1997, holding several positions to include B-52 Stratofortress co-pilot, 69th Bomb Squadron commander and three Pentagon tours.

- Retired Buck Sgt. Philip Morgan served in the Air Force as a security police Airman with the 55th Security Police Squadron at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., supporting Air Force One missions for presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

- Retired Senior Master Sgt. Pat Nugent joined the Air Force to become a jet engine mechanic, but quickly realized Air Force needs come first and was sent to become a parachute rigger. Later in Nugent’s career he cross-trained to become a photojournalist.

- Retired Col. Gaillard Peck, Jr. changed history when he co-founded the Mikoyan-Gurevich (MiG) operation at Tonopah, Nev., paving the way for more than 6,000 Airmen, Sailors and Marines to fight the MiG-17, MiG-21 and MiG-23 in combat operations overseas.

- Sgt. Albert Porter is a World War II Army Air Corps veteran who served on B-17 Flying Fortress bombers between 1942 and 1945 before separating. Porter was initially trained as a radio operator, but was quickly designated as a tail gunner.

- Retired Col. James Randall is a member of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen, serving 36 years in the U.S. Air Force in both active duty and the Reserves.

- Retired Col. James Ruffer served in both the Navy as a pilot in Vietnam and in the Marines as a flight surgeon after earning his medical degree. He left the Navy after serving six years to become a civilian doctor, but missed the military way of life, so he joined the Air Force and played a vital role in Operation Acid Gambit, on Dec. 20, 1989.

- Retired Tech. Sgt. Louis Salinas began his military career as a B-29 Superfortress tail gunner in the Army Air Corps during World War II and retired after 20 years and six months of honorable service. After WWII he became a crew chief and was responsible for five jets until he was promoted to technical sergeant and became a flight chief.

- Senior Airman Jeremy Severn is a six-year Air Force veteran who separated after serving as an electronic environmental systems specialist on the C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft from 2007 to 2013. Severn prepared C-17s for airlift, cargo and personnel drops in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom and countless exercises.

- Retired Chief Master Sgt. Larry Smith enlisted in the Air Force in 1977 and served at multiple locations around the world to include Germany, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, and Langley AFB, Va. Smith is currently the airfield manager at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., and still mentoring young Airmen new to the Air Force.

- Retired Master Sgt. Robert Smouse began his military career as a visual signalman in the Navy during World War II after separating and then re-enlisting in the Army Air Corps in 1947. Smouse later supported the Berlin Airlift.

- Senior Airman Sabre Taylor is a seven-year Air Force veteran who served as a combat videographer from 1993 to 2001. Taylor was part of the original 1st Combat Camera Squadron as the unit changed from detachments to one squadron.

- Airman First Class Herb Trimpe enlisted in the Air Force in 1962 as a weather observer. After separating from the Air Force, Trimpe was hired on at Marvel Comics and drew many of the famous comics known today including the Hulk, Wolverine and G.I. Joe.

- Retired Col. John Udy served in the Air Force as a B-17 Flying Fortress pilot during World War II, flying 35 missions over Germany.

- Retired Cpl. Stewart Van Deusen enlisted into the Army Air Corps in 1942 at age 19. Due to his typing skills, Van Deusen became the unit’s teletype operator, transmitting messages from his command and monitoring for important incoming messages.

- Retired Lt. Col. Robert Whelan began his 20-year Air Force career as a second lieutenant in 1956, training to become a pilot. Whelan went on to fly 142 sorties, one of which saved Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division who were pinned down by enemy fire.

For more information about Veterans in Blue, visit