Iceal Hambleton  

Hi Res

At 85, Gene Hambleton was called to the Lord's service on September 19, 2004. Gene was born on November 16, 1918 in Rossville, IL, the son of Iceal and Stella (Wilbur) Hambleton. He married Gwendolyn Flessner on August 18, 1942 in St. Louis, MO. She preceded him in death on December 21, 2003.

Gene grew up in Wenona, IL, and went on to serve 30 years in the U.S. Air Force. He completed his distinguished military career at Davis Monthan Air Force Base in AZ retiring in March 1973. During the Vietnam War, he was the subject of one of the largest one-man rescue efforts in Air Force history. This story was later recounted in the book and movie, BAT 21. He was an avid golf enthusiast and was actively involved in church and community service.

He is survived by one sister, Fran Luning of Wenona, IL, and one brother, Gil Hambleton of Hampton Falls, NH. His extended family includes Jim Flessner of Chatsworth, IL, Mary Anderson of New Lenox, IL, Donna Cutsinger of Allerton, IL, and many nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held September 23, 2004 at 10:30 a.m. at Spanish Trail Lutheran Church, 8701 E. Old Spanish Trail Road, Tucson, AZ, 85710. A memorial service will also be held in Illinois at a later date. Those who wish to honor Gene may send gifts to the Spanish Trail Lutheran Church or Tucson Medical Center Hospice.

Lt. Col. Hambleton was awarded the Silver Star,
Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal and Purple Heart
for his actions during the rescue of BAT-21.

Bat-21 Rescue

Click Here for a heartfelt story published in "Golf Digest" by Dave Kindred.

Click Here for a 2006 interview (Pritzker Military Library) with Medal of Honor recipients Tom Norris and Mike Thornton.

Kingdon R. Hawes (Webmaster)

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