U.S. Army Air Forces Veteran Charles J. Loring Jr. is today’s Veteran of the Day.
Maj. Charles J. Loring Jr. was born in October 1918 in Portland, Maine, and enlisted in the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Army Air Forces in March 1942. He was commissioned a second lieutenant and awarded his pilot wings in February 1943.
From May 1943 to March 1944, Loring flew with the 22nd Fighter Squadron of the 36th Fighter Group. During this time, he flew a P-40 Warhawk and then a P-39 Airacobra. He deployed to Europe in March 1944 and flew a P-47 Thunderbolt in 55 combat missions, for which he received a Distinguished Flying Cross.
On Christmas Eve, 1944, Loring’s aircraft was shot down over Belgium, and he became a prisoner of war (POW). His POW camp was liberated in May 1945, and Loring returned to the United States and was promoted to captain. He was assigned as a pilot and post exchange officer in Texas.
Loring then served as a public information officer in the state of Washington before becoming an instructor at the Armed Forces Information School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, for four years. In May 1952, he deployed to Korea, where he was an F-80 Shooting Star pilot with the 36th and 80th Bomber Squadrons of the 8th Fighter Bomber Group.
In Korea, Loring flew 50 combat missions in four months and was promoted to major. In November 1952, he took part in an air support mission near Sniper Ridge, North Korea. He was dive-bombing enemy gun positions when his aircraft was repeatedly hit by ground fire. Instead of withdrawing, Loring continued his dive-bomb and crashed his F-80 into the gun positions, destroying them. He died in the crash.
For his actions, Loring was posthumously awarded a Medal of Honor. The Loring Air Force Base in Limestone, Maine, was named in his in 1954.
We honor his service.
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Veterans History Project
This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.
Writer: Alexandra Kaiser
Editors: Annabelle Colton, Theresa Lyon Patrick E. Woods, Kennady Hertz
Researchers: Patrick E. Woods, Kennady Hertz
Graphic Designer: Kiki Kelley