Louis D. Vehslage, 90, a resident of Harwood since 2003, died peacefully in his sleep April 8. Born May 29, 1922 in Seymour, Indiana to Harold and Anita Vehslage, Louis graduated from Shields High School in 1940. He worked for the Coast and Geodetic Survey until he entered the U.S. Army's Cadet Aviation program in 1942. Upon completion of flight training, he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Forces, where he served as a pilot of a B-24 Liberator Heavy Bomber. He entered the European Theater of Operations in May 1944 as part of the Eighth Air Force, 2nd Air Division, 458th Bomb Group, flying out of Horsham St. Faith air field in England and flew his first mission in support of the D-day Landing on June 6, 1944. On January 29, 1945 during his 23rd combat bombing mission over Germany, his B-24 was hit by flak and he and his crew of nine men were forced to crash land in Belgium just across the American front lines where they were picked up by friendly forces and evacuated to a field hospital and eventually back to England. For this specific action, and among his many decorations at the end of World War II, 1st Lieutenant Vehslage was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Purple Heart Medal. After the war, he left the Army Air Force, and attended Indiana University, where he graduated with a Business Administration degree in 1949. He was then recalled to active duty in the United States Air Force during the Korean War, where as a Captain he flew in the First Strategic Support Squadron out of RAF Fairford in England. In 1954, Louis began working for Westinghouse and flew in the United States Air Force Reserves, finally retiring from Westinghouse in 1968 and the Air Force Reserves as a Lieutenant Colonel on July 1, 1969. He then taught Industrial Arts in the Franklin County, Ohio School District until his final retirement in the late 1970's. Louis was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 56 years, Rosemary McBane Vehslage; daughter, Robyn Easter; and grandson, Chris Jones. He is survived by two sons, Louis McBane Vehslage and his wife Gail of Harwood and Mark Vehslage of Santa Barbara, CA; two daughters, Margaret Friesen of Sterling, VA and Carolyn Vehslage of Snelling, CA; nine grandchildren, Steve, Shawn, Heather, Benjamin, Bret, Lauren, Michaela, Mark, and McBane; and two great-grandchildren, Brendan and Molly Rose. Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery with Full Military Honors. Online condolences may be placed at www.hardestyfuneralhome.com
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Published in The Capital on Apr. 21, 2013