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7/16/1920 - 6/1/2013
Edwin Rhodes was born in Glasgow, Montana, on July 16, 1920, to William Edmond Rhodes and Edith Ivy Rhodes, the youngest of four children. At age five, he and his family moved to Los Gatos, Calif. He attended Minnie White Elementary School in Watsonville, a one-room school in Elko, Nev., riding horses to school, and graduated from Santa Barbara High School where he was Cadet Captain of Army ROTC, and an Olympic ranked fencer. Offered a fencing scholarship to Santa Barbara Teachers College, and working at the Hammond Printing Company, he opted upon high school graduation to join the Horse Cavalry at Presidio, Monterey, Calif., in 1939. His love of horses and participation in CMTC led his goal of being a Cavalry officer. In 1940 he transferred to the Army/Aircorp, flying in B-17Es as a radio operator and tail gunner. He was sent to England attached to the American Embassy, training British troops to fly B-17Cs. They were directed in November, 1941, to return to the states immediately because 'war was eminent'. On December 6, 1941, he and his crew flew with 12 B-17s to 'destination Hawaii' under radio silence on their way to the Philippines. Upon approach to Hawaii the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, they were greeted by Japanese fighters at Pearl Harbor. His crew landed at Hickham Field during the bombing. He flew 54 missions in the South Pacific/World War II, receiving the Silver Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leak Cluster, Purple Heart, and was a crew member that evacuated Gen. McArthur from the Philippines. He served his country 20 years, commissioned in both the Regular Army, and then the Air Force. After retiring, he owned a business in Casper, Wyo. He was married to his one true love, Dolly Elizabeth Harman, for 56 years, and had two daughters, Sue and Laurie. A follower of Jesus Christ his entire life, he spoke of Heaven as not earned by anyone, but a gift of God through His Son. He has "graduated" and is enjoying new life with Dolly and Sue. He will be missed every day by his daughter Laurie Rhodes Kroger, his son-in-law Ken, and grandchildren Lauren, Ryan, Eric, and Ashley.
Published in Gold Country Media Newspapers on June 19, 2013