Lloyd G. Neblett
17 Mar 1919
- 05 Sep 1943
301 Troop Carrier Command, 441
Troup Carrier Group.
Expert Colt .45
Sharpshooter .30 Calibre Rifle
Distinguished Flying Crosses,
Bronze Star, Air Medal (2 awards),
European Middle East and Africa Medal with 5 Bronze Stars, Presidential
Unit Citation (441st Troop Carrier Command), American Theater
Medal, WWII Victory Medal, French Croix de Guerre with Palm, Canadian
Volunteer Service Medal, American Freedom Medal, Armed Forces Reserve
10 January 1946. He then transferred to the Army Air Force Reserve.
Lloyd began his military career by volunteering to join the
Canadian Air Force in early 1941 in an effort to “get to the action” as
early as possible. Having
had a love of flying from a very young age, he wanted to become a pilot,
but the regulations at the time made it difficult in the
USA, so travelled to
Canada to enlist at
Windsor, Ontario as a Leading Aircraftsman with the
Royal Canadian Air Force.
His training began at Regina,
Saskatoon, with Ground
School, before moving to Goodridge,
to undertake Elementary
operating with bi-planes. Further training ensued at Branford, Ontario
where he qualified and received his wings as a Sergeant Pilot. By this
time, the USA had
been through the attack at Pearl Harbor and had entered the World War
II, so Lloyd was discharged from the Canadian Air Force so that he could
return to the USA and enlist
with the Army Air Corps.
Lloyd was sent to
Alabama to wait assignment and was then sent to
Columbus, Mississippi to Graduate as a 2nd
lieutenant on 3rd July 1942. Further advanced training ensued
before Lloyd was appointed into the role of training students at
Camp Douglas, Wisconsin and
at Sadalia Missouri before finally moving to Austin and Bergstrom Field.
Though Lloyd was performing his duties, he longed to move from
his training role and get into combat, so when he met an old friend Bob
Lewis who was setting up the 435th Troop Carrier Group, Lloyd
was able to get re-assigned as Operations Officer for the newly formed
76th Squadron located at Bowman Field, Kentucky.
re-assignment, Lloyd went Group AFSAT in Florida and in August 1943 was
assigned into the 301st Squadron of the 441st
Troop Carrier Group, under the command of Major Ernest Pate, and
prepared for transfer to the European Theater of Operations and England,
where in April of 1944, Lloyd was promoted to Captain and given command
of the 301st Troop Carrier Squadron and told to prepare for
the invasion of Europe and D-Day near Nottingham. Later they were
transferred to Merryfield,
for final preparations and departure.
On the evening on
5-6th June 1944, Lloyd piloted C-47 43-15644 numbered Z4 on
the first wave of the paratrooper drop into Normandy, where together
with his crew of Co-Pilot 2nd Lt. O’Brien, Navigator 2nd
Lt. Bauernfiend, Crew Chief T/Sgt Mosely and Radio Operator Sgt St.
John, they were able to deploy a full stick of 18 troopers of the 2nd
Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, this despite
having his aircraft severely damaged by a falling bundle from another
aircraft. Even with the
severe wing damage, Lloyd and his Co-pilot Tom O’Brien were able to
regain control of the aircraft, maintain height, drop the troopers on
the correct DZ and limp home to
crippled plane home in darkness, Lloyd was able to return to his base in England
and landed without any further damage to the plane. Despite the damage,
"Round Trip" was repaired and flew many subsequent missions in WW2. For
his courage for his courage, professional skill, initiative and
determination on the D-Day Normandy mission, Lloyd received the
Distinguished Flying Cross. His plane received a new wing! However, the
very next day, Lloyd was onboard a new plane as he lead his Squadron to
deploy Gliders in support of the Normandy Invasion.
After the success of D-day,
Lloyd was promoted to the rank of Major but continued with the 301st
as Commanding Officer as they continued to fly across the channel to
France on re-supply missions and evacuating wounded.
Lloyd and his team continued to support General Patton’s 3rd
Army brining over valuable quantities of fuel and supplies.
In August 1944, the
301st was back in training preparing for their next combat
invasion with the proposed daylight missions to
as part of Operation Market-Garden, where on 17th and 18th
September, Lloyd left his base at Langer and carried paratroopers into
action. Then on 23rd September Lloyd was again in the air
bringing additional supporting gliders into battle.
“The conditions in Holland were
worse than at Normandy.
Flak was very prevalent and tracer fire was everywhere”, Lloyd
remembers. The success of
this mission earned Lloyd another Distinguished Flying Cross.
During the remainder of 1944,
Lloyd was continually operating re-supply missions which culminated at
the year end where his Squadron was part of the difficult re-supply
mission to Bastogne on 23rd December 1944,
dropping valuable supplies to those “Battled Bastards of Bastogne”.
1945 brought no respite for the
301st as their re-supply and evacuation missions continued,
until early February when preparations began for the Rhine Crossing
invasion of Germany
itself. Lloyd was once
again in combat delivering paratroopers on their final jump in the
European Theater of Operation.
In May 1945, Lloyd
was granted leave to return to the
to visit his family and while there, the final German resistance ended
and on May 8th 1945 VE Day arrived.
Separated from his unit, Lloyd was distraught when he was refused
permission to return to his command in Europe and found himself stranded
at Marfa Texas,
away from his friends, as Operation and Training Officer. In July 1945
he was promoted to the rank of Lt, Colonel but despite speaking to
General Chappel about returning to his unit, Lloyd was told that the
rules in force at the time would not allows him to travel back to Europe
and that he had to await orders for disbandment from the military.
In January 1946, Lloyd finally went to the Shreveport Separation
Centre to receive his discharge and his transfer to the USAF reserve on
10th January 1946.
Following the end of
the war, Lloyd continued to serve his country in the Air Force Reserve
until 1979, when on 17th March he finally retired as a full
Colonel with 30 years service.