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Andrew C. LACY

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LACY, Retired Col. Andrew C. 91, former commander of the Springfield Air National Guard base, died Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 at his home near Springfield.He was born April 30, 1921, in Elyria, Ohio, the son of Mike and Clara Laczi, who immigrated to the U.S. in the early 1900s. After an early childhood in Elyria, the Lacy family moved to a farm near Nova, Ohio.He graduated from Nova High School in 1939 and attended Ashland (Ohio) College. While attending college, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps as an aviation cadet. He received his officer's commission and pilot's wings on Feb. 8, 1944. In July 1944, he was assigned to the 8th Air Force's 334 Squadron of the 4th Fighter Group in Debden, England. He flew 50 combat missions over Germany before being shot down by enemy ground fire on Feb. 21, 1945. After parachuting from his crippled P-51 Mustang, he was captured and served the remainder of the war in four different German prison camps. On July 8, 1944, just two weeks before being posted overseas, he married Mary Elizabeth Ballas. His wife and parents preceded him in death.He returned to military flying with the Ohio Air National Guard at Mansfield in 1949. After serving as the commander of the 164th Fighter Squadron in Mansfield, he transferred to Springfield as base commander in 1960. He also served as commander of the 162nd Fighter Squadron and commander of the 178th Fighter Group. He remained the commander of the 178th Fighter Group for 15 years. He retired from the Ohio Air National Guard and the U.S. Air Force Reserve in 1977 with 34 years of military service.He was a graduate of the U.S. Air Force's Command and Staff School (1959-1960) and the Air War College (1963-1964). He was an Air Force command pilot with more than 6,500 hours of flying time, mostly in fighters. He flew more than 25 different military aircraft.During his career, he was awarded the U.S. Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the Presidential Unit Citation, the Prisoner of War Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the Combat Readiness Medal, the Ohio Distinguished Service Award, the Air Force Reserve Meritorious Service Award, the European Theater of Operations ribbon with three battle stars and many other meritorious achievement awards.He served on the Springfield Airport Advisory Board for 16 years and as a trustee and lifetime member of the Ohio National Guard Association. He was a member of the Knob Prairie United Church of Christ, Enon, having served in a number of leadership roles, including two terms as moderator.Survivors include a brother, Mike, of Nova; son Dennis of Memphis, Tenn; daughters Lynette Lacy and her husband Bruce Buchanan of Hutchinson, Kan., and Cynthia Culbertson and her husband Ron of Springfield, Ohio. He has seven grandchildren: Marda Lacy, Sean and Ben Buchanan; Wyatt and Liz Culbertson; Laura Culbertson; and Jim and Kelly (Culbertson) McKee. He also has two grandsons: Maddox Culbertson and Jim McKee.Visitation will be held on Thursday, Dec. 13 from 5-8pm at Atkins Funeral Home in Enon. The funeral is planned for 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 14 at Knob Prairie United Church of Christ in Enon. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Knob Prairie United Church of Christ Capital Improvement Fund, 203 W. Main, Enon, Ohio 45323 or Hospice of Dayton, 324 Wilmington Ave., Dayton, Ohio 45420

Published in Dayton Daily News on Dec. 12, 2012
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