Growing up in Alexandria, Virginia, I was surrounded by military families. Most of my friends from high school were military kids. They either lived on Ft. Belvoir or their parents worked at the Pentagon and they lived in the neighborhoods that fed into my high school. Today, the internet allows us to keep in touch, and I was privileged to have an old high school friend share about those in his family that served our great nation. Today I walked 5k in honor of the Fiebelkorn heroes. I give you the words of my friend, Karl Fiebelkorn.
The veterans I remember most are my father, and his 2 brothers.
My father, John A. Fiebelkorn, enlisted into the Army Air Corps in the last few months of World War II following his brothers Roger and Ernest (Red) into the service.
Roger Fiebelkorn’s job was to restore communication lines. He was killed in action in the south of France while trying to restore communication lines in late 1944. The Germans would cut the lines, and then lay snipers out to take out whoever tried to repair them. Roger did get the line repaired, but was shot. He was awarded the Purple Heart posthumously.
Red Fiebelkorn was the leading ace of his squadron with either 10 1/2
or 11 1/2 kills depending on which reference you want to read. This
included the downing of a Me262 jet piloted by Maj Novotny, one of the
leading German aces. Red has the dubious distinction of being one of the
very first United States Air Force pilots killed in action. With the
formation of the USAF in 1948, Korea was the first battle for this
organization. In the very early days of that action, Red lead a flight of
F-86s into North Korea. He did not return. When allied forces moved north
a couple years later, they found the crash site and a shallow grave. Red
was brought home and buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
My dad (John Fiebelkorn) did not see any battle action. He left the service after his enlistment was up and used the GI bill to get his engineering degree. He reentered the service as an officer in 1952. He flew as a navigator in a series of bombers in service throughout the 50s and into the 60s. Utilizing his degree he moved in to the Air Force Systems Command, supporting projects such as the rocket sled tests in New Mexico which led into the initial manned space program. He was stationed in the Los Angeles area when I was born, assigned to get his Masters at the University of Michigan through the Air Force Institute of Technology and then to his last station in 1966 at the Pentagon. My dad retired in 1974, but stuck around Northern Virginia until 1977 so that I could finish school there. My folks moved to a small town in Michigan, and he ran the small town airport for 15 years. My dad died almost exactly a year ago after a long slow decline into Alzheimers. I miss him greatly. ~ Karl Fiebelkorn
Karl was quite humble as he described the service of his father and his uncles. In case you’re interested, I did a Google search on the Fiebelkorns. Here is one of many links about Red Fiebelkorn www.warbirdsresourcegroup.org/URG/fiebelkorn.html He was quite the pilot and you could spend all day reading about his accomplishments and his bravery.
In my search, I found that Private Roger Fiebelkorn, HQ Company/3d Battalion, 397th Infantry, 100th Division, (Bertrichamps, France) (Missing in Action) was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action. http://www.100thww2.org/honrol/ss397.html
I also found that among the many accomplishments made by John A. Fielbelkorn, his work on the Agena rocket earned him two Air Force Commendation Medals.
What an incredible family and what an incredible contribution to the USA!