Neil Waldon WEMPLE

Male 1918 - 2002  (84 years)


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  • Name Neil Waldon WEMPLE 
    Born 26 Feb 1918  Milford, Lassen County, CA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 31 Oct 2002  Tucson, AZ Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Buried 11 Nov 2002  Tucson, AZ Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Person ID I13  Wemple Family Ancestry
    Last Modified 13 Dec 2017 

    Father J WEMPLE,   b. 31 Mar 1873, Milford, Lassen County, CA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 13 Apr 1940, Susanville, Lassen County, CA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 67 years) 
    Mother Elizabeth Adelia DECIOUS,   b. 07 Dec 1874, Lake City, Modoc County, CA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 04 Jun 1960, Susanville, Lassen County, CA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 85 years) 
    Married 17 Feb 1894  Milford, Lassen County, CA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F1  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Helen Jane HIDDEN,   b. 09 Feb 1921, Portland, Multnomah County, OR Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 17 Sep 2004, Tucson, AZ Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 83 years) 
    Married 31 Jan 1943  Tapachula, Chiapas, Mexico Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 
     1. Forrest Leigh WEMPLE
     2. Stephen Scott WEMPLE
     3. Neil Todd WEMPLE
    Last Modified 13 Dec 2017 
    Family ID F40  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • Farm raised in California, he joined the Army Air Corps in 1940. He served for the next 36-37 years with the flying arm of the U.S. military and he retired with the rank of full colonel. Early on during WW II, Helen met with Neil at Neil's assigned base in Latin America and they flew to Tapachula, Mexico in a O-47A to get married. During his tenure with the air force, he mostly flew bombers and was one of the original pilots for the B-29's that were stationed in India. He flew over the hump on many occasions, flying fuel and bombs from India to China for their own raids over Japan. He was promoted to major early on during the war and was known as the boy major by his men, because of his young appearance. Before his retirement, he was Commander 3974th Combat Support Group Zaragoza Air Base, Spain. They presently reside in Tucson, AZ. DRW

      Service decorations:

      1. Distinguished Flying Cross, with one Oak Leaf Cluster
      2. Bronze Star Medal
      3. Air Metal, with three Oak Leaf Clusters
      4. Commendation Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters
      5. Meritious Service Medal

      Medals, Citations, and Campaignes

      1. Distinguished Unit Citation with two Oak Leaf Clusters
      2. American Defense Campaign Metal with Bronze Star
      3. American Campaign Medal with Bronze Star
      4. Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with four Bronze Stars
      5. World War II Victory Metal
      6. National Defense Service Medal
      7. Phuilippine Liberation Ribbon
      9. Phillippine Independence Ribbon
      10. Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
      11. China War Memorial Medal

      Total Flying Time 5710:45 hours

      Instructor Pilot 586 hours
      First Pilot 3852 hours
      Night 567 hours
      Instrument 500 hours
      Command Pilot 147 hours
      Co Pilot 878 hours

      Instrument and Night also included in other catagories.

      Aircraft in which most flying performed:
      B29 1500 hours
      B-17 750 hours
      B-47 600 hours
      T-33 400 hours
      B-24 250 hours

      Command Positions

      1. Aircraft Commander
      2. Commander, 44th Bomb Sq.
      3. Commander, 327th Bobm Sq.
      4. Deputy Commander, 6th Bomb Wing
      5. Deputy Commander, 509th Wing
      6. Commander, 3974th Combat Support Group
      7. Commander, 3973rd Combat Support Group
      8. Deputy Commander, 3800th Air Base Wing
      9. Commander, 6592nd Support Group

      Promotions

      1. Flying Cadet 25 November 1940
      2. Second Lieutenant 12 July 1941
      3. First Lieutenant 1 February 1942
      3. Captain 27 July 1942
      4. Major 15 October 1943
      5. Lt. Colonel 18 June 1945
      5. Colonel 19 January 1951

      Retired 01 August 1969

      A great deal of information on Neil can be found on the following website, http://www.40thbombgroup.org. When you get to the site, search on each page for the word wemple.

      From Tuscon.com

      Neil Waldon Wemple, Colonel, USAF Retired, died October 31, 2002 in Tucson, AZ. He was born February 26, 1918 in Milford, Lassen County, CA, the 11th child of Jay C. Wemple, a cattle rancher and Libby A. Wemple (both deceased). He attended elementary school in Milford and graduated from Lassen High School and Junior College in Susanville, CA. He completed his education at San Jose State University with a degree in Commerce. His love of airplanes and flying encouraged him to apply for pilot training in the Army Air Corps. On July 11, 1941 he graduated from flying school at Brooks Field, Texas. Neil was commissioned a 2nd Lt, leading to a 30 year career in Military Service. During his career he accumulated 7000 hours of flying. Col. Wemple flew a total of 36 different military aircraft, the last being the B-52. His war years included stations in Puerto Rico and Guatemala, flying submarine patrol in B-17-E's and B-240's. He served in the CBI (China, Burma, India) Theater and on Tinian Island, completing a total of 42 months overseas duty. His war record included 28 combat missions against Japan and in the Asiatic Theater. He returned to CA at war's end, having circled the globe and having visited 60 countries. His autobiography is chronicled in two volumes, written by him for his children, family and friends. Col. Wemple is survived by his loving wife of 59 years, Helen; daughter, Forrest W. Levely; sons, Stephen S. (Linda) Wemple, Neil T. Wemple and grandchildren, Karah L. (Frank) Rinaldi, Thomas Scott Levely and Krystal Carter; great-granddaughters, Alexis and Kaia Rinaldi. Memorial services with Military Honors will be held Monday, November 11, 2002 at 5:00 p.m. in the East Lawn Palm Mortuary Chapel, 5801 E. Grant Rd.

  • Sources 
    1. E-mail from David Wemple to Alan Salls dated 11/8/2002.


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