Louis D. Vehslage, 90, of Harwood, Md., since 2003, passed away peacefully in his sleep Monday, April 8, 2013.
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Louis graduated from Shields High School in Seymour in 1940. He worked for 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 second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Corps, 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. He flew his first mission in support of the D-Day landing on June 6, 1944.
On Jan. 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 Lt. Vehslage was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Purple Heart medals.
After the war, he left the Army Air Corps and attended Indiana University, where he graduated with a business administration degree in 1949. He was then recalled to active duty in the U.S. 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, he began working for Westinghouse and flew in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, finally retiring from Westinghouse in 1968 and the Air Force Reserve as a lieutenant colonel July 1, 1969. He then taught industrial arts in the Franklin County, Ohio, school district until his final retirement in the late 1970s.
Born May 29, 1922, in Seymour, he was the son of Harold and Anita Vehslage.
Survivors include sons, Louis McBane (Gail) Vehslage of Harwood, Md., and Mark Vehslage of Santa Barbara, Calif.; daughters, Margaret Friesen of Sterling, Va., and Carolyn Vehslage of Snelling, Calif.; grandchildren, Steve, Shawn, Heather, Benjamin, Bret, Lauren, Michaela, Mark and McBane; and great-grandchildren, Brendan and Molly Rose.
He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 56 years, Rosemary McBane Vehslage; daughter, Robyn Easter; and grandson, Chris Jones.
He was a very kind and generous man who touched many lives over the years and will be dearly missed by all.
He will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.
Online condolences may be made at www.hardestyfuneralhome.com.
Published in Tribune from Apr. 17 to Apr. 21, 2013