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SUMMERS Commander Howard P. Summers, son of Mr. and Mrs. William P. Summers, was born in Pueblo, Colorado on March 12, 1925. He graduated from Central High School, Pueblo, Colorado, in June 1942. He worked in the Colorado Fuel and Iron Corporation until February of 1943. He then enlisted in the Navy at the age of 17. Commander Summers participated in the initial landings of Normandy as a Third Class Electricians Mate aboard the USS LST 288. After Normandy, he participated in the invasion of Southern France. In March, 1945 he served aboard the USS LST 1139 and took part in landing troops at Yokosuka, Japan and witnessed the Japanese surrender aboard the battle ship USS Missouri. After World War II, Commander Summers returned to Reserve Duty in Pueblo and attended Pueblo Junior College for two years. In 1950, he entered flight training at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida and in December 1951, he was commissioned an Ensign and awarded the wings of a Naval Aviator. His first assignment after receiving his wings was with Patrol Squadron Five (VP-5). After flying patrol planes in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean Seas in this squadron for three years, he reported to NAS Memphis in 1955 for duty as a Discipline Officer. In May of 1957, Commander Summers was raised to the degree of Master Mason by Members of Lodge 671 in Millington, Tennessee. In mid 1958, he reported aboard USS Lake Champlain to serve as Arresting Gear and Catapult Officer until June 1960. In August, 1962 he entered the Navy Post Graduate School at Monterey, California where he received a Bachelor of Science Degree. In September, 1963, he reported to Patrol Squadron Six (VP-6) homeported at NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii. He flew P2 Neptunes over the Vietnam area and special patrol flights off the Russian coast during the Vietnam and Cold Wars. He served as Maintenance and Administrative Department Heads during his tour. From November, 1965 until February, 1967, he was the Operations Officer, Assistant Officer in Charge, and Flight and Ground Instructor in the P3 Orion with Patrol Squadron Thirty-One (VP-31), Detachment Alfa, Moffett Field, California. Commander Summers joined the Hurricane Hunters Weather Reconnaissance Squadron Four (VW4) as Executive Officer in April 1967. He relieved Commander John V. Lawrence as Commanding Officer in February 1968. He flew Lockheed Super Constellation Aircraft on Hurricane Reconnaissance flights including penetrations in the eyes of the storms. In March of 1969, Commander Summers was assigned to the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD) in Colorado Springs where he served three years as Assistant Command Director on one of the combat crews in the Cheyenne Mountain complex. His last year in NORAD, he was assigned the duties of Chief North American Air Defense Command Exercise Officer. Commander Summers retired from the Navy in April 1973. He served thirty years and received the Joint Service Commendation medal from Commander-In-Chief North American Defense Command on his retirement. In March 1998, Commander Summers successfully completed the curriculum of Sea School in Saint Petersburg, Florida and was designated a United States Merchant Marine Officer by the United States Coast Guard. He then established Spooks Guide Service and guided clients in sea and fresh water fishing. On November 10, 2004, he was awarded the Normandy Medal of the Jubilee of Liberty by Congressman Ander Crenshaw on behalf of the French Government for his participation in Normandy. On Veterans Day, November 11, 2011, Commander Summers was awarded the French Knight of Legion of Honor medal. The Consul General of France, on behalf of the French people, presented the award for his participation and contribution in the Normandy and Southern France invasion battles. Commander Summers is survived by two sons, Paul and Brian, and four grandchildren. Commander Summers will be buried with Military Honors at Jacksonville National Cemetery at 1:30 PM on Thursday March 28, 2013. Friends may sign the online guestbook at www.jacksonvillememorygardens.com.
Published in the Florida Times-Union on Mar. 27, 2013
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