Arleigh F. Hale
Tuesday June 26, 1945 pg. 3
“Lt. Arleigh F. Hale Now Determined to Have Been Killed In Action”
“With deepest regret I have learned that no official determination has been made of the death of your song, Second Lieutenant Arleigh Forrest Hale, who has been missing in action since March 6, 1944, in the European Area,” wrote Lt. Gen. Barney M. Giles, deputy commander, Army Air Forces, from the Office of the Commanding General in Washington, D.C., to Mr. and Mrs. Forest Hale of 1615 Hayes street.
General Giles’ letter to bereaved parents continues: Lt. Hale’s cadet record has been brought to my attention and I find that by persistent, serious effort he completed his training at Big Spring Army Air field in a commendable manner. A loyal officer and courageous bombardier, imbued with a keen sense of duty, he consistently brought credit to his group by his capable performance of each assigned task. We of the Army Air Forces feel that his passing is a distinct loss to our organization.
“Your son gave his life while he was fighting for his country’s cherished ideals. I hope the memory of this will help to alleviate your sorrow, and I extend my heartiest sympathy to you and other members of the family in behalf of General H. H. Arnold, Commanding General, Army Air Forces, who is temporarily away from headquarters.”
STIMSON WRITES- Another sympathetic letter from Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson to Mrs. Hale came recently with the Purple Heart Medal awarded posthumously to her son who sacrificed his life for his country.
From Staff Sgt. Russell Brinkerhoff of Modesto, one of the crew members on the B-17, on which Lt. Hale was bombardier, has been received by Mrs. Hale, the letter relating the following incidents of March 6, 1944, when their ship and 67 other American bombers failed to return from a large-scale raid on Berlin.
CRASH LANDING FATAL- Sgt. Brinkerhoff’s kindly letter to the Hales follows:
“It grieves me very deeply to have to tell you that he (Lt. Hale) was killed instantly when we were forced to make a crash-landing when returning from a mission to Berlin March 6, 1944 in which we also lost our radio operator. The rest of us were captured immediately by armed civilians and were taken away from the area of the ship, which exploded very shortly.
“We were attacked by fighters at altitude and the ship was crippled in such a manner that we were forced to leave the formation and attempted to return to England. The pilot gave the order to release the bombs, which your son did promptly and efficiently.
TREE TOP LEVEL- “In Order to evade further fighter attack and artillery fire, the pilot brought the ship down to tree top level, which was the obvious thing to do. All was going well until, flying over the state of Oldenburg we were again attacked by fighter planes that had just take off from a nearby airfield.
They set us afire and we had to crash land, after we had shot down four German planes. We hit in a field close to the small town of Quackenbruch, near the Holland border. The remainder of the crew was soon captured. However, had we been free, we could not have helped as he (Lt. Hale) never knew what happened after the crash.
A FINE BOMBARDIER- “Lt. Hale was very much liked by all the crew even though we had known him only a short time and I can honestly say I never flew with a better bombardier.”
A native of Eureka, Lt. Hale graduated from Eureka High school and was employed by the Bank of Eureka before he joined the army in January, 1943. Interest in sports, he played basketball and baseball was third baseman for the Eureka Merchants in the Redwood league. His brother, Sgt. Frank Hale is with the army air forced in Florida.